The boy-king of Judah, Josiah, began to reign when he was only eight years old (imagine a third grader being elected as President of the United States!). He was unusually young when he became king due to the fact that his father, King Amon, was assassinated at the age of 24. The Lord used the tender heart of a child to bring His people to a place of spiritual renewal.
When Josiah was 16 years old “he began to seek the God of David his father (or ancestor)” (v.3). That would have been a difficult pursuit since Temple worship had all but ceased and Judah was smothering in idolatry. I don’t know if Josiah had any help as he tried to seek the Lord, but I know that God always responds to those who seek him. By the time he was 20, the young king had learned enough of God that he knew the idols had to go. He went on a holy rampage (not unlike Jesus in John 2:15), pulverizing every idol he could find, desecrating every place of false worship, and executing every false priests. He did such a thorough job of it that there was literally nothing left of idolatry in Judah.
But Josiah was not content to rid the land of false worship — he wanted to restore true worship. He put the priests to work cleaning up the Temple in Jerusalem, which had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect. During the cleanup, Hilkiah (the high priest) found the Book of the Law, no doubt dusty and discarded in some dark corner. (Note: most scholars believe it was a scroll of the Book of Deuteronomy; it is unlikely that any of the young people of Judah, including Josiah, had ever read or heard the Scripture.) When it was brought to King Josiah and a portion of it was read to him, it immediately brought conviction and a desire to be right with God, evidenced by the tearing of his royal robes. (Note: the convicting power of the Word of God has not diminished since Josiah’s day; we just aren’t listening to it with a tender heart any more.)
After consulting a prophetess (a rare female prophet, v.22-28) named Huldah, the King called a meeting of all the elders of Judah at the newly-repaired Temple. He stood and read the Scripture out loud, from cover to cover. When Josiah had finished reading, he stood before the nation’s elders and made a public commitment to live in obedience to God’s Word.
Stop now and follow Josiah’s example. Make a commitment to immerse yourself in the Scripture every day. Decide to live your life by God’s guidelines, for God’s glory.