The Lost Book
Bet you didn’t, did you?
Disaster struck after King Hezekiah died. God had granted him a few extra years of life after a potentially fatal illness (2 Kings 20:1-6) and during that time a son, Manasseh, was born to him. When Hezekiah died, this son took his place as king. He was NOT like his father. The temple, once dedicated to the worship of God, was desecrated, filled with objects of idol worship. God had said: “‘In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. I will not again make the feet of the Israelites wander from the land I gave to their forefathers, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them.’ But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites” (21:7-9). Manasseh’s name would become synonymous with evil for many generations (2 Kings 21). He was succeeded by his son, Amon, who followed in his father’s footsteps.
By the time we get to Amon’s son, Josiah, the people of Judah are feeding their souls at their own version of Home Hardware. Josiah, surprisingly a righteous king despite his ancestry (22:2), determines to restore the temple of the Lord. In the course of this project a discovery is made. "Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord’” (22:8). This was reported to the king. The secretary then read the book to Josiah.
"When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes…’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 in the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book: they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us’” (22:11-13).
The priest went to the prophetess, Huldah, who delivered God’s pronouncement to Josiah. His heart of repentance (22:19), and his acts of contrition, spared both him and the people of Judah from certain judgment.
The lost book struck me this morning. People had gone to the temple to be fed and had had to settle for the wood and stone of the idol worship instituted by Manasseh and others—like eating at Home Hardware. What they really needed had been lost, like replacing a fine dining restaurant with a construction supply store.
Unhappily history tends to repeat itself. Hungry people go to the house of the Lord searching for milk, or steak and potatoes, and end up with bricks and mortar because the book has been lost. We seldom hear a word FROM the Lord because the Word OF the Lord takes second place to theories, self-help, personal agendas, and “theology light.”
The book is lost. Call me old-fashioned, but I crave the exposition of the Word. I real need a good "meal." I pray that the book will be found and valued as it was in Josiah’s day. When it is that same response, of repentance, revival and blessing, will follow just as it did during this righteous king’s reign.