Read Your Bible – Part 2
Josiah and Jehoiakim React to the Bible
January 10, 2021
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Background (2Chronicles 34:1,2)
A. It is 640 BC
1. 640 years before the birth of Jesus Christ (what B.C. stands for)
2. 2,661 years before now
B. An 8 year boy is anointed as king of a small country in the Middle East called Judah (MAP)
C. His name is Josiah
1. 8 year old kings were rare, but not too rare
2. David started his reign at 30 years (2Sa 5:4) – that was normal
3. Jehoash was 7 when he began to reign (2King 11:21; 2Chr 24:1)
4. Manasseh was 12 (2King 21:1)
5. Jehoiachin was 8 years as well (2Ch 36:9)
6. Jesus began His reign at birth! (Matt 2:2)
D. He was the son of king Amon, the grandson of king Manasseh, great grandson of a great king named Hezekiah. All were part of a line of kings that started with king David
E. His World was in Ruins
1. Josiah has inherited a mess
2. An evil empire known as the Babylonians were conquering every nation around tiny Judah
3. They were coming for Jerusalem next
4. 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 burning them alive as sacrifices to false gods in order to have successful harvests, and businesses
5. It had been going downhill for over 100 years, since Hezekiah had reigned
F. This young lad will reign as king for 31 years
II. The General Summary of Josiah’s Life (2Chronicles 34:2)
A. He did things that were right in God’s eyes
B. That is a good testimony – how will you be remembered?
C. And it was only because of some right influences in his life
D. (And believe me, it was not FakeBook, or Snapchat, or Instagram, or Youtube, or any other of the 500 forms of social media)
III. Turning Points in Josiah’s Life
A. #1 As a young boy, Josiah decided to be like David
1. So many of the previous kings wanted to make their own name, and find their own way, and live the way they wanted
2. Most want to be like their father’s or uncles
3. But Josiah decided to:
a. Live like someone who lived 500 years earlier - David
b. He knew of David’s life and faith - It was his heritage.
c. After 500 years, everyone still talked about David and his faith in God, and his courage, and his godly life
d. So, Josiah pattern his life after king David’s life
1) His love for people
2) Respect for authority
3) His life of simplicity as a shepherd ruling as a king
4) A life that cared for people and risked everything often to do the right thing
e. David’s life and lifestyle greatly influenced Josiah – even without having the word of God himself. King David’s life greatly helped generations of people. So should ours, Christian!
f. By the way ladies and gentlemen, it is still true that YOUR life, if lived right, can turn the heart of impossible people (1Peter 3:1,2), and turn them to God
1) 1Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2) 1Peter 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
4. He stayed that way all his life - consistency
B. #2 At 16 years of age, Josiah began to seek to follow the God of David (2Chronicles 34:3) – the driving force behind the life of David
1. That is maturity
2. Children follow their parents…
3. But MEN follow whatever influences their parents – drink, entertainment, friends, porn
C. #3 At 20 years old, he began to clean up Jewish society (2Chronicles 34:3-7)
1. He starts with the High places of worship (places setup high on hills with idols)
2. Cuts downs the trees growing in Groves that were dedicated to false gods, that would be later carved into idols
3. He destroyed both wooden and metal Idols
4. He smashed every altar dedicated to Satan worship (Baalim), and destroyed all the images of Baalim
5. Ground all the idols into dust/powder
6. Dug up and burnt the bones of the false religious priests of the past that had taught Israel to sin against Jehovah God
7. Got rid of all the false worship throughout Jerusalem and Judah, all the way as far north as Naphtali in the very north
8. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the need to clean up society, and have morals, and expectations of people to live under rules – we call them LAWS! And laws are not bad! They make society safe.
9. It was and is the right thing to do as a leader – all leaders
a. That was his job as king
1) Not to live opulently, and in wealth and ease
2) But to make wise and right decisions about how things should be in society
3) A king was the highest court of law
4) He was the instigator of laws, and the one who made sure those laws were carried out in the nation
b. And it is your and my job as parents, and teachers, and business owners!!!
D. But… just making laws, and putting limits on people never changes them
1. Because, you can clean the outside, but is still filthy on the inside
2. Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
3. Israel needed cleansing on the inside!
E. So God gives Josiah the answer to the ruin on the inside of the people… it is the same answer to our need today!
F. It turns out being THE most important influence of all
IV.Message (2Chronicles 34:8-28)
A. It was Time to Repair the Temple (2Chronicles 34:8-13)
1. In the 18th year of his reign (Josiah is now 26 years old)
2. Josiah focused on repairing the Jewish Temple (PICTURE)
a. It has been neglected for almost 100 years
b. It was called the House of God
c. He wanted to restore proper worship, and restore the people’s personal relationship with God through the Old testament system of sacrifices and altars and the centrepiece of the Temple. Without it, they were lost.
3. He ordered that some of the money (the tithes) that people gave to the priests, be used it to repair the Temple!
4. “which the kings of Judah had destroyed”
a. Not an enemy
b. Not an invading army
c. But God’s own PEOPLE ruined the house of God!
