Dusting Off The Bible

Josiah was a king in Judah and the Bible tells us that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord.  He was eight years old when he became king.  We are told that in the eighth year of his reign, he began actively pursuing and seeking the ways of God.  He destroyed the altars and idols that the people had set up for foreign gods in Judah and in Jerusalem.  He then led the people to repair the house of the Lord, the Temple, which had been neglected and damaged by other kings who had chosen to serve and set up altars for the false gods of that day.  He even put to death the priests who had served and led the people to worship the idols made by man.

During the reconstruction period, Hilkiah, the high priest, found the Book of the Law.  He then gave that book to a scribe who read it to King Josiah.  When King Josiah heard all the words of the Lord, he tore his garments, which was a sign of great distress.  Then he began leading the people back to the Lord.  He instructed the leaders to return to God and had the people to observe the Passover.  The complete story can be read in 2 Kings, chapters 22 and 23, and also in 2 Chronicles, chapter 34.  I sincerely hope you will read these passages.

A couple of things stood out to me in these passages.  Since it tells us that Hilkiah “found” the Book of the Law, that would lead us to surmise that the people had not been reading the Book.  It would seem that they had not been having church and were not studying the Laws of God.  But when the Book of the Law was found and was presented to the King to hear, people responded to the truth it contained.

As Christians, we have the whole Bible to read, not just the part of the Old Testament that was referred to as God’s Law.  But how many of us read it.  Depending on which website you look at, I found that the Bible is still the best-selling book with anywhere from 2.5 billion [1] copies sold to maybe 3.9 billion [2].  Polls also reveal that 88% of respondents said they own a Bible and that the average household has 3.9[3] to 4.4[3] Bibles in their homes.  However, despite having multiple copies readily available to read, only 37% of people read their Bible once or more a week. [5]

The other thing that stood out was how, upon reading the Book of God’s Laws, Josiah was immediately convicted and led the nation to repentance.  And again, they only had part of the Old Testament to read.  Of course within that Book, God promised again and again to bless His people if they were careful to keep His word and to worship Him only.  But the Book also told how God would punish His people if they failed to follow Him.  Josiah became fully aware of how the people had not been following the Laws of God and he could see how they had been reaping the consequences of their sinful actions.  God’s blessings and protection of the people had been removed.  Josiah wanted to lead the people back to God because of Who God is, but also to once again have God’s blessing and protection.

Now think about this.  If Josiah became that convicted just from reading the Book of Law and about God’s blessings and the removal of those same blessings, how is it today we cannot be that convicted when we have the complete Word of God?  After all, when we read God’s Word today, we are not just learning about a list of laws to keep.  We learn how Christ came to fulfill that law.  We learn that Christ is our Passover Lamb and we no longer have to bring an animal as a sacrifice before Him to have our sins forgiven.  We learn that through our faith and trust in Christ as our Lord and Savior, not only will we receive His blessings here on this earth, but that we have an eternal home reserved for us in Heaven.  We learn that we have the Holy Spirit to come to live within us, teaching us and guiding us into all truth.  We learn that we can have full access to the whole power of Christ.

When we are reading the Word of God, we have so much more being revealed to us than what the people of Josiah’s day did.  This isn’t saying we should only read the New Testament.  I am saying we have the complete revelation of God today within the whole Bible, not just within a select set of scriptures the people of the Old Testament had.  So why are we not as repentant as they were?

Perhaps, it’s because we have not been reading it.  Perhaps, in our rush to be like the world, to follow the “idols” of our day, we have forgotten that we have God’s Word available to us.

We are told this in reference to God’s word:

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper that any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJV)

The purpose of God’s word is to convict us, teach us and guide us away from sin.  We are to read it, study it, meditate on it and allow it to transform our lives.  When we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will illuminate and reveal the truth.  The Word of God is surely powerful.

So maybe it’s time to return to the “Temple.”  It’s time we clean it out, restore it and to once again bring out God’s Word, dust it off, and more importantly, read it.

 

References

[1] https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+many+bibles+have+been+sold; Accessed 6/29/15

[2] http://www.ask.com/world-view/many-copies-bible-sold-e9696e587c3244b6#; Accessed 6/29/15

[3] http://www.christianpost.com/news/poll-americans-own-many-bibles-but-rarely-read-them-71823/; Accessed 6/29/15

[4] https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+many+bibles+do+people+own; Accessed 6/29/15

[5] https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/664-the-state-of-the-bible-6-trends-for-2014#.VZFiRzIpBMw ; Accessed 6/29/15

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>