Raising Future Leaders: Was Josiah Too Young to Rule?
In the History of Man, evil never faded away without a form of resistance.
Even when it was God’s appointed time for the Israelites to gain their freedom from the Egyptian slave trade, their captors refused to let them go. Their freedom had to be fought for, and most importantly, Pharoah lost his life and a host of warlords in the process. It is foundational- evil does not back down easily. Look at how big our redemption price had to be- God’s only begotten son!
Going back in time, let us consider Israel. They were without a leader for long until they demanded one. They thought leadership would help them be organized in the right direction, but did it? Having a leader does not stop rebellion, but they refused to learn that. God was God when the devil rebelled. He never stopped being God when his Chosen ones turned their hearts against him on multiple counts. Even when the church hardened their hearts, he still, and will forever remain God.
Come to think of it, the people of Judah had Hezekiah who walked with God, but they could not sustain his beliefs because his style of leadership was not inclusive. Who would have thought that as righteous as Hezekiah was, Manasseh (his son) had a strong knack for Idolatry and Rebellion? He passed down this spirit of rebellion to his son Amon who did unimaginable evil in the sight of God. As much as I know that my curiosity can run wild sometimes, something still does not add up. Did Hezekiah serve God with all his heart and ignore his heritage? Was he the kind of leader who wouldn’t bother to ensure that his kids check in to Children church but will always attend all services?
Josiah, his great-grandson, was only 8-years old when he ascended the throne of Judah. His father (Aamon) was an evil king who worshipped and celebrated idols. Though Josiah was very young, he knew the people were not doing the right thing. He was not born when Hezekiah was alive, but he lived his life as a child who was eager to do the right thing and keep God’s laws. If his father was an idolater, how did he know about God’s laws, you might want to ask? Very simple. The deep secrets of every kingdom live in the palace. Josiah’s heart yearned for knowledge, so he must have been studying his ancestral lineages’ trade secrets. Even with pagan parents, he chose to follow the precepts of the gospel and worshipped God alone.
As Josiah grew older, he became more experienced and versed. In his 18th year as king, he saw that God’s temple was not in a good state, so he decided to repair it. He told the high priest, Hilkiah, to pay for the repairs out of the temple’s money. The priest got to work immediately and carried out the king’s instructions diligently. He yearned for a total reform and worked tirelessly at it. His decision to do this renovation led to the discovery of the Book of the Law. It was something his predecessors had been too careless to ignore. Because of this, there was a restoration of the celebration of Passover. This young king had brave intentions for the propagation of the gospel. He tried so hard to subdue every act of rebellion to a large extent, but he could only reign for 31 years. Did I hear you say, “Good people, don’t last?” We will see about that.
Josiah single-handedly set up systems for a reform that left an ineradicable mark on Israel as a nation. However, he got caught up in the euphoria of this victory and committed the same error as his great grandfather. First, he had a busy time creating a societal reform and left his son wandering all by himself; then, he disobeyed God’s instruction. Jehoiakim (his son) was a menace to Judah throughout his reign. He even made allegiances with Babylon and Egypt intermittently, who were enemy nations. He was an enemy of God. Why did history repeat itself? Isn’t this something we must guide against in today’s Church?
The Children Church is an integral part of the gospel. When the foundation is faulty, what can the righteous do? George Barna conducted research several years back and found that the majority of Christians in his time came to know Christ between the ages of 4–14. He called it the (4–14) window. More recent studies suggest that as many as 63 percent of true Christians today knew Christ when they were children.
We must give the Children ministry optimum priority- both in management and funding. Choosing not to prioritize this ministry may very well be detrimental to the church and our nations. We are very privileged to live in a time where funding has been made easy with digital donation platforms worldwide. You can text to give to a cause anytime and from anywhere.
Studies have shown that you can only build a child’s moral intellect between the ages of 0–10. If this is so, we need to give maximum attention to the Children Church.
Hezekiah’s clan had a curse placed on them when he disobeyed God, no doubts, but if he had trained his children in the way of the Lord and not rejoice that the curse would not happen in his time; maybe things might have been different. We really cannot ignore how essential it is to lay the foundation of Christian living in our children before they get admitted to high school. Because of the challenges and insecurities they face in life, children are very open to being a part of the community in which they grow up.
“We will not hide these truths from our children. We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord: about his power and his mighty wonders.” — Psalm 78:4
The Children’s ministry can equip kids to see the calling on their lives individually. I felt Jesus Joy when my 3-year old daughter asked a child we met at a friend’s house if Jesus was her friend, and then, they went on to discuss how God helped David kill Goliath. And boom! My daughter said, “God helps us all the time.” I felt proud and grateful that she had such confidence in the knowledge of God at that age. If you must know, I attend a church that uses the Children Check-in system. The Children’s ministry is so important to give our kids the tools to make a difference now and in the future.
How do we ensure that we move these children past the point of giving their lives to Christ to growing into a lifelong relationship with him? How do we make these children want more of Christ? The answer is Discipleship. It is key to successful Christian living. The Church has gone digital, but have we adequately included the children? It takes intentionality to build spiritual habits, and those habits are best learned and developed during childhood. ChurchPad has a product that has been securely equipped to check-in/out Children for Church services online, create and monitor community engagement for church kids, and maintain excellent care within the Church community. That, I call “Discipleship Made Easy.”
Additionally, children can be a connector to reach families.
If we can include the strategy of reaching out to families through children in our church management, we will have a better chance of attracting them.
By Temitayo Badewole