If God Has Spoken—Listen!:
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king…And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord…Now it came to pass, in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the scribe to the house of the Lord, saying: Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people. And let them deliver it into the hand of those who are in the house of the Lord doing the work, to repair the damages of the house.” (2 Kings 22:1-5).
This is one of my favourite—and indeed one of the most amazing—stories in the Old Testament of the Bible. Here we see a young man who became king in a country where only eight out of 40 kings were good. He didn’t have a lot of positive examples to follow, and yet the Bible says that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord. When we are introduced to Josiah, we see him setting about to use his resources to repair God’s house. And in the midst of this, an amazing thing happens to him…
“Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. So Shaphan the scribe went to the king…(and) showed the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest…Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” (2 Kings 22:6-13).
What happened here? While cleaning out and repairing the house of God, the high priest Hilkiah found a copy of the Bible, and gave it to Shaphan, who gave it to the king. When the king heard God’s Word, he tore his clothes. Why did he do that? “Because he was ashamed of the sin of his people and afraid of the wrath of God; he had long thought the case of his kingdom bad, by reason of the idolatries and sins that had been found among them, but he never thought it so bad as he saw it to be by the book of the law now read to him. The tearing of his clothes signified the tearing of his heart for the dishonour done to God, and the ruin he saw coming upon his people.” (Matthew Henry‘s Commentary).
Josiah realized that he was living in the midst of an evil and sinful generation of people who had forgotten their God, and everyone was walking in his own ways. He realized that his people had been disobedient to God, and that they needed to change. What did the king do then?
“Now the king sent them to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. The king went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah, and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem… And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant.” (2 Kings 23:1-3).
Josiah made a covenant before the Lord, to follow Him and keep His commandments with all of his heart, and he challenged the people to do the same. Today, I want to challenge you to take a stand with me for the Word of the Lord. Let’s make a commitment to follow the Lord, keep His commandments, and live for Him alone. Like Elijah said in his day, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him!”
Charles Spurgeon put it this way: “If God has spoken, listen! If the Lord has recorded his words in a Book, search its pages with a believing heart. If you do not accept it as God’s inspired word, I cannot invite you to pay any particular attention to it, but if you regard it as the Book of God, I charge you, as I shall meet you at the judgment seat of Christ, study the Bible daily. Treat not the Eternal God with disrespect, but delight in the Word.”
Pastor Chris Jordan