Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. 2 Kings 22:11
Throughout his thirty-one years of godly leadership, King Josiah wholeheartedly followed the Lord and devoted himself to leading the people well. His own spiritual passion soon began to influence Judah and eventually brought about public reform.
Even today Josiah remains a vivid example of a key biblical principle: Outward reform begins with inward renewal. The leader must experience personal change before he or she can implement public change. Leaders make an impact the same way an atomic bomb does: They implode before they explode.
How did the young king “implode” before he “exploded”? After ten years on the throne, while he was still a teenager, Josiah sent several men to the high priest to re-energize the process of repairing the temple. While cleaning up the rubble, the high priest found “the Book of the Law.” Shaphan the scribe read it, then reported its contents to the young king. And how did Josiah respond? He imploded. He ripped his clothes. His tender heart and humility prompted him to embark on a national program of spiritual reform. The cycle worked this way for King Josiah:
Personal Renewal >>> Personal Change >>> Public Change Implemented >>> Public Reform