You can't do that!
Ever heard those words? I am sure Josiah did when the whole topic of idols in the land came up. What made him think he could rid the land of idols when so many Kings, even good ones like Hezekiah and Asa, could not do it. But in the tradition and spirit of David, Josiah decides the Word comes first over the world and that his leaders will be the ones to heed the Words of God and honor the heart of God. He resolves that idolatry will end under his watch and that this spiritual disease infecting his lands, polluting their worship, and introducing sin will be no more.
His steps are noticeably familiar and worth noting because this a major move of God among his people to create spiritual health in the community of faith. Time to watch some game film and highlight what went right in order for God's leader to overcome all the odds.
Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the LORD with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets-all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the LORD. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD-to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel.
The play-by-play is straight forward.
1. He called together his core team of men (aka the "elders")
2. He called the men of Judah to lead their families.
3. He called the people to follow.
4. He read the all the words of the Book of the Covenant.
5. He renewed the covenant with his people in God's presence.
6. He immediately applied the Word.
7. He commissioned His men remove the idols-no exceptions.
A one-of-a-kind king with one-of-a-kind men serving their leader in a one-of-a-kind movement never to be repeated in his era. Etched in heaven are these words:
"Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did-with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses." (I Chronicles 23:25 NIV)
Josiah had a Sleeping Giant just waiting to go to work for him but he did five things we can do too that activated his men to execute the impossible and glorify God.
1. He picked a giant close to the heart of God
2. He honored the heart of God by honoring the Word of God aggressively
3. He delivered the Word of God aggressively to his men.
4. He emphasized immediate and direct application (versus consideration) of the Word of God aggressively or "fulfilling the requirements of the law."
5. He personally repented and "turned to the Lord" publicly.
The lesson? Strong personal actions for God rally strong men to God.
Josiah led a major move of God in the land and built his efforts from his own heart outward to the hearts of the men. A huge lesson all pastors must take away from this phenomenal display of leadership is this: in leading the men well the people responded to Josiah well. He clearly put time and energy into the relationships he had with his leaders because his leaders delivered. It's called relational capital and he was able to write big checks out of that account when God moved inside of him to do something strong. And while there were many other kings who connected to God in unique ways and had unique stories, Josiah is special in that he led his men intentionally and experienced major spiritual shifts of fortune. He shows all pastors how to "fall" a giant evil through personal revival. When men saw their leader "jacked up" in an authentic and accountable way, his commitment became contagious.
Taking down the "bad guy" has excited men across all cultures. Taking down the bad guy hurting God's people excites God's men. Smart pastors tap into this energy this magma boiling underneath the surface of their men's lives by investing in a purpose driven strategy like Joshua. To wake the sleeping giant you must possess a vision for honoring God, provide community, promote spiritual growth, and produce leaders.
Join the growing number of churches implementing intentional men's ministry and start identifying and taking down your own impossible giants.
Kenny Luck is the founder of Every Man Ministries and the men's pastor at Saddleback Church. His 20th book – SLEEPING GIANT: No Movement of God without Men of God - is a blueprint for men's ministries, and was released through B&H Publishing. Watch and read more of Kenny's teaching here at EveryManMinistries.com. EXPLORE: "Media Vault" for related resources. Follow Every Man Ministries now on Facebook, Twitter (@everymm,) and YouTube.