Seek God in your youth, and watch him build a solid foundation
Written by Brad Jenkins

What a mess!

In the thick of reading through the Old Testament accounts of the various kings who ruled God’s people, the bleakness of a life without God is on full display. Over and over, you read that king after king “did what was evil in God’s sight,” and that those they led followed suit. You see witchcraft, sorcery, statues being worshiped and all kinds of “detestable acts.”

Then – like a shaft of light on a very dark night – Josiah comes on the scene.

Incredibly, he was only 8 years old when he took over. But something must have happened to him between that time and when he turned 16, because the writer of 2 Chronicles includes this detail:

“In the eighth year of his reign [when he was 16], while we was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David.”

While he was still a youth.

Sometimes it’s helpful to let just a few words roll around your mind.

While he was still a youth.

The narrative makes a point to let us know that Josiah began seeking God in his younger years. So, what difference does it make?

The difference it makes

For Josiah, the decision to seek God while he was young made an incredible difference.

During his reign, Josiah repaired and renewed the Temple, the place where God could be experienced in a special way, a place that had been defiled by previous generations. And while the construction crew working on the Temple did their renovations, they happened upon a book that contained God’s laws.

Josiah had the book read to him. And at its reading, Josiah tore his clothes, a sign of turning back to God. So we note that reading God’s word was a major part of Josiah’s seeking God and of his transformation.

Josiah’s transformation affected the whole nation. The account of his reign goes on to say that after he called the nation together, they promised to follow God and keep his commandments “with all their heart and all their soul.”

So great was Josiah’s spiritual leadership that when he died, “all Judah and Jerusalem mourned.”

Josiah & me

What does all this have to do with the young people in our community getting ready to go back to school or start a new year of college?

It should force us to ask this question: What if that line about Josiah seeking God starting in his youth became part of your narrative? “In the (insert your age here) year of (insert your name here)’s life, he/she began to seek God…”

Those of us who are no longer youth remember the tendency we faced to put important things like this off until we grew up. We figured we’d have plenty of time to “do that religious stuff,” or plenty of time to get serious about our faith. But now? While we’re young? We’re going to focus on friendships or school or just having fun.

Josiah shows us a better way, a wiser way. Seek the Lord when you are young. As in Josiah’s life, seeking the Lord in your youth will build a foundation on which God will build your future. And it may, like Josiah, even make a major difference for many around you. Those future friends and family and colleagues: All of them could be affected by your choice to seek God when you are young.

It is said of Josiah, in 2 Chronicles, that “they speak of him…even today.” What a legacy!

And it all began when he was young.