In the course of clearing out and readying the Temple for restoration, Hilkiah the high priest made a discovery. He told Shaphan the court secretary, "‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!’” (II Kings 22:8a, NLT). Hilkiah had uncovered the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, written by Moses and called “the Book of the Law.”
“Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. Shaphan went to the king and reported, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’ So Shaphan read it to the king” (II Kings 22:8b-9a, 10b).
“When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do’” (II Kings 22:11-13).
“We have not been doing everything it says we must do.” Josiah heard the words of the scroll and immediately realized how far from the Lord he and the people of Judah/Israel truly were. “So Hilkiah and the other men went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe” (II Chronicles 34:14).
“She said to them, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the curses written in the scroll that was read to the king of Judah will come true. For My people have abandoned Me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’
But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before Me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people’” (II Kings 22:15-20a).
“So they took her message back to the king. Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all His commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant” (II Kings 22:20b-23:3).
Josiah’s commitment prompted a mutual commitment from the people. “And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors” (II Chronicles 34:33b).
“When you see someone’s influence reflected so profoundly in the lives of other people, you have identified someone who is by definition a leader.” (John MacArthur)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates