“Don’t outrun your angels” – Keith Tucker
20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent messengers to him, saying, “What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you.” 22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself so that he might fight with him, and did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God. So he came to fight in the Valley of Megiddo. 2 Chronicles 35:20-22 NKJV
Josiah king of Judah had accomplished so much for God in his thirty-nine years on earth. So much so that the Lord spoke through a prophet to tell him that he would go to his grave in peace and not live to see the judgement that God would bring upon Judah for their abandonment of Him.
Yet King Josiah died from battle wounds at the young age of thirty-nine after choosing to participate in a war that was not his to fight. In fact, God had actually warned him to stay out of it. But after disguising himself and entering the fray, Josiah was killed. This was likely not a peaceful death.
Was Josiah’s death at age thirty-nine the one that God had foretold through the prophet? Or did he short-circuit God’s plan and die a premature death by blatantly defying God’s will? We do not know the answer to that, but it is something to think about and to meditate upon.
For several years, one of my partners in prison ministry was a devout man named Keith Tucker. If you were pumping gasoline (petrol) at a station and we pulled up at a nearby pump, Keith was the guy who would jump out to smile, greet you, and speak to you about Jesus. He was fearless in this regard.
But Keith was not fearless in how he drove on the highway – he stayed pretty close to the speed limit. His response when asked about it was, “Don’t outrun your angels”. He believed that even though he was serving God in a ministry, the angels of protection that God sent would honor the civil law of the land, and by going outside of God’s will, he would make himself more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.
That MAY be what happened to King Josiah. We do not know. But he was buried in Jerusalem and his son would take over as the king of Judah.
30 Then his servants moved his body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. 2 Kings 23:30 NKJV
The next few kings after Josiah would have no regard for the Lord, and this would set the stage for the overthrow of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. But God still did not give up hope on Judah – He sent them the great prophet Jeremiah in a last-ditch attempt to turn them around from their disastrous direction. The Lord did everything He could to save them, even up to the very last moment.
What am I pursuing in life that has the potential to draw me away from the loving protection of the Lord?
We do not know if there is such a boundary resulting from our rebellions, or if there is, where it might lie. We do know that we can never escape the love of God, and that as long as we have breath, no matter where we find ourselves, He will do everything He can to draw us back to Him to save us. He will gladly run to us and forgive all of our sins if we will simply turn back to return to Him.
Lord, you have ordained all of my days since the beginning of time. Help me to draw closer to You and to walk in Your will each day that You have granted me. Help me to sit at the feet of Jesus to learn more about Your holiness, and to reflect Your goodness and love to the people You have placed around me. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.