Josiah’s Reaction to the Bible
Read Your Bible – Part 3
January 17, 2021
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (2Chronicles 34:26,27)
2Chronicles 34:26 And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard;
2Chronicles 34:27 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
A. It is 640 BC
1. 640 years before the birth of Jesus Christ (what B.C. stands for)
2. 2,661 years ago
B. An 8 year boy is anointed as king of a small country in the Middle East called Judah
C. His name is ‘Josiah’
D. He was the son of king Amon, the grandson of king Manasseh, great grandson of a king named Hezekiah. All were part of a line of kings that started with king David
E. His World was in Ruins (MAP OF BABYLONIAN EMPIRE AROUND JUDAH)
1. God’s people, the Jewish people, were far away from God – apathetic, idolatrous, wicked living, to the point where people were taking their own children, and sacrificing them to false gods in order to have successful harvests, and businesses
2. It had been going downhill for over 100 years, since Hezekiah had reigned
3. An empire known as the Babylonians were conquering every nation around Judah
4. They were coming for Jerusalem next. The Babylonian army had locked everyone into the city walls of Jerusalem. Food as getting scarce. People living in fear.
II. Background and Review
A. This young man Discovers the Bible - at 26 years of age (2Chronicles 34:14-18)
1. 2Chron 34:14,15 …Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
2. 2Chronicles 34:16,18 And Shaphan carried the book to the king, … And Shaphan read it before the king.
3. The first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis - Deuteronomy)
4. It had been neglected for over 100 years, and was covered in rubble and dust
5. Josiah was not ignorant of the Bible
6. Just had never read it himself – and that was the problem!!!
7. O that young men would discover this Book again! And read it like it’s the first time
B. And Josiah’s REACTION to the words he heard, ended up saving himself, and his nation from the coming judgment of God! (2Chronicles 34:19-28)
Notice his reaction…
1. He was “Cut to the Heart” (2Chronicles 34:19)
a. 2Chronicles 34:19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
b. It is not always a nice Book to read if you take it seriously
c. It described in vivid detail not just what was wrong with society, but WHY things were bad
d. At least his heart was soft enough to be cut – to grieve, to hurt
He was defeated –
humbled “he rent his
Nothing to be proud of in himself or his parents
3. He was driven to pray and seek God! (2Chronicles 34:21)
a. 2Chronicles 34:21 Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.
b. Sent a request to a prophetess named Huldah
c. They told her all that had happened: finding God’s Law, and how the king had listened to the entire reading of the Law, and how he reacted
d. And they asked her to ask God what He was going to do with us now? Will He be merciful, or are we finished as a nation?
e. A desperate prayer!
4. Huldah responded… (2Chronicles 34:23-28)
a. God says, Judgment is still coming – like a FIRE on the horizon! The nation’s sins must be reaped – the nation will pay for all the innocent blood that had been shed, for all the sodomy and adulteries and lies and murders and
1) 2Chronicles 34:23 And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,
2) 2Chronicles 34:24 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:
3) 2Chronicles 34:25 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
b. BUT… (there are some good ‘buts’ in the Bible)
1) 2Chronicles 34:26 And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard;
2) God saw Josiah’s heart
a) 2Chronicles 34:27 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
b) What is a Soft Heart Like?
(i) Tender, soft, mouldable, hurtable, Easily hurt, sensitive heart
(ii) That is Easily intreated (moved) by words, especially the word of God
(iii) Quickly Seeks God’s mercy
(iv) Wants everyone that is under THEIR authority to do right
3) 2Chronicles 34:28 Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
c. And they brought all those words back to the king
1) Encouraging words - Life changing words!
2) They tell Josiah that Because:
a) You sought MY opinion (God’s opinion)
b) Because you carefully listened to all the words of MY Law
c) Because thine heart was tender
d) Because you have humbled yourself in the sight of God (instead of getting angry with God, or parents)
e) Because you feared God
f) And cared about your people facing God’s judgment and wrath…
g) And didn’t care about your royalty and genealogy, but acted like a sinner wanting to get right with God
3) I will delay the judgment – whew!
