II CHRONICLES 35:20-24: “After all this, when Josiah had set the House in order, King Neco of Egypt came up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates and Josiah went out to engage him. But Neco sent messengers to him saying, “What is there between me and you, king of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house that wars with me and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your sake from meddling with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you!” Josiah, however, would not turn away from him but disguised himself in order to fight him. He did not listen to Neco’s words from the mouth of God and went to fight him in the plain of Megiddo. Archers shot King Josiah and the king said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am seriously wounded.” So his servants carried him out of the chariot and put him in the second chariot that he had. They brought him to Jerusalem where he died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned over Josiah.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Am I aware of my blind spots? Am I open to God’s direction for my life, even when it comes from unexpected sources? The closing chapter in King Josiah’s life speaks volumes to these questions.
King Josiah was undoubtedly one of the finest kings of Judah. He brought both civil and religious reform. He worked to restore the Temple, repented when the Torah of Moses was read to him, and led the entire nation of Judah in repentance and a covenant to serve the Lord God. When Josiah led all of Judah and Jerusalem in celebrating the Passover, it is recorded,
- “The Bnei-Yisrael (Children of Israel) present celebrated the Passover at that time and observed the Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread) for seven days. Passover had not been celebrated like that in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet, and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the kohanim (priests), the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah.” 2 Chronicles 35:17-19 TLV
How could such a godly man miss it? To answer this question all I really have to do is look in the mirror. How many times have I missed it?
The Apostle Paul was familiar with the problem of blind spots.
- “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 10:11-13 NKJV
God’s Word has been given to us so that we can learn from other’s victories and failures. The reason why this is so important is that we are all only one step away from falling. We need a constant light to shine on our path. We need a constant warning to protect us from our blind spots. In everything we face, on every path, there is a choice to make. The key is learning to make the right choice.
So what can we learn from Josiah’s incorrect choice? Josiah did not recognize God’s warning coming to him from a source with which he was not familiar. Why he was provoked to go into battle with King Necho of Egypt is not fully revealed in this text. In II Kings we read that King Necho was making an alliance to help the King of Assyria. Perhaps Josiah viewed this as a threat to Judah. Regardless of the reason, God honored His covenant with Josiah and tried to warn him.
- “What is there between me and you, king of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house that wars with me and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your sake from meddling with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you!”
However, Josiah did not heed this warning. Instead, he disguised himself and went up against King Necho. And in this attack he was mortally wounded. What was Josiah’s blind spot?
When we don’t have a verse of Scripture to rely on, a word from the Lord, or when the pathway is unclear, what do we do? Josiah’s failure gives us an answer. Solomon also reminds us of the answer in his instruction from the Book of Proverbs.
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7 NKJV
When we are on a path that is unfamiliar, when we don’t have a clear Scriptural answer to the question that is at hand, we are called to trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him in sincere and diligent prayer. Prayer is the opposite of presumption. Presumption pushes us to action. Prayer calls us to stop, consider, and listen. It is the overriding counsel of Scripture, and the still small voice of the Spirit, that is the key in these times. If Josiah would have prayed, if he would have listened, he might have finished out his days in peace. After all, if God can speak through the mouth of a donkey, why can’t he speak through the mouth of a Gentile King?
Experience in life can become a trap that leads us into our blind spots. We cannot simply assume that we know the path that God wants us to take because we have passed this way before. We must always call upon His name, listen to His voice, and be willing to lay down our presuppositions for His divine revelation. This is hard to do, but not impossible. We are given every opportunity by God’s Grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit, to make a wise choice, the right choice, the choice that is according to His counsel and His will. Like Josiah, we have all become victims of our blinds spots. Yet, God is speaking to us to help us avoid living in the pathway of wrong choices. In this example from Josiah’s life the Lord is calling us to live in the pathway of His ever increasing light!
- But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18 NKJV
Lord, shine your light upon my path today. Keep me from presumptuous sin, and protect me from my blind spots. Help me to call upon You at all times, to acknowledge You in all my ways, and to listen to the still small voice of Your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus Name!