Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 3 December 2022:
2 Kings 22:1 — Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
In American politics there is much debate as to whether a person is equipped for the job (as there should be), but often what is more important is who that person surrounds themselves with for counsel and guidance. As an eight-year-old, Josiah was not equipped for the job, but he was surrounded by godly administrators and counsellors. Note that the first counsellor mentioned in this verse is his mother. Parents are critical to the success of their children. We will see later, that, as an adult, Josiah slips when he does not listen to sound, godly counsel.
2 Kings 22:2 – And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
What is right in our own eyes is not the same as what is right in God’s eyes. We must choose to do what is right in God’s eyes.
2 Kings 22:3 — In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord.
Josiah prioritized support to God’s temple. Political leaders must honor God above all else.
2 Kings 22:7 — But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.
It is critical that people of responsibility can be trusted implicitly.
2 Kings 22:8 – I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.
Sin causes God’s people to take God’s word for granted and to forget it.
2 Kings 22:8, 11, 18-20 — “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” … When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes…. Thus says the Lord… because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord… and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore… you shall be gathered to your grave in peace.”
Revival involves a return to God’s word, Spirit-led conviction, and genuine repentance. Josiah wanted to honor God by repairing the temple. However, it wasn’t until he humbly read God’s word that he was truly convicted of the depth of his sins and the sins of the people against God. Unlike the “scoffer” described in Proverbs, Josiah does not reject the Spirit’s rebuke but rather responds with a “penitent heart.” Interestingly, when Josiah and his “priest” want to get a deeper understanding of what they read, they know exactly where to go – to “Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe.” (2 Kings 22:14) Not much of Huldah is recorded in the Bible, but we know two things: one, in a time when the nation had walked away from God and could no longer hear God’s word, Huldah stood out as faithful and godly; second, Huldah was in a relatively prominent position as the wife of the keeper of the king’s wardrobe. Notice also that when Josiah wanted to understand God’s word he did not seek out the prophet Jeremiah who preached in the streets. This may be because Huldah was known, accessible, acceptable, and non-threatening. It wasn’t the official priest, the appointed religious leader who knew God’s true word – it was the woman Huldah who had genuine relationship with God. Huldah, however, did not sugar-coat God’s word but rather delivered it straight. Are you the one who stands out in your community as holy and powerfully used by God? When someone needs to understand the deeper meaning of God’s word, do they automatically think of you and go to you? Are you fulfilling your role as an Ambassador for Christ and as a priest?
- 2 Corinthians 5:20 — Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
- 1 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
2 Kings 22:11 — “When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.
God’s people must study God’s word as a first priority. God’s word is the primary instrument used by God to speak to God’s people. The Holy Spirit uses God’s word to convict the hearts of His people and to show them what they cannot understand through mere intellect. When we don’t prioritize daily, diligent Bible study, we will lose the leading of the Holy Spirit and will drift into sin.
2 Kings 22:12 — Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.
Generations suffer when their ancestors do not obey ALL that is written in God’s word. Jesus’ answer for world peace was to have his disciples, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” There is no substitute for obedience.
2 Kings 22:13 — “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
Josiah did not take sin against God lightly.
2 Kings 22:14 – “So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter), and they talked with her.”
See notes above about Huldah the prophetess who was known to be a person who heard from God though she was not in a religious position.
2 Kings 22:19 — Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.
There is a big difference between being “sorry” and being repentant. A person can plead for forgiveness from God because they don’t want to be punished (sorry), and a person can plead for forgiveness from God because their heart is truly broken for having offended their Lord (repentant). The truly repentant person is concerned about restoring a right relationship with God rather than whether or not they receive punishment. The repentant person is willing to accept discipline for the sake of a renewed relationship. The “sorry” person hopes to avoid the pain of discipline.
Psalm 139:1-4 – O Lord, you have searched me and known me…! You discern my thoughts from afar. You… are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
God knows the real you, seeing beyond your actions to the motives behind your actions. People see what we reveal and judge us by our behavior. God sees all and judges our hearts. Strive for purity and holiness of heart before the Lord.
Psalm 139:13, 16 – For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb…. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How do you think God feels about the unborn child? “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3) Some debate when life begins, whether an unborn child counts as a life. Again, what does the Bible say?
- Exodus 21:22-25 — When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
- Proverbs 6:16-17 — There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood….
On Veterans Day weekend, the U.S. pays tribute to our over 18.2 million veterans who have served our Nation in uniform. On Memorial Day, we honor the 1.5 million Americans who have died during times of war since the American Revolution. However, there have been over 62 million abortions in the U.S. since 1973. What will you do about it?
- Isaiah 1:17 — Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
- Proverbs 24:11-12 — Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
- Psalm 82:4-5 – “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
God cherishes the unborn baby.
Psalm 139:17 – How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
Seek to make your thoughts God’s thoughts, to have the mind of Christ.
Psalm 139:21, 22 – “Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.”
Not all hate is bad.
Psalm 139: 23, 24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
The Holy Spirit can reveal to you what you can’t or refuse to see in yourself, and the Holy Spirit can reveal to you what you need to change in your life. However, if you refuse to listen or change, your ability to hear the Holy Spirit will diminish, your heart will harden, and you will suffer needlessly. Pray that God will reveal to you where your heart is not right and that He will guide you to greater holiness, purity, and love.
Proverbs 3:1 — My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.
Set your heart to obey God’s word.
Proverbs 3:3 — Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
With love goes faithfulness – they are inextricably linked, inseparable, measured from the heart but revealed in action. To the church in Rome Paul wrote, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (Romans 1:8). People all over the world were talking about the church in Rome because the love of Christ had dramatically changed their behavior. To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “We always thank God… since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints….” (1 Colossians 1:3, 4) Paul had heard of the Colossians faith which was evident by their love and faithfulness. The Gospel of Grace was bearing fruit in their lives, and the word had gotten out. So, Paul encouraged them to continue in their faithfulness, to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Faithfulness reveals maturity in Christ. (Colossians 1:28) Is your fidelity to God being talked about in your community?
Proverbs 3:5 — Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Don’t partially trust God or partially obey Him because His word seems to contradict your own understanding or “common sense.” Trust God and His word because God is God, and you cannot possibly understand what He has ordained in His omniscient perfection. In no way does your understanding of reality alter reality. The truth is the truth whether you understanding it or not. Jesus is the Truth. Trust Him, obey Him, and seek to know Him more and more each day.
Proverbs 3:7 — Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
Faith means that you have to do what doesn’t make sense to you at the time, simply because God commanded it.
Proverbs 3:11, 12 – My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
God will discipline you because He loves you. Accept God’s discipline with a teachable, humble, thankful spirit.
Proverbs 3:19 – The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens.
God’s wisdom is the foundation of all Creation. How important is it to live by God’s wisdom?
Proverbs 3:25 – Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes….
Faith means you won’t be afraid of the unknown. Faith trusts God in all circumstances.
Proverbs 3:27 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Giving is an act of faith; fear prevents giving. Give when you can, and trust that God will take care of you.
Proverbs 3:34 — Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
God treats you the way you treat others.
Proverbs 3:35 – The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.
Only godly wisdom brings honor in the end.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 December 2022: Pray God will give you His heart concerning the unborn.