4) God will protect you from the coming judgment until your death, and will enjoy peace, and will not see the coming judgment
d. It turned everything around in Josiah’s heart – from fear, to joy and rest!
e. And it literally changed everything in his life!
f. Josiah’s right reaction to the words of God (warnings and all) saved the life of the king and the nation!
g. He had let it change his life / his direction / his priorities completely, and so God was allowed to change everything outside of him
5. For US today…
a. Judgment is still coming – like a FIRE on the horizon, and as we can see, it is getting closer and closer every minute!
b. If we want the same promises, we must react the same what to what we just read as Josiah did, NOT as his son, Jehoiakim did!
c. People desperately need to be UPSET and OFFENDED and AGITATED by the words in THIS Book, not by words on FakeBook!
1) Mark Twain said, “It is not the things in that Book I don’t understand that worry me – it is the things I DO understand that worry me!”
2) Do YOU ever worry about what you read in this Book? I do!
d. And then we need to REPENT – turn from our sinful ways that we naturally live, and turn to God in faith asking for mercy!
C. Josiah Went Further (2Chronicles 34:29-33)
1. Josiah Called for a Meeting (2Chronicles 34:29)
a. 2Chronicles 34:29,30a Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small...
b. Gathered people together – very important!
1) You know, when things are bad, and God has spoken to YOUR heart, it is time to talk about it and share it with the world around you, and get them to take THIS BOOK serious again!
2) NOTE: Satan is right now HINDERING this big need of OURS – to assemble!
3) We HAVE to get back to assembling – pray against this disease, and against the fear in people!
c. He directed the lives of the people under his authority
1) God expects those of us who have ANY authority (in our homes, at work, in government, etc)
a) First of all, to BE under authority
b) And to rightly influence everyone UNDER our authority
c) Can’t force change on those above you
d) But you certainly can change those below you!
2) At least YOU can command the people under your authority Dad and Mom
3) Every Sunday, I call for a meeting, to place us ALL under the authority of the reading of this same Book
d. So, the top people were commanded to attend – they needed to hear what Josiah had heard
e. This is not only for people in prison, and people in hospitals…
f. If we started people in the Bible when young, and at home, we would not have so many people in prison discovering the Bible for the first time!
2. He Read the Law Out-loud to Everyone (2Chronicles 34:30)
a. 2Chronicles 34:30 … and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.
b. It starts with reading and hearing THESE words
1) Deuteronomy 6:6 And THESE WORDS, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
2) That’s why the Bible needs to be read by everyone in your home
3) By Dad first, AND by Mom, and by each of the children in your home, as soon as they can read!
4) Bible reading HAS to be the foundation of the future, or we are doomed!
c. Josiah is reading the first five books of the Bible for the second time!
d. Josiah the king EXPECTED them to pay attention to the reading of God’s word
e. Expected them to take it seriously and start obeying it
f. He as king has influence and so he used it for good! To get people to hear God’s words, and God’s warnings, and God’s opinions!
3. Returned Everyone to the Covenant Agreement of the Law (2Chronicles 34:31)
a. 2Chronicles 34:31 And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
b. Like a prodigal son returning home agreeing to live under his parent’s rule again
c. Every relationship has expectations and rules
1) Of mutual respect
2) Of doing what the other person asks and needs done
3) Of loving each other
4) Of keeping things passionate – not becoming hard
4. All the People “stood to it” – visibly agreed with God’s words (2Chron 34:32)
a. 2Chronicles 34:32 And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
b. This world is going to hell for two reasons:
1) Lost people hearing the words of this Book, refuse to believe them
2) And God’s people refuse to live by this Book
5. And the clean-up began again (2Chronicles 34:33)
a. Josiah had already spent a lot of effort trying to clean up society, and the homes
b. But he started again, and went deeper – deep cleaning!
c. 2Chronicles 34:33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
6. And He Held Nothing Back (2Chronicles 35:17,18)
a. He outdid everyone else in history – A FANATIC!
b. Restarted all the right holidays – especially Passover
c. 2Chronicles 35:17,18 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
d. THAT is REAL Christianity! And our world needs to see it once again!
III. Application - Not Everyone Responds So Well to the Words of this Book
A. Most Resist Its Message
1. Josiah’s own son, Jehoiakim hated hearing it, and burned it
2. Often, the nation of Israel had such hard hearts towards hearing it
a. Zechariah 7:11,12 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
3. I didn’t respond well to it at first either
a. Many hear the words as words for others to hear, but not themselves
b. I deflected the words onto others in the room, in the world
c. It made me feel uncomfortable
d. It took weeks before I realised that Book was written to SINNERS just as much as it was written to godly people!
