Sermon for 03.29.23 “Our last hope: Josiah”

Lenten Midweek 6

Text: 2 Chronicles 34:1–3; 35:20–27
Theme: Our last hope: Josiah
Psalm 30; Revelation 21:1–6b; Luke 23:26–31
Hymns: LSB 436, 532

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

B. The reading from 2 Chronicles 34-35 serves as our sermon text for this

C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
1. Holy God, I carry the burdens of words spoken that I wish I had not; of
acts done in anger or pride that I wish I could undo.
2. I hold grudges for a long time, and I do not reconcile with those from
whom I am estranged.
3. Forgive me.
4. Forgive those words and deeds and inactions that cause You and others
5. Restore me, renew me, and give me the strength, courage, and love I need
to be Your gracious child and effective witness.
6. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I pray.
7. Amen.


A. This is our final Lenten midweek service, and we turn to Josiah, the
last of the good kings of Judah.
1. Over the previous fifty-seven years, Judah had suffered under two of the
worst kings she ever had.
2. The first was Manasseh, who reigned fifty-five years and was succeeded
by his son Amon for two years.
3. Amon was assassinated, and his son Josiah was made king.

B. Fifty-seven years of worshiping idols and an ever-weakening kingdom took
its toll on Judah.
1. Imagine for a moment if since 1966 our nation had been led by
persecutors of Christianity.
2. The faithful remnant remained, but it was very weak.
3. Several generations had passed without regular celebration of Christmas
or Easter and teaching of the Bible.
4. Instead, they were accustomed to worshiping sports or spending time or
communing with nature.
5. The church was again in disrepair; this is what always accompanied long
periods of faithlessness.

A. Josiah was Judah’s last hope.

A. At this time, the boy Josiah, just eight years old, began to reign.

A. 2 Chronicles 34:2 (NASB95)
2He did right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his
father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

B. Even as a boy of sixteen, he sought the God of David.

C. Josiah’s reign began in the chaos of an assassination and foreign
enemies on every side.

D. Could Josiah stave off the destruction of Judah and lead the people back
into glory?

E. It sure seemed that he was the last hope of Judah.

B. But Josiah died opposing God’s Word.

A. At the age of twenty-six, Josiah began to repair the house of the Lord
again, as his faithful ancestors had done.

A. As the carpenters and builders were working, amid the clutter, Hilkiah
the priest found the Book of the Law, the Torah of Moses.
B. This book, more precious than all the money that was found in the
temple, was brought to King Josiah.

B. And so it was that the people of Judah were reminded of the great
promises and curses of the Mosaic covenant.

A. There was a renewal of faith as all the people, great and small, heard
the words of the Book of the Covenant.
B. There was repentance and turning away from idols.
C. There was a renewal of the covenant as Josiah kept a Passover in
D. It is written that:
1. 2 Chronicles 35:18 (NASB95)
18There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days
of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a
Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel
who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
E. But hanging over the reign of King Josiah was the word of the prophetess
Huldah, who had prophesied impending disaster, only delayed until the death
of Josiah.

C. Not long after this, Josiah, the king who was given God’s Word, was
confronted with a very worldly problem.
1. Pharaoh Neco of Egypt was marching his army north through Judah in order
to fight further north at the Euphrates River, probably against the newly
expanded kingdom of Babylon.
2. We don’t know exactly why Josiah opposed it, but there are many possible
3. It’s unsettling for any government to have foreign troops travel through
its land.
4. Whatever the motivation, Josiah was disturbed and went out with an army
to meet Neco.
5. Remember, Neco was not intending to fight Judah.
6. But Josiah sought to pick a fight with Neco.
7. Neco was headed north to fight at Carchemish.
8. In fact, Neco apparently had the command of God for this mission and
declared as much to Josiah.
9. In a remarkable exchange:
A. 2 Chronicles 35:21–22 (NASB95)
21But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What have we to do with each
other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the
house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for
your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not
destroy you.”
22However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in
order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the
mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo.

D. Nevertheless King Josiah couldn’t resist interfering in international
politics and was determined to fight Pharaoh Neco.
1. So Josiah was found opposed to God’s Word, spoken by Neco, one of the
most unlikely prophets of Scripture.
2. It’s clear that Josiah knew he was doing wrong, because he did not call
on God and go into battle leading his forces.
3. Instead, he disguised himself, as wicked king Ahab of Israel had done
many years before.
4. He was trying to oppose Egypt without having to do so publicly.
5. But King Josiah was not disguised from God, and an arrow hit and
mortally wounded him.
6. The arrow, a long-range weapon, was not aimed at the king, but found him
by God’s will.
7. And so the words of Pharoah Neco were fulfilled as King Josiah was
destroyed in the valley of Megiddo.

E. Thus the last hope of Judah had fallen in an unnecessary war with a king
acting by God’s command.
1. Josiah’s son Jehoahaz reigned in his place for only three months until
the Egyptians installed a puppet king, that is Jehoiakim.
2. Soon Babylon invaded and set up one of its own puppet kings with
3. One thing led to another, and Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed,
the chosen people exiled.
4. The prophecies of Huldah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah were all fulfilled.

