13 And the Lord says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim,
who builds his palace with forced labor.
He builds injustice into its walls,
for he makes his neighbors work for nothing.
He does not pay them for their labor.
14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace
with huge rooms and many windows.
I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar
and paint it a lovely red.’
15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king!
Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink.
But he was just and right in all his dealings.That is why God blessed him.
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy,
and everything went well for him.
Isn’t that what it means to know me?”
says the Lord.
Josiah was the man. 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.
In this passage is a little comparison contrast with his son Shallum (aka Jehoiakim) and Josiah. Shallum sought to make a name for himself building a spacious palace with cedar panels painted red though he did this through forcing his countrymen into slave labor. His eyes and his heart were only set on dishonest gain, shedding innocent blood, oppression and extortion. Yet his father Josiah , who became king at age 8, was satisfied with just having food and drink. He did what was right and just. He defended the cause of the poor and needy. It went well with Him as a result unlike his son who was led away in captivity.
I am intrigued by all of these who particularly that the Lord says that defending the cause of the poor and needy is what it means to know Him. We often focus on a head knowledge. To know God is to have the right theology. Or we focus on a personal experience. "I know Christ personally." These are all well and good. but Josiah knew the Lord and his actions showed it.
Think of Zacchaeus when he declares that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back fourfold those he oppressed. When he says this what does Jesus say? Today, salvation has come to this house.
Knowing God means we understand and follow His ways. Is not God a God who serves? Is not God a God who gives? Is not God a God who cares for those oppressed to set the free? Does not doing what He does, mean that we know Him?
Do I know Him... really know Him? Or am I like Shallum?