We love to talk about resolutions and plans to make positive changes in the early parts of the new year. Something that is less emphasized in that process, however, is the acknowledgement of past mistakes and being aware of what needs to be addressed. For example, gym memberships spike in the new year as people with newfound resolve flock to their local gyms with lofty goals to transform their bodies. However, the downfall of many of these people—and the reason why gyms go back to being less crowded in a matter of months if not weeks—is that they never acknowledge and address the foundational issues that affect their health. Going to the gym to run on the treadmill is a noble attempt to achieve fitness, but the real change only happens when one addresses the real perpetrator. The usual suspects are diet, discipline, and unassuming habits that build up over time and bring our health down. No amount of exercise will out-work those issues. It has been proven time and time again!
When King Josiah was read the Book of the Law found by Hilkiah the high priest, he tore his clothes and showed great distress regarding the failure of his predecessors to obey God (II Kings 22:11). What is even more impressive than his penitent heart (which is recognized by God through the prophetess Huldah in vv. 18-20) was how swiftly King Josiah acts upon this knowledge. After learning of what needs to be done, he wastes no time. Not only that, he goes immediately to the source and inquires God first. He does not beat around the bush nor misplace his zeal in things that will ultimately not solve the issue; he attacks directly at Judah’s disobedience by reforming everything that had been put into place by previous disobedient kings.
Josiah’s reform is a model for those who have learned that they were in error. He was quick to make right what was wrong, and he did it right according to God and His Law. As we look forward to new beginnings and changes in the new year, let us not neglect to address the errors of our lives. More so than that, let us not waste time by delaying to reform it, nor waste energy by not addressing the core problems. No matter how difficult it may be, let us follow King Josiah’s example and draw near to God with newfound resolve to fix what is in error.