Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the gateway at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which was on the left of the city gate. Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice their son or daughter in the fire to Molek. He removed from the entrance to the temple of the Lord the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melek. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the Lord. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption—the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the people of Ammon. Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.
Yesterday we read that the corporate redemption and revival of the people rested on the repentance of one man. The remainder of Josiah’s story gives us insight on how he acted out that repentance. In this passage and the rest of the chapter, we read about Josiah destroying his idols and the idols of his predecessors. In fact, he didn’t just take down the idols, he eradicated them, he burned them, he scattered human bones over the sacred places of the false gods. Josiah took responsibility for his own sins, but also for the sins of the previous Kings. He smashed the altars of his grandfather, Manassah, and desecrated the high places where Solomon, (more than ten generations previously!) had built idols.
In order to spark revival, we must repent for our own sins, but also for the sins of our past.
Pray: Heavenly Father, we ask forgiveness for our sins. We also ask forgiveness for the sins of our parents, for the sins of our ancestors, for the sins of our forefathers. Help us repair the lasting damage done by slavery, genocide, racism, murder, rape, and abandonment done to your people. Help us destroy the remnants of these sins as Josiah destroyed the idols to the false gods. Help us dismantle systems that dehumanize others, tear down walls between culture, race, and gender, and destroy the idols we have made out of ourselves, our ancestors, and America. Instead, we come before you, made clean by the sacrifice of Jesus, and renew the covenant again today.