2 Chronicles 35: Discernment Is a Gift
Josiah was a great king, and for most of 2 Chronicles 35, we read about him having the one of the biggest Passover ceremonies ever.
Nevertheless, it is rather interesting how his life ended near the conclusion of the chapter. It is somewhat surprising.
2Ch 35:20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.
2Ch 35:21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
2Ch 35:22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
I don’t know what I would have done if I was Josiah. The Egyptians were not always known for their godliness, but it says that in this situation, the words of the Egyptian king Necho were true. He said that God had commanded him to go to war, and he did not have any intention of attacking Israel.
Josiah then decided that that wasn’t good enough for him. He went to war nonetheless, but he went in disguise like kings often did to avoid recognition.
Unfortunately, as you continue reading the chapter, you find that he was shot by an archer and eventually died from the severity of his wounds.
This chapter seems to speak to the importance of discernment. We need to ask God to help us understand other people and help us evaluate their motives. If someone came up to me who had generally been my enemy but told me he actually wasn’t coming to attack me, I probably would have been a little bit suspicious.
In this case, the king of Egypt was even brave enough to say that God told him that he was supposed to attack a different country. Should have Josiah trusted him? In this case, it appears that he should have.
Perhaps Josiah did not bring this issue before God to acquire wisdom and understanding. We have no record that he did, but given his past, it would be surprising if he actually did not. Whatever the case, he made a decision that ended up killing him because he was trying to interfere with the will of God.