King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.
Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord’s Temple. Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
Even so, the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. For the Lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.”
The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. (2 Kings 23:21-28)
Josiah is remembered as Judah’s most obedient king. The extensive account of all the shrines and idols that Josiah tore down is evidence of how wide-reaching Judah’s idolatry really was. The fact that shrine prostitutes lived inside the Lord’s Temple speaks to how openly sinful Judah was, and how deeply rooted the people’s sins were. Josiah and the people hadn’t even been conscious of how sinful they were.
Once Josiah recognized his and the people’s sin, he went to great lengths to make things right. Not only did he read the Book of the Covenant to all the people, he showed them he was serious by destroying the objects of their sin. Josiah didn’t simply change his habits. He changed his surroundings.
We may find sin in our lives and take action to change our habits, but sometimes repentance may mean destroying the objects that encourage our sin or avoiding the places where our sins can thrive. It’s easy to think that we’re strong enough to resist, but that pride is all the foothold the devil needs. Defeating sin requires drastic measures—like nails and a cross—like a tomb and a resurrection.