2 Kings 23:3—And the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
When Josiah heard the words read to him from the Book of the Law, he was responsive and humbled himself. He gathered the elders of Israel and the people of Jerusalem and read to them the words of the covenant. When something from God’s word has gripped our hearts, we should share it with others and not keep it to ourselves. Then Josiah took the first step. He renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD. He didn’t miss the words “with all your heart and soul”. He was pledging himself to be the servant of God and to live in complete obedience to every requirement the LORD had given Israel. Once he did, the people followed, pledging themselves too. When someone stands up and does what is right in a world engulfed by compromise, it can have a great effect on all who see them. It touched the heart of the nation and gave them one last great revival. It was too late to save the nation though. The sins of the kings before Josiah had to be accounted for. There was too much evil sown in the land and in the hearts and minds of the nation. Judgment had to come as God had promised. Was the revival in vain? Sin causes havoc in the present life and judgment in the life to come. All that turned from idolatry were spared from the consequences of the sins they would have committed. Revival is never in vain, even though judgment must still come. It gave people one more chance to turn to God before it arrived.