King Josiah’s life is an inspiration. He started to reign when he was 8 years old and according to the previous verses in the Bible:
He did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left.
2 Kings 22:2 NASB
He reigned uprightly and we could not read any mention that he did something that angered God, similar to the kings before Him.
Then we learned in the main passage his response when he later heard what were written in the book of the law. It was as if his eyes were opened of the sins that his people and ancestors committed against God. Though he himself did not grieve the Lord, the way he humbled himself and repented to all their transgressions meant he carried the guilt as well. However, the Lord who is just did not relent on His punishment for the people of Judah but instead mercifully promised Josiah that he will be spared as the God’s judgment would not happen in his lifetime.
This is our story too. A lot of people say they believe in God and seem to be doing good works as much as they can. But without true repentance that comes with faith in God (Jesus Christ), acknowledging that we have sinned against Him, our external facade of being good will not earn us salvation. If we are reconciled with God through Jesus then we are spared of God’s wrath and we enter a loving relationship with Him.
Indeed, genuine faith precedes genuine repentance. That is why we can read in the suceeding passage that Josiah reformed Judah, destroying all the idols in his land and renewing the covenant with God.
Then the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord . The king stood by the 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 his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant.
2 Kings 23:1-3 NASB
Soli Deo Gloria!