Opening prayer: O God, teach us through your Word. Open our hearts and minds to receive your wisdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.
I wish I had the time to read the context of today’s text. It would be good to know when putting today’s text in perspective. But I don’t have time today. All I can quickly deduce is that this occurred after the Assyrian captivity and the Jews were returning to rebuild the temple. During the reconstruction, they rediscovered the law which they had forgotten.
The important point is that King Josiah was read words from a book of the law. The book had a message to Israel which was very disturbing. He had his priests verify the meaning of the text with a prophetess who confirmed that God was furious with the people of Israel and because they abandoned God, and once again had turned to idols and false gods. Punishment was coming.
King Josiah, understanding the consequences immediately realized, as our devotion writer puts it; “…realized he was heading in the wrong direction.”
Our devotion writer continues; “…the law functions to point out our failures, it does so not to destroy. Such an encounter with the law redirects us to change to a route that is better for us and for our world; it leads us to change from a route based upon the law to on living in the Gospel.
Also, sometimes God tells us it is time for us to change directions in our life walk as well. Even true for families and congregations. Renewal, change of focus, change of vision, even change of ministry…all possible to focus on Gods purpose for our lives.
Prayer: “Merciful God, show me my shortcomings that I might live for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
2 Kings 22:3-20 (New International Version, ©2010)
3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the LORD. He said: 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. 5 Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the LORD— 6 the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. 7 But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.”
8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. 12 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: 13 “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.”
14 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.
15 She said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made,[a] my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse[b] and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”