The story of King Josiah begins in II Chronicles 34 and ends with his death at the end of chapter 35. Few kings in Judah’s history followed God. Many were evil and “did what was right in their own eyes.” After years of poor leadership, Judah was in steep decline.

Josiah came to the throne at age eight and reigned for 31 years. II Chronicles 34:3 tells us: In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idles and cast images.

Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down and destroyed in towns throughout Judah: Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, Naphtali. (34:6-7) In the eighteenth year of his reign he sent representatives to repair the temple, and in the process of making the repairs they found the Law of Moses. When the Law was read to Josiah, and he realized how far from God Judah had fallen, he tore his robes and mourned. He called the elders together and read the words to them.

Then the king [Josiah] stood by his pillar and reviewed 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, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book. Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. (34:31-32) Chapter 34 ends with these words: As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their fathers.

As a very young, inexperienced leader it would have been easy for Josiah to the follow the example of many of his predecessors; however, he chose to take the initiative to restore Judah to godliness. He recognized what needed to be done and did it!!


Some practical evidences of initiative in our lives are expressed in the following “I will” statements: (Display these on a board or transparency, etc. or give students a written copy of them.)

  • I will do what is right before being told.
  • I will not put off until tomorrow the things I can do today.
  • I will contribute to the success of the whole team.
  • I will be a part of the solution rather than the problem.
  • I will look for ways to help others.

Divide into pairs and discuss:

*What prevents us from taking the initiative? (Some possible answers: fear, laziness, uncertainty, lack of planning and thought)

*Some people find it easier to take the initiative with people (reaching out, beginning a friendship, etc.) while others are better able to take the initiative with tasks (beginning a project, leading a meeting, etc.) The body of Christ needs both. Discuss what is easier for you and why.


Spend time in personal reflection:

*Ask God to show you one situation in your life in which you need to take the initiative this week.

*Specifically, what will you do?

*Ask a trusted friend to encourage you and hold you accountable.

INITIATIVE: a Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Margaret Garner
Senior Associate, Worldwide Discipleship Association, Fayetteville, GA

August 13, 2001


This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.