And then he [Shaphan] said, “I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me.” And he read it aloud to the king. When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay.
King Josiah the reformer. He was only eight years old when he ascended the throne of Judah, and he reigned for 31 years. Of his father, Amon, we read that he rejected the Lord of his ancestors and sinned against him by worshipping idols. Like the kings who preceded him, he disobeyed the Lord’s commands. In contrast, we read that Josiah did what was pleasing to the Lord. When only in his mid-20s, he already started to renovate the temple that had been neglected by his ancestors to the point that it had become dilapidated in places.
In spite of Josiah’s fervour for God, all was not well with the religion in Judah. There were still many altars for idols and in the temple itself, there was pagan worship and even temple prostitutes. The commands and instructions of the covenant were neglected. The young king tried his best to restore the true worship of God, but he grew up in an environment where he was not taught the correct way to worship the Lord.
All this was changed by a very important discovery in the temple when the high priest, Hilkiah, found the book of the Law, probably somewhere in a dusty storeroom. For many years this scroll containing the Law was completely lost and in all probability, nobody even knew that something like it existed. Only when Shaphan started reading from the book, did the king realise what the true worship of God really entailed. When he heard what God really wanted, he tore his clothes in dismay. Only then did he realise what was needed for the complete reformation to begin. He ordered every altar of pagan worship to be destroyed, he forbade human sacrifices, removed all mediums and fortune tellers and burnt all the household gods and other objects of pagan worship. Then he reinstated the covenant and the people started celebrating the Passover again.
Josiah wanted to make changes in Judah from an early age, but it took the rediscovery of the Word of God to make him realise what it really meant to worship God. That is still true today. Without the Word of God, we have no directive of how really to serve the Lord.
Prayer: Dear Father, we thank you that we have many Bibles available in our country, but please help us to provide Bibles to those who still do not have one. Amen