Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.
2 Kings 23:25
God does not make copies. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has had occasion to meet a decent number of people and find that no two are ever completely alike. Years ago, I was on a club swim team with a pair of identical twins. To the eye, they were completely the same. I’m sure there were scars or somesuch in places that I didn’t look at that distinguished the two, but I wasn’t all that concerned. In terms of personality, the two were different. Despite the similarities of appearance, their characters and personalities and demeanors were different.
So it is with the kings of Judah. One comes along who does so much evil that God cannot find it in Him to forgive (that is a LOT of evil) and that same diabolically evil king fathers a son who becomes the most righteous king in Judah’s history. Josiah is given a remarkable distinction by God. God lists Josiah as a king like whom there was none before or after with regard to following God wholeheartedly. Josiah was uniquely righteous, just as his father, Manasseh, had been uniquely wicked. Father and son present a strange and stark dichotomy.
So, too, is it with believers today. We may not carry the distinction of God saying that no one loves Him the way we do — never have; never will — but we are each uniquely crafted by God; one-of-a-kind works of art that He will never duplicate. I often look at my shortcomings and failures; my weaknesses and faults and find myself glad that God will not make another like me. One of me is quite sufficient. God, I think, had a different perspective. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church that we are God’s poiema; His masterpieces; His poems. No poem, no work of art looks good in the early stages. All works of art — verbal or visual — are a hot mess at several points along the journey to becoming masterpieces. I visited a “local” museum that went to the trouble of scanning one of their pieces with x-ray. What they found is that the artist tried to place something in the painting that was eventually covered over. I sometimes think that my walk with God is like that painting. God begins to work something into the image of Him reflected in me — some little detail that will be just one more thing unique to the relationship between us — and I struggle against Him and mar the image so that He comes back and paints over it.
Only one of me will ever walk this Earth. Only one of any of us will ever be. Despite science-fiction’s predictions of cloning or storing our consciousnesses in computer banks to be loaded into immortal, robot bodies at a later time, we are unique. Being unique is a beautiful and terrible burden. To recognize that God never makes copies is to realize that He has given me gifts and talents and opportunities and relationships that have never existed before and never will again. And He has a purpose for these. He wants me to do something with them. Therein in the terrible burden of being unique — there is only one chance to get things right.
Josiah got it right. He turned to God wholeheartedly and went for broke in his devotion. How about me?