You know that things were a mess spiritually for the people of Judah when their own priests had no idea where God’s book of the Law was. It’s utterly inconceivable to me. How in the world could the priests teach the people God’s word when they didn’t read it themselves?
I suppose they could remember some of the things that were taught by their fathers. But considering that Hezekiah was followed by two corrupt kings and the temple fell into ruin shortly thereafter, it’s doubtful just how accurate the things they remembered were.
So what do you have a result? People for the most part living, as was in the time of Judges, according to what they thought was right. But what they thought was right was often not what was truly right in God’s eyes.
And that’s what Josiah found out. As the priests were restoring the temple, someone found the book of the Law. It was almost brought up to Josiah as an afterthought.
“Everything’s being done as you asked to restore the temple. All the money is being paid out so that the work can be done. Oh, and by the way, the book of the Law was found.” (II Kings 22:9-10)
But while it may or may not have been an afterthought to Shaphan, Josiah’s secretary, it certainly wasn’t an afterthought to Josiah. When the words of the law were read to him, he tore his robes saying,
Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us. (II Kings 22:13)
The news that came back wasn’t good. Huldah the prophetess replied,
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and provoked me to anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’” (II Kings 22:15-17).
That was the bad news. But then she said,
Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place. (II Kings 22:19-20)
What can we get from this? Our lives become a mess spiritually without the Book. We cannot live our lives not being fed with God’s word, and hope to live lives pleasing to him. One of my pet peeves is preachers who speak a lot and barely touch the Word of God during the entire message. They might talk 30 or 40 minutes, and then say, “Okay let’s look at what God says about this.” They then read God’s word for about 5 minutes. Then they go on and barely touch the Word again.
The message may have some very good things in it. We might take home some godly advice. But people go home well fed with the pastor’s words and very little of God’s word.
For other people, they may be very well fed at their church, but are starving the rest of the week spiritually. Their Bible gathers dust while their lives fall apart because they’re living by their own wisdom rather than God’s.
How about you? Is the Bible lost in your church? Is it lost in your own home? If it is, you’ll soon find the temple of your body in disrepair because you’re living by your own wisdom and the wisdom of men rather than God’s.
Whose wisdom are you living by? May we have hearts like Josiah, hearts that are humble and responsive to God’s word. And hearts that are committed to living life with the Book, not without.