Study from God’s Word… 2nd Kings, Chapters 22 – 23 [2nd Chronicles 34]; … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Chronicles 34: 19 … NIV When the king (Josiah at 16 years of age) heard the words of the Law [found by Hilkiah, the Priest in the Temple], he [the young king] tore his robes.
My Journal for Today: As we’ve been reading in the book of Jeremiah the last few days, events were set in motion by God which would ultimately lead Gods’ people to be taken captive by the Assyrians (i.e., Babylonians); but there was a respite of obedience and order for a period of time during the reign of the young King, Josiah, when this grandson of Hezekiah, the great King of Judah, and of Josiah’s father, Manasseh, who did evil but then later repented, led a mini-revival after he was exposed to God’s truth in God’s word, the Book of the Law, which had been found in the rubble of the Temple, which Josiah had ordered to be restored. It’s a long story; but it shows that God will hold off His wrath, as His Covenant with God’s people is established, when/if His people (i.e., His children) repent and are obedient to God’s way. And that’s what happened during the reign of Josiah, who, for a season, led God’s people in a cleansing of the land and a renewal of the observance of the old feasts, including the most important of them all, … Passover.
Today we see, in our highlight verse, how Josiah reacted when Hilkiah, the Levite Priest, found the Book of the Law (scholars think it was probably the Book of Deuteronomy) as the men of Judah were cleansing and rebuilding the Temple at Josiah’s orders. And as we can read in today’s focus text, the young King wept and mourned in genuine sorrow when God’s truth was read to him, revealing just how far Judah and Israel had gone in rebellion and sinful disobedience of God’s commands. And it was Josiah’s genuine repentance which led God to delay the onslaught of the Babylonians coming down from the North to take God’s people captive for the repetitive disobedience where many former Kings of Israel/Judah had led God’s people astray.
All of this history from God’s word in 2nd Kings and 2nd Chronicles and from Dr. Smith’s teaching today comes out to make a couple of very important points. First, we note that by Josiah’s time God’s word had become hidden by rubble in God’s very Temple because of years of neglect; but at the same time, when God’s truth was resurrected and read to a King who was already seeking the ways of Godliness, it came alive for Josiah when it was read to him; and we note how grieved he was when he realized – from God’s Law – just how far God’s people had fallen from obedience to the Covenant God had made with God’s people in the times of Abraham, Moses, and even Josiah’s repentant father, Manasseh, who had been one to desecrate God’s Name earlier before Josiah was born.
And Josiah wept and grieved and mourned when he heard God’s word being read. And as I read this today, it made me realize another general truth; and that is that any of God’s people – and I hope that is you and me – should be grieved by our sin. It’s like the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Christians in 2nd Cor. 7: 10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.“
When God can use His truth, from His word, as He designs to use it to reveal Whom He is in relation to whom we have become, this mirror of truth should likely cause us to grieve in our revealed ugliness. And that’s what happened for/to Josiah. Josiah looked into the mirror of God’s revealed truth; and saw just how ugly God’s chosen people, including himself, had become; and Josiah was touched with grief to the core of his being.
But during the earlier times God’s word had been absent from God’s people, hidden from their view and reading, with no ritual reminders (i.e., the Jewish feasts and traditions); and the people were living the old adage, “ignorance is bliss.” And their bliss was found in the pleasure of fleshly sin. But when God’s word and it’s powerful clarity were revealed to Josiah, the truth of Isaiah 55: 11 [linked] came forth. And Josiah was broken to repentance.
So, we have to ask ourselves, “Are we letting God’s word be the mirror unto truth for our lives? … Do we let God’s truth shine a light on our path by studying it deeply to reveal our God in His magnificence and seeing ourselves in our lowliness? … Do we grieve deeply when God’s truth reveals our sin? … AND, … do we do something about it in true repentance, letting God’s word guide us to righteous living (see the revealed truths in Joshua 1: 8 and Psalm 119: 9-11, which, by now, I hope you have deeply implanted in your hearts)?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, You know how deeply I go to see You and to see my sin revealed by Your word; but I know I can go deeper. Help me in my resolve so that I may see my sin clearly, grieve deeply, and truly repent to walk in purity and truth. Amen