From the book of Second Kings, we read of a great king,
- “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem . . . And he did right in the sight of the LORD and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left.” (II Kings 22:1-2 – NASB)
When one reads of the various kings of Judah, who at different periods of time ruled “in Jerusalem,” one cannot help but note the contrasts that marked each one of them. There were those who did right in the Lord’s “sight” and there were those who did evil in His “sight.” If one reads the twenty-first chapter of Second Kings and then reads chapters twenty-two and twenty-three, you will see what I mean.
In II Kings twenty-one we read of Manasseh,
- “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years . . . And he did evil in the sight of the LORD . . .” (II Kings 21:1-2 – NASB)
King Manasseh was so “evil” and led his people Israel into committing such “evil” acts that God determined to judge Israel for the abominations they committed. It was a judgment that was inevitable; there would be no way of turning back God’s coming wrath.
But that judgment did not come immediately. Rather Manasseh died and there came a new king named “Josiah.” And in the “sight” of God, “Josiah” was a great king, one who “did right in (His) sight.”
It is most noteworthy that in our contrast of kings there seems to be one matter that should be to us of great interest. Evidently, during the reign of King “Manasseh” the book of the law of God was set aside. No attention was given to it, and it seems it was left in the house of the LORD to gather dust, being in such a state that it needed to be found. During King “Josiah’s” reign, as the king gave attention to another matter in the temple, it was said,
- “Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.” (II Kings 22:8 – NASB)
“Shaphan” took the “book” and reported to the king about the money matters and then he informed the king that the “high priest” had given him a “book” (22:9-10). And “Shaphan” read the “book” to King “Josiah.”
- “And it came about when the king heard the words of the book of the law, that he tore his clothes” (II Kings 22:11 – NASB)
And thus began the turning of Israel, for a period of time, back to her God. King “Josiah” brought revival to Israel for “thirty-one years.” All made possible because they had “found the book,” and they read “the book,” and they did what “the book” said to do.
Brethren, there are to applications here in this lessons in contrasts. One can apply on an individual level, a believer who has strayed from the Lord, who has been seduced by the world, caught up in sin. who has lost “the book” and its counsel. That person needs to find “the book,” hear the words of “the book,” and repent, and as the prodigal son, come back to the Father, to the path of righteousness.
The second application has to do with our nation because our nation has lost “the book.” The leadership we have had and continue to have does not inquire of “the book,” and I am of the belief that because of our long trend downward judgment is inevitable (note well Romans 1:18-32). But I also believe that there can be yet a period of time in which we can have a good king “Josiah.” If only we can have leaders who find “the book,” hear its words, and cry out in repentance to God! Who hear the words of “the book” and seek to right the ship according to its instruction. Lessons in contrast could bring periods of blessing, even to a nation that has been given over, even to a nation that has become so spiritually bankrupt.
Have a good day brethren . . . and let us join and pray that our leaders would find the book, read the book, and repent! All to the glory of God, the Author of the book.
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