5. Josiah took up a special offering of everyone in the nation to buy supplies and pay the builders and carpenters to repair the Temple
6. By the way, he made sure there was godly Music playing in the background of the work (34:12b)
B. An Accidental Discovery (2Chronicles 34:14)
1. ‘A’ book was “accidently” found amidst all the rubbish and the dust (PICTURE OF TORAH SCROLLS)
a. (It would be like going through your attic or garage that hadn’t been touched in decades – imagine all that you might discover)
b. The last time anyone tended to the Temple was well over 50 years earlier, and only for mock worship services by false priests!
c. That’s when someone found ‘a book’ in the form of several very old scrolls
d. And it was not just any old book – it was THE Book – what we call, THE BIBLE (‘o biblios’ the book).
f. They were all in a large chest labelled, the Law of God
1) The first five books of the Bible (Gen-Deut) are called THE LAW
2) They were 5 books, yet ONE Book
3) Deuteronomy 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
4) Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
g. Now it may not impress you, but this collection of five large scrolls was probably the very original scrolls that Moses had hand written the words of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy on!
h. They are about 1,000 years old
i. Everyone had thought they were lost
j. Yet here they were, right under the rubbish and dust in a forgotten corner
k. The very words of God, written by the hand of Moses!
C. Limited Interest - Not Everyone was Impressed (2Chronicles 34:15)
1. Hilkiah the high priest knew what the book was, but didn’t want to sit and read it.
a. He evidently thought he knew what it said already
b. He had been taught all about God’s Law, and was not impressed with it
c. He was religious, and a leader of the Jewish worship
d. But he was apathetic about the words of God! They were nothing special to him
e. So he just passed it off to someone else to decide what to do with it
f. THAT was how bad things were in that day – the top religious were not interested in the words of the living God!
2. So, he handed it to a guy named Shaphan - Shaphan the scribe
a. Scribe meant copyist, recorder, librarian, historian. He was someone who was supposed to be knowledgeable of Israel’s history, and religion.
b. He was kind of like Josiah’s chief of staff
c. But Shaphan had never read the Bible before!
3. Shaphan Reads It (2Kings 22:8)
a. Shaphan just sat down in the middle of all the work going on repairing the temple… and read it from start to finish!
b. 2Kings 22:8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, 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.
c. All the priests had ever done for all his life was mention small portions of the Scriptures, bits and pieces of the whole
d. The people had become used to only hearing what the priests felt like telling them
e. No one for over 100 years had actually read anything in the Bible from start to finish
f. The same was true all over Europe during the dark Ages – priests only taught small portions of Scripture
g. Until the reformation, when the entire bible was given to everyone everywhere
4. Shaphan is Stunned at what he reads- it shocked him, worried him
a. It deeply affected him!
b. Couldn’t just pass it on to someone else
c. The KING had to hear these words
D. The King Must Hear (2Chronicles 34:16-18)
1. Shaphan immediately went to the young king with news
a. “Money is coming in
b. “Builders are busy working
c. “The Temple is starting to look like it should again…
d. “And uh, we, uh, found this Book…
2. And that was when Shaphan began to read out-loud to the king…
1) Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2) Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3) Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4) Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5) Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day…
6) It takes 3 1/2 hours to read through Genesis
b. Then the Exodus scroll
1) Exodus 1:1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.
2) Exodus 1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
3) Exodus 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
4) Exodus 1:4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
5) Exodus 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
6) Exodus 1:6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
7) Exodus 1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8) Exodus 1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph…
9) Exodus takes 3 hours to read through
c. Then Leviticus
1) Leviticus 1:1 And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
2) Leviticus 1:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
3) Leviticus 1:3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
4) Leviticus 1:4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him…
5) 2 hours to read through Leviticus
d. Then Numbers
1) Numbers 1:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2) Numbers 1:2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls;
3) Numbers 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies…
4) 3 hours
e. And then Deuteronomy
1) Deuteronomy 1:1 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
2) Deuteronomy 1:2 (There are eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)
3) Deuteronomy 1:3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them;…
4) 2 hours to read it start to finish
f. He took every word personally – like it was written to HIM
g. Josiah heard the interesting parts, and the boring parts
h. He listened to the easy passages, and the hard ones
i. It took a total of 13 1/2 hours for Shaphan to read it out-loud – and that was the second time he had read it through!
