Family History and Good King Josiah

Imagine being the son or daughter of a man who was known for being evil. On top of that, imagine that it’s not just your dad who is evil, but your grandpa too. You are the product of a horrific family, a family that is determined to practice wickedness. In fact, all you have ever known in your family is wickedness. By the time you are born, your grandpa is far into his evil ways, and your father doesn’t live very long before he is killed by his own servants. This story isn’t imaginary. It’s real. In fact, it’s in the Bible. Maybe even today, there are some of you reading this who can relate to, and I hope be encouraged by, the life of King Josiah.

In 2 Chronicles 34 we are told that Josiah begins his reign. Prior to his ascension to the throne we are told briefly about his father, Amon’s reign and subsequent death. But it is his grandfather Manasseh who reigned for 55 years as a wicked king. Both men did not follow God wholeheartedly. They led Judah into idolatry and sin. But Josiah was different.

We don’t know much about Josiah’s life, how he came to serve the Lord with all of his heart. He was a product of a dysfunctional family. For all we know he did not even hear about the Lord in his home. It’s not an unlikely assumption considering he didn’t even find the Book of the Law until he was 18 years into his reign. Unlike his lost family, his life looked far more like King David’s than it did his father’s and grandfather’s life. God plucked him, changed his heart, and he followed God wholly.

Just because a person’s family is a mess, or their mother or father is lost, doesn’t mean they are destined for the same fate. The entire Scriptures bear out countless stories of children who are saved out of unsaved families. There is hope for the person who feels doomed to being a product of his or her own family history. God can change the course of that history, even if only for a generation (like it was in Josiah’s case). You do not have to be like the rest of your family. God is in the business of rescuing people from the darkest of situations, making them a disciple and worshipper, and getting glory for himself.