[From Oct. 6, 2015]
"The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, 'I have found the book of the Law in the house of the LORD.' When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he read it."
(2 Kings 22:8)
Josiah became king when he was a mere 8 years old. He had a good mom, he loved the LORD, and he was one of the few kings of Judah who "did what was right in the sight of the LORD."
When he turned 18, he instructed his temple secretary (Shaphan) to have the high priest (Hilkiah) open the temple donation box and start repairs. (I wonder if this was the first time in his 10-year reign that he'd suggested that be done?!?) In the course of the repair project, Hilkiah found a book and gave it to Shaphan. The author doesn't say if Hilkiah read the book (you'd like to think a high priest would open it and see what it was, right?!?), but it does say that's just what Shaphan did! The temple secretary took the time to find out what it was, and everything changed. He read it out loud to the king, who realized this was a holy book of God's instructions (probably Deuteronomy), and his people for centuries had been neglecting its message. Massive reform followed and Judah returned to seeking the LORD.
So who was the catalyst for this amazing revival in Israel? Josiah, who initiated the repair project request? Hilkiah, who found the lost book? Shaphan, who read it, understood it, and then communicated it in its entirety to the king? It's probably just best to credit God for prompting the hearts of all involved. However, this amazing story tells me a number of things about life and faith:
- Everything (even the church) can use a good cleaning out every now and then...
- Antiques (ie. old books) are only valuable if you take the time to read them and understand what they are...
- God's word (the Bible) is powerful and lifesaving... if only we'll act on what we read there...
- It's never too late to repent, reform, and return to the Lord!