SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (EGW)

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Chapter 23

1-3 (2 Chronicles 34:29-31). Need for a Reform—Josiah had read to priests and people the Book of the law found in the side of the ark in the house of God. His sensitive conscience was deeply stirred as he saw how far the people had departed from the requirements of the covenant they had made with God. He saw that they were indulging appetite to a fearful extent, and perverting their senses by the use of wine. Men in sacred offices were frequently incapacitated for the duties of their positions, because of their indulgence in wine. 2BC 1038.8

Appetite and passion were fast gaining the ascendancy over the reason and judgment of the people, till they could not discern that the retribution of God would follow upon their corrupt course. Josiah, the youthful reformer, in the fear of God demolished the profane sanctuaries and hideous idols built for heathen worship, and the altars reared for sacrifices to heathen deities. Yet there were still to be seen in Christ's time the memorials of the sad apostasy of the king of Israel and his people (The Health Reformer, April 1878). 2BC 1038.9

The Book an Ally in Work of Reform—In his position as king, it was the work of Josiah to carry out in the Jewish nation the principles taught in the Book of the law. This he endeavored to do faithfully. In the Book of the law itself he found a treasure of knowledge, a powerful ally in the work of reform (The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1903). 2BC 1038.10

2 (2 Chronicles 34:30). Josiah's View of His Highest Position—To be a reader of the Book of the law, containing a “Thus saith the Lord,” Josiah regarded as the highest position that he could occupy.... The highest work of princes in Israel,—of physicians, of teachers in our schools, as well as of ministers and those who are in positions of trust in the Lord's institutions,—is to fulfill the responsibility resting upon them to fasten the Scriptures in the minds of the people as a nail in a sure place, to use their God-given talent of influence to impress the truth that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” For the leaders in Israel to extend a knowledge of the Scriptures in all their borders is to promote spiritual health; for God's Word is a leaf from the tree of life (Manuscript 14, 1903). 2BC 1039.1

10. Children Need Not Be Sacrificed to Moloch—Religion in the home—what will it not accomplish? It will do the very work that God designed should be done in every family. Children will be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They will be educated and trained, not to be society devotees, but members of the Lord's family. They will not be sacrificed to Moloch. Parents will become willing subjects of Christ. Both father and mother will consecrate themselves to the work of properly training the children given them. They will firmly decide to work in the love of God with the utmost tenderness and compassion to save the souls under their guidance. They will not allow themselves to be absorbed with the customs of the world. They will not give themselves up to parties, concerts, dances, to give feasts and attend feasts, because after this manner do the Gentiles (NL No. 29, p. 2). 2BC 1039.2

13, 14 (1 Kings 11:4-8). Memorials of Apostasy—Goodness alone is true greatness. Everyone will transmit a heritage of good or of evil. On the southern eminence of the Mount of Olives were the memorial stones of Solomon's apostasy. Huge idols, unshapely blocks of wood and stone, appeared above the groves of myrtle and olive. Josiah, the youthful reformer, in his religious zeal destroyed these images of Ashtoreth and Chemosh and Moloch, but the broken fragments and masses of ruins remained opposite Mount Moriah, where stood the temple of God. As strangers in after generations asked, “What mean these ruins confronting the temple of the Lord?” they were answered, “There is Solomon's Mount of Offense, where he built altars for idol worship to please his heathen wives” (Letter 8b, 1891). 2BC 1039.3

29, 30 (ch. 22:19, 20; 2 Chronicles 34:26-33; 35:20-24). Josiah's Mistake—Those who will not take God's Word as assurance, need not hope that human wisdom can help them; for human wisdom, aside from God, is like the waves of the sea, driven with the wind, and tossed. The word of Christ is, “He shall guide you into all truth.” Reject not the light given. 2BC 1039.4

Read the history of Josiah. He had done a good work. During his reign idolatry was put down, and apparently successfully uprooted. The temple was reopened and the sacrificial offerings re-established. His work was done well. 2BC 1039.5

But at the last he died in battle. Why?—Because he did not heed the warnings given.... [2 Chronicles 34:26-33; 35:20-24 quoted.] 2BC 1039.6

Because Josiah died in battle, who will charge God with denying His word that Josiah should go to his grave in peace? The Lord did not give orders for Josiah to make war on the king of Egypt. When the Lord gave the king of Egypt orders that the time had come to serve Him by warfare, and the ambassadors told Josiah not to make war on Necho, no doubt Josiah congratulated himself that no word from the Lord had come directly to him. To turn back with his army would have been humiliating, so he went on. And because of this, he was killed in battle, a battle that he should not have had anything to do with. The man who had been so greatly honored by the Lord, did not honor the word of God. The Lord had spoken in his favor, predicted good things for him; and Josiah became self-confident, and failed to heed the warning. He went against the word of God, choosing to follow his own way, and God could not shield him from the consequences of his act. 2BC 1039.7

In this our day men choose to follow their own desires and their own will. Can we be surprised that there is so much spiritual blindness? (Manuscript 163, 1903). 2BC 1039.8