2 Kings 22:3-23:7; Acts 21:37-40; Psalms 1:6; Proverbs 1:7-9
OT: “The high priest Hilkiah told the court secretary Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law in the Lord’s temple,” and he gave the book to Shaphan, who read it… Then the court secretary Shaphan told the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book,” and Shaphan read it in the presence of the king. When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes… “Go and inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah about the words in this book that has been found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is kindled against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this book in order to do everything written about us.” …So the king sent messengers, and they gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. Then the king went to the Lord’s temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets — all the people from the youngest to the oldest. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord’s temple. Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the Lord’s presence to follow the Lord and to keep his commands, his decrees, and his statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant.” (2 Kings 22:8, 10-11, 13; 23:1-3 CSB)
When Josiah was 18 years old, in the midst of a temple cleansing project that he commissioned, the long forgotten book of the law was found in the archives of the temple. The fact that the book of the law was lost in the temple goes to show you how far removed from Godly worship the temple had become. Hilkiah the priest gave the scroll to Shaphan, King Josiah’s secretary. After reading through the scroll, Shaphan brought the scroll to Josiah and read it to him. Upon hearing the commands of the Lord God, King Josiah fell under conviction and tore his robes in grief and humility. He was genuinely cut to the heart and immediately sent messengers to a prophet of the Lord to find out if Judah was too far gone, and if it was too late to repent and seek God’s mercy. Josiah then called the entire nation together and had the law read out loud to everyone. At the hearing of the word of God, the entire nation came under conviction and a nation-wide reformation and revival ensued. Genuine conviction led to genuine repentance as the gods and idols that permeated the land were destroyed and the people turned their face to the Lord God. The people of Judah, over fifty years of godless leadership, had lost sight of who God was and who they were. They had forgotten the grand call that was on their lives to be a holy nation that would lead the nations of the world to God (Deut. 7:6-9). In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus spoke to the church in Ephesus and said, “But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love which you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand…” Are we like the people of Judah? Have we forsaken the word of God for the wisdom of the world so long that we have forgotten what it says… forgotten who God is… forgotten who the church is called to be? Are we like the church in Ephesus who had fallen far from the love of God and a love for God? Let’s return to the Lord… Let’s read once again, His word and remember. Let’s allow ourselves to come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit as our eyes are opened to how far we have fallen. Let’s genuinely repent and turn to the Lord and see in our lifetimes a reawakening, reformation, and revival of the Church, the nation, and the world.
Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching, for they will be a garland of favor on your head and pendants around your neck.” (Proverbs 1:7-9 CSB)
Good discernment and the knowledge and understanding of God begins with a holy reverence and respect for the word, will, and ways of the Lord. A fool, on the other hand, is defined as someone who despises wisdom. One of the ways that we gain a reverence and respect for the Lord and avoid becoming a fool, is by listening to and heeding the instruction that comes from godly parents. Righteous discipline and instruction will become a crown on your head and a pendant around your neck: the crown to surround and lead your thoughts and emotions, and the pendant to make your life pleasant and beautiful to others. But what if you don’t have godly parents? What if the instruction that came from your parents was bad? That didn’t stop Josiah. His father and grandfather were, if anything, anti-God. Perhaps his mother was somewhat godly and told him the stories of King David of old. He undoubtedly found spiritual parents to fill the gaps left by his biological parents, and ultimately allowed the word of God to “parent” him and give him wisdom. If we need anything in these days, it is good discernment and godly wisdom – and that begins by turning our face away from all that seeks to “inform” us in the world, and giving reverence and respect to the word, will, and ways of the Lord.