Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, 1 Kings 2:3 (ESV)
As I read about King Josiah this week, I was reminded about an old post from October 2012 I had written on the lost book of law. I dug it out for you today. “You didn’t tell me not to do it today” my son argued. “Son, I didn’t think I had to tell you the same rule (don’t wear your socks in the yard without shoes on) every day. “When I tell you once ~ that stands for everyday!” I reinforced with a not so happy tone in my voice. Repeating the same thing over and over again is part of a mom’s life! It can be so frustrating to ask my kids not to do something one day only to have them “forget” the next day. Does it all fall out every night when they are sleeping?
This all came to mind as I was revisiting the story of King Josiah. My son is 10, but Josiah was only 8-years old when he became king. Can you imagine? I’m sure he had many servants to pick up his socks. Josiah reigned Jerusalem for 31 years. Who says the Bible doesn’t have some good stories?!
And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 2 Kings 22:8 (ESV)
Here’s the crazy thing that stood out to me as I revisited this story. Notice what 2 Kings 22:8 (above) says. “I found the Book of Law.” The Book of Law (God’s directions & laws for his people) has been either hidden or misplaced for years and years. They didn’t even know what the book was until they began to read it because it had been forgotten by previous generations. This is difficult to comprehend when we live in a world where I alone probably have 20 different types of Bibles in my house, but it’s true. They had lost it and were living the laws that had been watered down after years mixed in with whatever else had come along.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, 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.” 2 Kings 22:11-13 (ESV)
So when The Book of Law was found and King Josiah heard the words read from it he “tore his clothes.” Can you imagine discovering something that gave you every key and insight into how you needed to live for God and recognizing you had been doing the opposite in most cases? Josiah tore at his clothes because he was beside himself with despair, anguish and regret. They had been getting it all wrong, but God honored Josiah because he quickly repented, turned from idols and went back to observing festivals and following God’s laws.
So Josiah removed everything that was detestable from all the lands belonging to the Israelites, and he required all who were present in Israel to serve the LORD their God. Throughout his reign they did not turn aside from following Yahweh, the God of their ancestors. 2 Chronicles 34:33
We go through times like this in our own lives. We live like God’s word has been lost. We live as if we don’t remember His ways, His truths and His commandments. Then, by the grace of God we find it again and hopefully mourn our sin and begin to live according to His ways once more. You may have lost it for a while, but God has never given up on you. You may have lost it for a while, but God still loves you. You may have lost it for a while, but God can still turn your failures into His triumphs. Return to Him today. We may let go of Him, but He never let’s go of us! With God there is always hope!
*Reposted and revised from 10/2012