Josiah was a really good king. I mean. I’d heard it before and there are a ton of my friends who have named their sons after him so I figured that he was awesome, but really, in the history of Judah, he has no equal.

He came to power when he was eight years old and right out of the gate he worked to reform the temple. After a book of the law was found, detailing Yahweh’s desire for His people, Josiah wept to see how far his people strayed from their original design.

And I love that he just didn’t sit there and cry about it–Josiah went to town ripping out all the strongholds of the other Gods. He burned, buried and ground them to dust! (really, it says that 2 Kings 23:6) He even re-instituted Passover.

He was a great king.

But. There’s part of his story that makes me cringe. It’s not because I’m judging him: it’s because I can identify with one of his mistakes.

You see, he went to war against a king who was not at war with him. Neco, the king of Egypt (a pharaoh) was going to fight someone else, but instead, Josiah rode out to meet him, to pick a fight. Neco did not have a beef with Judah. He told Josiah to go home. This is what Neco had to say:

Chronicles 35: 21 But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you.”

Josiah stepped out of God’s will into a war that was not his, into a war that God did not tell him to fight and he lost.

I do that sometimes. I get into battles that aren’t mine. They seem righteous and they seem just, but they are not mine. God didn’t tell me to fight them and every time, I get tired, offended and feel defeated.

Not every fight is a holy war. Josiah (and The Daughter of Encouragement) learned it the hard way.

After all his reforms and after all the wonderful things he did, Josiah, good king of Judah, died because of an unnecessary war.

Lord, let me know where to be, when to be and how to be so that I can serve you better all the days of my life.

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