When the Book is Found

“In the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had cleansed the land.., [Josiah] sent… to repair [and restore] the house of the Lord his God… While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord… and gave [it] to Shaphan. Shaphan brought the book to the king…

“When the king heard the words, he tore his clothes.., ‘Our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord…’ ‘Thus says the Lord,.. because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words.., and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord…’

“Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders.., all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found… [He] stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments.., with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. Then he made all who were present… join in it… And Josiah took away all the abominations that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.” 2 Chronicles 34:8,14-16a,19,21,24a,27,29-33

Earnest Josiah, the king foretold three centuries earlier, set his heart to seek God when he was yet a boy. He served Judah according to the light he had, but when the Book of God’s law was found and read, it changed the way he built his life. Its truths brought conviction, humble fear, and action in this wise leader, engendering blessing and new commitment for him and his people. It captured them for all his days in a beautiful, benevolent stronghold. (1 Kings 13:1-2; 2 Chronicles 34:3; Psalm 36:9)

For us, the Word is readily available as our light, making a difference every day for every step. We might hide it away, falsely assuming that previous study or early knowledge suffices forever, but power comes from expending effort to find and read it today. Its living words are designed and able to warn, instruct, expose, cleanse, and strengthen. (Psalm 19:7-11; 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12)

How easy it is to get caught up in the building and maintaining of busy lives! We tuck the Word back to get lost and dusty on a shelf behind more urgent responsibilities, we fill minds and schedules to crowd it out, we misplace and try to substitute its vitality. We neglect God’s word altogether because we’ve decided, consciously or not, that there are more important things. And we are the weaker for all.

Do we set out daily with a bang of motion, expending energy on tasks that do not matter, or first search the Scriptures to direct our priorities? How will we fill our personal temple of the Spirit with the Word, and commit to its statutes? How distinct, radiant, and influential our lives would be if the Word took precedence! (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)

Father, may Your Word have its way with all my heart and soul, all my days.

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