3. But Josiah didn’t stop Shaphan, interrupt him, or say anything for the entire time
4. Why? Why did Josiah take the time to listen to every word of such a book?
a. It was not like any other book he had ever read or heard
b. It told him who he was, and where he came from
c. It spoke to his heart, not just his head
d. It cut him, hurt his pride, embarrassed him, humbled him
e. It exposed his sins, and his father’s sins, all the way back to Adam
1) A woman in Africa was asked if she enjoyed reading her new Bible that she had just received in her language. She replied, “Sir, I am not reading this Book. This Book is reading me!” —Bible Society Record
f. It put the blame for neglecting the word of God on everybody, including himself
g. It clearly warned of what was coming upon his fragile nation because of their blatant sins against God
h. The fierce wrath and judgment of God (Leviticus 26):
1) Leviticus 26:14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;
2) Leviticus 26:15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:
3) FEAR, SORROWS, LOSS OF WEALTH, and LOSS OF FREEDOMS
a) Leviticus 26:16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague [FEVERS AND CHILLS], that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
b) Leviticus 26:17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
a) Leviticus 26:18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
b) Leviticus 26:19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
c) Leviticus 26:20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
5) WILD ANIMALS TAKING OVER
a) Leviticus 26:21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
b) Leviticus 26:22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
6) DISEASES & WAR
a) Leviticus 26:23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
b) Leviticus 26:24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
c) Leviticus 26:25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
i. The warnings of that Book called for a singular response – not just clean streets and a rebuilt temple, but a desperate repentance in Josiah’s heart
E. Cut to the Heart (2Chronicles 34:19-21)
1. Josiah waited until he had heard the entire Law being read before he reacted!
a. He listened carefully, weighing every word, and every sentence…
b. Most people I meet have read Genesis chapter 1, and then stopped!
2. Shook to the Core - deeply affected - upset! That is what this Book does
a. 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.
b. Took the Bible literally
3. That was when Josiah did three things:
a. Repented - Rent his royal clothes (19)
1) That was a big deal!
2) He was ashamed of himself (exposing inside), and humbled himself
3) Instead of getting angry at God, or at his parents…
4) He personally repented of his own part in the blame
b. Admitted (20,21) - Admitted that his nation had not been listening to God and doing what God said do for the past 100 years)
c. Worried - Worried about his nation… Was this the end for his people?
d. Sought God’s Mercy (2Chronicles 34:21)
1) Warnings have a way of waking a person up – making you take things more seriously
a) Like a warning light on your car – causes you to pull over and see what is the problem
b) Like a health problem – causes you to change your diet
c) Preaching this Book should do the same – wake people up!
2) He wanted God to know that he and the people were going to do whatever is necessary to get right with God
3) So, he commanded the High Priest and 4 other ranking men to pray, and seek God’s conclusion about all that was written!
4) We will see how God responds NEXT WEEK
V. Not Everyone Responds Right (Jeremiah 36) Jehoiakim
A. Josiah’s Son Jehoiakim Faced the Same Bible His Father Did
1. Jeremiah 36:1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of [WHO?] Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2. Jeremiah 36:2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel [A SCROLL OF GOD’S WORDS], and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
B. God was offering the next generation the same chance to respond right to the word of God…
1. Jeremiah 36:3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
2. Jeremiah 36:4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.
3. Jeremiah 36:5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:
4. Jeremiah 36:6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD'S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
5. Jeremiah 36:7 It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.
6. Jeremiah 36:8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD'S house.
C. Josiah’s son did not react rightly to the word of God
1. Jeremiah 36:14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.
2. Jeremiah 36:15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.
3. Jeremiah 36:16 Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.
4. Jeremiah 36:17 And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?
5. Jeremiah 36:18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
6. Jeremiah 36:21 So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.
7. Jeremiah 36:22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
8. Jeremiah 36:23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.
9. Jeremiah 36:24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.
10. Jeremiah 36:25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.
D. And it cost him dearly, just like it will cost anyone
1. Jeremiah 36:30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.
2. Jeremiah 36:31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.
VI.Here is The Right Way to Handle the Word of God
Josiah shows us the right way to handle the words of God…
A. Listen to it – to every word (Matthew 4:4)
1. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
2. It will blow your mind
3. It will cut you to the core
4. It will heal you, and hurt you all at the same time
B. Let it speak to you, about YOU (James 1:22-25)
1. It is so easy to ignore what the Bible says because you think it is written about someone else
2. James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
3. James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
4. James 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
5. James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
C. Take the commands seriously – God spoke these words, not a politician!
D. Take the warnings more seriously
1. I am so glad for all the promises, and the encouraging words… and there are many
2. But the warnings need to stand out and cause me to fear living without this Book!
3. Psalm 119:120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments. GOOD!
E. React – do not ignore and neglect the words
1. Get upset at something besides
2. Get happy
3. Get excited
4. Get scared
5. Any emotion is better than none!
F. Repent of whatever you discover you are doing wrong
1. THE ONLY thing for a sinner to do – crumble, and cry out for mercy
2. A constant thing for a Christian
G. Seek to get close to the Author of these words – to obtain his mercy and forgiveness
A. Our World is Crumbling Fast
B. How will you be remembered? Will you make a difference? Will you do things that are right in God’s sight?
C. It will only be because of right influences in your life
1. Like godly examples
2. A personal walk with God yourself
3. A love for morality and clean living instead of sinful
4. And a Book in your hand, and in your heart! The Bible
5. Let it Cut You to the Heart – even upset you
D. And respond rightly to it
1. Repent – give up fighting and arguing with God
2. Admit - Admit his own part and blame for all the troubles in the world
3. Worry - Worry about our homes, and our nation… Is this the end for OUR people?
4. Seek God’s Mercy