2 Kings 22
Can you remember anything you did when you were eight? I don’t think I can, but when Josiah was eight, he became king of Judah. He was a good king, who ‘did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left’ (v2).
We’re not told anything here about the first 17 years of his reign, but in his 18th year, something huge happens. He sends his secretary to make sure that those working on repairing the temple will be paid. The high priest informs Josiah’s secretary that he has ‘found the Book of the Law’ (v8). This may well have been the books of Moses (the first 5 books of the Old testament), and certainly included the Book of Deuteronomy. It’s good that it was found, but it should never have been lost (Dt. 31:24-26)!
When Josiah hears the words of the Lord’s book, he is horrified. He realises that previous generations have not been living as God’s people, in accordance with his word. The book of Deuteronomy in particular laid down God’s requirements for his people, how they should live for him in the Promised Land, but they have been ignoring his word. Josiah sends his secretary to enquire of the Lord through the prophet Huldah. She tells him that the Lord will bring ‘disaster’ on his people (see Dt. 31:15-18). Why will he do this? Because his people have forsaken him and turned to other gods, worshipping idols they themselves have made, rather than their covenant Lord. Josiah himself would be spared from seeing this disaster because his ‘heart was responsive’ and he ‘humbled himself before the Lord’ (v19).
We may not have lost the word of God; most of us have Bibles on our bookshelves, on our laptops and tablets, and even on our phones. The danger for us is that though we may know the word of God in our heads (which is good!), we also need, like Josiah, to have a heart that is humble and responsive before God, a heart that is ready and eager to bow before him and say ‘Yes, Lord’ to his word. ‘This is what the Lord says: These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word’ (Is. 66:2).
Paul thanks God that the church in Thessalonica received the word of God as the word of God, not merely a human word (1 Th. 2:13). The word of God, written in Scripture and made flesh in Christ, is the word of God! Pray that God would give us humble and responsive hearts, that bow willingly, joyfully and obediently before every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.