When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: “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 those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
2 Kings 22.11-14
The writer to the Hebrews tells us this about the Word of God Hebrews 4.12,
The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. Piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
and in Josiah’s response to hearing the Book of the Law read, we have a perfect example of that truth.
So convicted was he that he tore his clothes (a sign of mourning) and immediately summoned Hilkiah the priest along with others to go and enquire of the LORD on behalf of himself and the whole people. This was a national concern, for he discerned that the nation, himself included was under God’s wrath because they had not obeyed the words of law and therefore, in modern parlance, deserved all that was coming to them.
Surprisingly perhaps, for God had been pushed right out of the nation’s conscience in favour of gods which were no gods, the delegation knew where to go. So they sought out Huldah the prophetess and what she said we will focus on tomorrow.
In the meanwhile I cannot but reflect on parallels with our present age and situation.
The Book of the Law – the Bible is the equivalent today – is not lost, hidden away in some corner or storeroom for it is freely available for those who wish to read it but it is to all intents and purposes ‘lost’ as far as the majority are concerned.
There is further, a shortage of people, who reading it or hearing it read as Josiah did, are so challenged by its message that they are compelled to act and seek explanation of what they have heard.
Where though do such people go to find such help which they can trust? Or to put it a different way ‘Where they can hear the word of the Lord explained.’
There are far too few areas of our nation where such faithful servants of God can be found.
Which brings us to the challenge that this period of Judah’s history brings to us as 2021 is in its dying days and 2022 looms ahead.
The challenge has many aspects but…
Pray that the Word of God will challenge and convict you and me so that we have to take action.
Pray that God will raise up faithful Gospel ministers who will be able to bring the Word to those who realise that without it there is a terrible judgement to come.
Pray that you and I will stand firm on the foundation of the Word of God in a generation which has lost its moorings, and has no idea of the course to steer to the glorious hope and future which is stored up for those who are in Christ.