II CHRONICLES 34:18: “Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.”
OBSERVATION: Can someone sincerely try to serve The Lord without knowing or understanding the Word of God? The answer is both “Yes” and “No”. This is exactly what Josiah was trying to do as a young king. He became king at the age of 8. He did what was right in the sight of The Lord and began to reverse the idolatry of his father Amon. Josiah did the things that he knew to do, and was advised to do. He destroyed the idols and cut down the high places. As he continued to try and bring reform, at age 18 he instructed Hilkiah the priest to begin the restoration of the Temple. All of this was being done – WITHOUT THE WORD OF GOD! It was only as they were cleaning and restoring the temple that they found the Book of Moses, the Book of the Law.
When Josiah read the words of the Law he tore his clothes in humility and repentance. He called Shaphan the scribe and Hilkiah the priest to inquire of The Lord. Josiah thought everything was going fine – until he read God’s Word. When he read God’s Word he realized how far they had fallen from the will of God. He realized that impending judgment was upon them unless they called upon the Mercy of God in true repentance.
This story reminds me of the present day condition of the church. The church is involved in many “good” things, but if the veil was truly removed, most churches would reflect the church of Laodecia in the Book of Revelation. We are embracing so many of the world’s ways – all the while continuing with our worship services and rituals. We have more Bibles now than at any time in history, yet the Biblical illiteracy rate is astronomical. God’s Word is lost in the dust and rubble of our daily activity. We are doing what we think is good, what we know, and what we want. We are not going to “The Book” to live our daily lives of faith. If anyone doubts this statement simply spend a few minutes on Facebook and read the counsel and stories of the Christian community. They are no different than those who do not profess a faith in Jesus Christ.
There is only one thing that can right our course, that can lead us back to the pathway of righteousness. We must, like Josiah, open the “Book”. We must read it and let it speak to us. We must read the “whole” Book, not just the promise verses that we want to hear. We must study the lives of all those revealed in Scripture. Through God’s Word we must learn about the true nature and will of the Father, understand the fulness and depth of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and yield completely to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Truth be told, if we really did this, the clothing industry would have an instant boom because there would be a lot of torn clothes!
This is not a message from an ivory tower to the “sinners” of the world. This is a message to my heart. This is a message to the Church. Jesus told the church of Laodecia – “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:17-19 NKJV)
Lord, forgive me for trying to live my life without seeking the counsel of Your Word. Forgive me for thinking that I see. Help me to buy gold refined in the fire (the true riches of heaven), white garments that I might be clothed (the righteousness of Christ through faith), and anoint my eyes that I may truly see (spiritual revelation through the knowledge of Your Word). Help me to be zealous for the things of God! Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and with Your Word. In Jesus Name!