A Penitent Heart

from Lynda Lindsey

And he (Josiah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

II Kings 22:2

Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord… and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. II Kings 22:19

Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him. II Kings 23:25

Scripture speaks of many kinds of hearts: hearts that are hard, arrogant, and bent on going their own way and soft, pliable, obedient hearts in tune with God’s ways; pure and wise hearts and hearts that overflow with folly. God is good to all who are pure in heart but God will judge those whose hearts overflow with folly. Our flesh and our heart may fail, but God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever! King Josiah’s heart, humble, penitent and contrite, belonged exclusively to the Lord; the Lord was pleased with Josiah’s love and obedience. 

During Josiah’s reign the book of the Lord was found and read in Josiah’s presence.  Immediately the light of God’s Word enlightened Josiah, and he turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul, and might. Josiah’s sincere repentance led the way to national spiritual renewal, reform, and restoration. Sadly, the nation’s spiritual renewal didn’t last; God’s people experienced God’s judgment and were taken as captives, exiled from their homeland. But Josiah, like Esther, understood that he had been called to his royal position for just such a time and he began doing what was right.

Josiah came to power in a wicked age when spiritual darkness prevailed, yet Josiah heard, and acted on, God’s Word. Light spilled into darkness because one courageous man refused to allow evil to continue unabated. We live in a wicked age where evil is flouted as good. Will we humble ourselves and pray? Will we read and obey God’s Word, stand against evil, and allow God’s light to spill into the darkness? We’ve been uniquely placed for just such a time. Read and obey the Word. Keep a humble, penitent heart. Stand against evil. Be bold. Do what is right in the strength of our God!