The Goad of the Book

“Hilkiah… found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the Book of the Law to Shaphan, and he read it… Then Shaphan the secretary… read it before the king.

“When the king heard the words of the Book, he tore his clothes…  ‘Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and… for all Judah, concerning the words of this book… For great is [his] wrath kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book…’

“[Huldah the prophetess said], ‘Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place.., that they should become a desolation and a curse,.. I also have heard you, declares the Lord…’

“Then the king sent, and all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem were gathered to him. And [he] went up to the house of the Lord, and with him… all the people, both small and great. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. And the king… made a covenant… to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments… with all his heart and all his soul.” 2 Kings 22:8,10-11,13-14,19; 23:1-3

“Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

The Book of the Law, found by Hilkiah, was so hot in his hands that he passed it to Saphan. Reading it lit a fire in him, and he brought it to the God-fearing king. Its words were a hammer-blow to the heart of earnest Josiah, penetrating his sense of reverence and how he should lead God’s people with conviction. He responded with humility, surrender, and action. (2 Kings 22:1-2)

We cannot genuinely encounter the living Word of God and not be changed. Its active, personal, divinely-inspired words convict, reveal, and convince. If this is not occurring when we read, spend time in, or listen to the instruction of the Word, we must check ourselves for sin-blockage and heart attitude, because the powerful Word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:10-11; 2 Timothy 3:16)

What is our motive in reading? To grab a quick bite? To check off a duty, satisfy a legalistic ‘done’ so we feel good about ourselves? Or do we go hungry, teachable, expectant? Do we approach with a yen for approval of our plans, or humbly seeking the Lord’s direction? Are we full of justification and excuses, or open to the pierce of its double edged blade? (Hebrews 4:12)

How is the Book goading us? What new commitment to holiness or obedience, or changes in thought or behavior, has it effected? Regular reading, study, meditation, and application of God’s Word makes a difference. It alters our outlook, corrects our worldview, steadies our emotions. It burns until we pass it on. Will we crawl along as mere babes, full of hearing and teething on basic principles, or progress to the solid food of hard teaching that pricks our heart affections, prods fresh ambition and action? (Hebrews 5:11-6:1)

Lord, awaken me morning by morning hungry for the Book, and cause me to listen as one taught by the Almighty. Convict, change, embolden, inspire, fill, and lead. May my life exalt above all things Your name and Word. (Psalm 138:2; Isaiah 50:4)

One thought on “The Goad of the Book”

  1. Like❤️ “ We cannot genuinely encounter the living Word of God and not be changed. …… because the powerful Word never returns void.” — May I read it with reverence and a prayerful heart.


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