We read that there was a woman named Huldah who was a prophetess living in Jerusalem and she was sought out for the purpose of discerning the words and the will of God. Sure enough the reply came back- "We're in trouble! She declared that God would punish the nation and withhold nothing in doing so. However, because Josiah responded as he did, it would not happen in his lifetime.
Joshiah's reform was noteworthy, however, he was later killed in a battle and the leadership that followed him had not learned. Josiah's efforts called people to return to God. He replaced the structure of worship and laid the groundwork for the people to follow after the law. However, as is repeated many times Josiah was not able to do the one necessary thing to make the changed stick. All his work and reforms changed the practice but not the hearts of the people.
This scenario is played out many times and in many ways. It is so important to recognize that only the Holy Spirit can bring change. Revivals are nice but short lived. It takes a major awakening within the person for changes to happen that will last. At a moment when our own nation is trying more rules and regulations to bring safety and protection, the past how many thousands of years have proved that laws don't work. Taking toys away or increasing penalties cannot reach into the heart of an individual. I think WWI was the war to end all wars if I remember correctly. Wow, didn't that work!
If one was to look deeper perhaps a key might be found that has probably held the most merit. When the change comes within the heart the possibility of hope begins to be seen. The best formula that arises out of that would be found in the promise God has given to us found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land." Only the Holy Spirit can bring change. Laws and idealistic thinking have failed over and over. What we need is a help that is greater than ourselves and that help has been offered to us, we just need to look past ourselves to find it.