C. Now what hope is there when a good king dies?

A. While the future was unknown, it was clear at Josiah’s death that the
kingdom of Judah would never be the same.
1. The glory days were now gone, and foreigners would have the upper hand
in the land of David.
2. Thus the death of Josiah was a time of weeping and lamentation.
3. Weeping for a good king whose death was untimely and unnecessary.
4. Weeping for a lost nation whose future was certainly a shadow of her
5. This weeping would continue for at least two hundred years.
6. With the lament of Jeremiah and others by men and women singing, the
Judeans continued to mourn the death of their king and his kingdom.

B. King Josiah was a good king—truly a great king.
1. But even his righteous repentance and sacrifices were unable to stop the
destruction of the kingdom.
2. After all, what good is a king if he can only give his people peace
until his death and then comes the end?
3. What hope is there when all that a man works for is passed on to the
next generation, who sees its destruction?

D. The Son of Josiah died fulfilling God’s Word.

A. One generation follows another, and this pattern continues.
1. So it was that the Son of Josiah came to a wicked and sinful generation.
2. The kingdom of God was at hand, but there was much opposition to it.
3. The faithful had been prepared by the prophet John the Baptist.
4. He called the people of God to repentance in the Judean wilderness by
the Jordan.
5. So the Son of God brought out the Torah and Prophets while teaching in
the temple, synagogues, and countryside.

B. Moreover, the Son of David suffered according to the Word of God.
1. Jesus often taught that the Son of Man must suffer and die and be raised
2. So the Son of David entered Jerusalem when he knew that it meant certain
3. It wasn’t just a matter of divine foreknowledge.
4. His disciples noted closely that the chief priests, scribes, and
Pharisees had been eager to stone him for months.
5. Jesus wasn’t going for a coronation but an assassination!

C. Yet Jesus would not be deterred.
1. The Son of Josiah would not disguise himself or hide from the enemy like
Josiah or Ahab had done.
2. He taught openly in the temple.
3. He confronted false teachers wherever they opposed God’s Word.
4. It was instead his enemies who sought the cover of darkness to hide
their evil deeds.
5. Out of fear of the crowds, the chief priests took Jesus into custody in
the dead of night.
6. By morning, the Son of God was stripped of his clothes and hung bare
under the sign, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

D. While the crowds called for blood, the faithful women wept and lamented,
as St. Luke recorded.
1. On Sunday morning, St. John tells of Mary Magdalene weeping at the empty
tomb for her deceased Lord and his body that was nowhere to be found.
2. Fear gripped this would-be king’s followers.
3. He was the one they had hoped would redeem Israel.
4. Now he was dead and gone, and the future was bleak indeed.
5. It would be forty years later, but their Lord had told them that
Jerusalem and the temple therein would be destroyed.
6. The nation they loved would once more be a relic of past glory.

E. So now Jesus is Israel’s last hope.
1. So it was that the last hope for Israel hung on a cross.
A. Not shot accidentally by archers but knowingly nailed to the tree.
B. The sign proclaimed what their hearts refused to believe: that Jesus is
the king of the Jews.
C. And the world rejoiced at the death of this innocent man.
D. Wicked men had opposed God’s Word and violent men took the kingdom by
E. Meanwhile, his followers wept and lamented.

B. But this is not the end, for The Son of Josiah Has Turned Our Mourning
into Joy.


A. What Jesus knew, what the disciples and the women could not believe, was
that the path to an eternal kingdom went through the cross.
1. Only by suffering death could death be overcome.
2. With our sins forgiven, we can follow our Savior into life, where
weeping is no more and sorrow is turned to dancing.

B. The reign of this Son of David was incredibly short by earthly
1. He was marked for death, already sentenced to death when he was crowned
2. But there would be no successor, because Jesus is the only king to
succeed himself at death.
3. So we no longer mourn King Josiah; we do not mourn the destruction of
the temple or Jerusalem, whether the first or second time.
4. Those things we do not need!
5. Our King lives eternally, and his kingdom is all around us.
6. In him, in our resurrected Lord, we have all the hope we will ever need.
7. Whether devils fill Armageddon or fear grips our hearts, we need only to
look to the cross.
8. There we see the power of God and his King, our Lord and Savior.

C. When we turn to the cross, our sorrow is turned to joy because the
eternal King says:
1. John 16:22–24 (NASB95)
22“Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your
heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
23“In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say
to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to
24“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will
receive, so that your joy may be made full.
B. Amen.

D. Let us pray:
1. Holy God, I admit to You that all is not right – in my heart and in my
world, I look to the darkness and not to the light.
2. I look for what is broken, and not at what is being mended.
3. I look to criticize and not to praise.
4. I look at myself and not at You.
5. Turn me around so that I look at the possibility, at hope, at promise,
at grace, at healing, at Your love.
6. This I pray in the strong name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit. Amen.

E. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

F. In the Name of the Father…Amen.