"Josiah was 8 years old when he started to rule, and was king in Jerusalem for 31 years. He did what was right before the Lord, living in the ways of his ancestor David without turning from them to the right or to the left." II Chronicles 34:1-2
Here's this young boy. By our standards, he would be in third grade, but, instead, he rules a nation! That's fairly impressive. I mean, he's just a boy - I can't think of but a couple of adults who could run a country, let alone an eight year old. The awesome part is that he does a pretty good job of it.
He tears down the Asherah poles, the altars to Baal, burned down the temples to false gods. He turned his people back to God. They found the book of the law and they followed it. They celebrated the Passover. All in all, he turned them back to God completely, like they hadn't been in years.
"... As long as he lived, they didn't fail to follow the Lord, the God of their fathers." II Chronicles 34:33b
This great king restored his nation to a place of serving God. I mean, he was a good king. But even good kings have their downfall.
"After all this, when Josiah had restored the temple, Neco king of Egypt came up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out against him. But he sent messengers to him. "Leave me alone, king of Judah," he said, "I'm not attacking you now but have come to fight a dynasty that is at war with me. God told me to hurry. Don't interfere with God, Who is with me, or He will destroy you." II Chronicles 35:20-21
Josiah was warned, he just didn't listen. If he had taken to time to pray, seek God, ask the prophet Jeremiah what to do, things might have turned out a little bit different for Judah. Instead he went out to meet Neco in battle.
"But Josiah was determined to to oppose him and disguised himself to fight against him. He wouldn't listen to Neco speaking for God and went to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
The archers shot King Josiah. "Take me away," the king told his men. "I'm badly wounded."
... He died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers, and all of Judah and Jerusalem mourned over Josiah." II Chronicles 35:22-24
All Josiah had to do was listen to God. I think we all understand not trusting the king of Egypt, but you would think that before going to war, that Josiah would consult the God that he had spent his life serving.
Let this be a lesson to us. No matter what you have done to serve the Lord in your life, don't forget to ask Him what to do in the important things. He does answer, but the answer might come from an unexpected place. Know when God is speaking to you, ask Him for discernment. Don't get into a fight that God doesn't want you in.