B. Our Nature Rejects Power Over Us
1. People want a Bible they can USE – not a Book that uses them!
2. We only want OUR OWN POWER – a power from us, not over us
a. That is why the new age movement has always had such appeal
b. That is why Pentecostals and charismatics have such an appeal
3. God has ordained authorities over people – God did not design a free-for-all society
4. He has given us commandments, not suggestions, or magic spells like many religious believe
5. And people deep down hate this Book! It is not nice to them!
6. Be careful, because how you react to authority shows how you are reacting to GOD’S words
C. Four different responses described by Jesus in Luke 8…
1. Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Hard heart – no interest, unable to listen, or accept
(Luke 8:12) Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Stoney heart – no depth, never wanting to understand
and really believe it
(Luke 8:13) They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Thorny Heart – no room, full of self and the world,
(Luke 8:14) And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Soft heart – receptive, hungry, waiting, open,
(Luke 8:15) But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
IV.So What Do We Do? How to Get and Keep OUR Hearts Soft
A. Examine your heart using God’s words – HIS opinion (Hebrews 4:12) – or better yet, let the BIBLE examine your heart!
1. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
2. Education without the Bible has led to the Dark Ages
3. Education without the Bible has produced war after war after war
4. Nations that got rid of all religion ended up slaughtering tens of millions of people, so that wasn’t a great idea (Soviet Russia, 1918; China, North Korea)
5. And now America, and most of Europe
a. Slaughtering tens of millions of unborn children every year
b. Creating a hatred of life (suicides)
c. And wishing to die in old age (euthanasia)
B. Hear God’s Word for YOURSELF – it is a Command
1. God does not just leave it up to us to do as we please and find our own way
2. He commanded these words to be residing in our hearts!
3. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart
4. Deuteronomy 32:46,47 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
5. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
C. Put Up a Fight – go against old habits, laziness, and culture that says we don’t need the Bible anymore
1. Take back surrendered territory – what you have abandoned to the world and devil
2. This Book is our SWORD and our SHIELD for spiritual battles! Start fighting them
3. Go against the common narrative that there is nothing we can do
4. Pay the price to get back right with God
5. Become different than the people and churches around you
6. Clean up what we have allowed the devil to soil! Claim the blood of Jesus Christ!
D. Make it a Commitment – agree to the covenant – the New Covenant!
1. Salvation is not a negotiation, but a complete surrender to following God’s word
2. The Christian life is not a passing fad – it’s not something you do until you get bored. It is a life-long commitment to follow the life and teaching of Jesus!
3. We are either in, or out
4. The disciples had to make a choice: either in / out, follow Jesus or go their own way
5. It is still offered today! Get in and stay the course!
E. It is Powered by a Relationship - So important a truth
1. This is a relationship Book for US to be able to walk with God & have His blessing
2. This Book came from God’s heart, to mine
3. He wants a relationship with me – but it has to be on His terms
4. As I seek that relationship, the instructions become important, and are wanted by me
5. It is like the instruction manual that comes with something that we think we already can figure out on our own – but when it won’t work, and we get frustrated, where do we turn? Back to the instruction manual!
6. Read your Bible to know how to walk with & talk with God & how to live for Him
F. It Produces the Best Results (not wealth, but a stable, strong, and joyful life)
1. Ah, there is such a good reward in reading and obeying the Bible! Read Psalm 1
2. A better heart – which is the source for everything being better in your life
3. A saved soul – no salvation unless God is allowed to change you from the heart
4. A different life – a better life
a. In the will of God (Psalm 40:8) I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
b. Full of the Spirit of God
c. Living like the Son of God
d. All for the glory of God
5. Lastly, as more and more people read and follow this book, God spares OUR nation – our nation depends on God’s people, US, reacting right to the words of this Book!
A. Discover the Bible - at 6, 26 or 96 years of age
1. God’s word is still true – right on the money
2. Judgment is still coming – like a FIRE on the horizon, and as we can see, it is getting closer and closer every minute!
3. Read and Hear God’s Word for YOURSELF – it is a Command
4. Examine your heart using God’s words – or better yet, let IT examine your heart!
B. If we want the same promises, we must react the same way to what we just read as Josiah did, NOT as his son, Jehoiakim did!
C. YOUR REACTION to the words you hear in THIS Book, will save both yourself, and this nation from the coming judgment of God, or it will damn you, your family, and this nation!
1. So, Let’s “stand to it” – visibly agree with God’s words
2. Let the clean-up began again and again and again
3. Make it a Relationship Book
4. And Hold Nothing Back (Be fanatical)
5. And let’s see what kind of results God gives us for it!