2 Kings 22:1-20 (Part 2) – Making The Bible Say What We Want It to Say

Posted: October 3, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 22:1-20 (Part 2 of 2)

Josiah Discovers God’s Law

“God helps those who help themselves.” “This, too, shall pass.” “God wants you to be happy.” “If you work hard enough, you’ll be successful.” “Just follow your heart and believe, and you can do anything.” These are 5 sayings that many people believe, including many mature Christians, come from the Bible. These are innocuous sayings that people often believe are biblical and many use them when they want to sound spiritual in certain situations. They are often fallback quotes for us when we don’t know what else to say in a particular situation. However, they are not biblical. In these cases, they are comforting statements that are not intended to make some grand political statement or social statement. They are just comforting words of non-biblical origin.

However, the scary thing in our world today is that we often make the Bible say what we want it to say. The harmless sayings above are made between friends in situations in life where comfort is needed. But the situations that I am talking about now is when we try to make God’s Word fit our own political and social agenda. In today’s world, even at the organized Protestant denomination level and with the Catholic Church, you often wonder if they remember what the Word of God says. There is such an interest in remaining relevant to the culture in which we now operate that we may well be straying from God’s Word. The Bible warns about trying to fit in with the culture around us when it says:

f you’re feeling tempted to conform and pursue a path that isn’t compatible with the one that God wants you to take, these 10 Bible verses can help bring you back on track.

Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

2 John 1:9 – Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

Luke 6:26 – Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

James 4:4 – You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

John 15:18-19 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Proverbs 5:20-21 – Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Psalm – 118:8-9 – It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

The need for relevancy can lead us to avoid things in the Bible that are controversial or antithetical to the culture’s current whims. The need for acceptance by the culture may lead us to re-interpret Bible passages away from the God-inspired truth that the authors were intending for their original audience. The need to be liked by the culture will lead us to change what has been a universally accepted truth that God intended and the Holy Spirit has protected through the centuries. When cultural acceptance and relevancy become primary and abiding in what God’s Word actually says becomes secondary, are we still the church? Can we claim to stand on the shoulders of martyrs through the centuries that have died for the truth of God’s Word in the face of a culture’s insistence on living in the opposite way when we are trying so hard to rewrite God’s Word to be acceptable to the culture? We cannot claim to be the same church as the first century church if cultural relevancy has become more important than the truth of God’s Word. When I think of all of those through the centuries and even those in foreign countries today that would rather die for the truth of the Bible AS IS than comply with the culture, I celebrate their brazen boldness against the tide of culture. I hope that I will have that same boldness when and if the time comes for me to choose between cultural relevancy and the truth of God’s Word.

That is what I thought of this morning. Josiah thought he was a good man and was doing what God would want him to do. Yet, he really did not know God’s Word. It had become a forgotten thing in Israel. Even people that were not participating in the idolatry and were trying to seek after the one true God, they did not themselves really know the Bible. That got me to thinking about our situation today where many churches are saying they know the Bible and are interpreting it in ways that are completely different from the commonly accepted truths of the Bible that have been developed by Christian theologians over 2,000 years. We think we know the Bible but we are changing what it means to fit the culture in which we now operate. Knowing what we think we know is in the Bible but it’s not, apply current cultural sensibilities to the timeless truths of the Bible and avoiding the truths of the Bible are all dangerous to the church and to God’s people. We must know our Bibles, plain and simple, so that we can defend her, so that we can die for her, and so that we can preserve the church as God intended it to be. With that in mind, let’s read 2 Kings 22:1-20 now for the second of two devotionals:

22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. 2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.

3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to the Temple of the Lord. He told him, 4 “Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the Lord’s Temple. 5 Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple. 6 They will need to hire carpenters, builders, and masons. Also have them buy the timber and the finished stone needed to repair the Temple. 7 But don’t require the construction supervisors to keep account of the money they receive, for they are honest and trustworthy men.”

8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.

9 Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” 10 Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.

11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13 “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”

14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quarter[a] of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.

15 She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city[b] and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. 17 For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.’

18 “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 19 You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 20 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”

So they took her message back to the king.

In this passage, we see that when Josiah heard the law, he tore his clothes in despair. He immediately instituted reforms. With just one reading of God’s law, he changed the course of a nation. Today, many people own Bibles, but few are affected by the truths found in God’s Word. The Word of God should cause us, like Josiah, to take action to immediately bring our lives into harmony with God’s will as expressed in His timeless Word.

It is particularly important in this day and age for us to know and understand God’s Word and not just take for granted that we know its contents and the meaning of books, chapters, passages and verses contained therein. It is important for us to understand author and the original audience for the book of the bible in question. It is important to understand the cultural and historical context in which a book was written. We must then understand what the author was trying to say to that audience in that day. That truth then is the truth that is timeless that we must analyze for its application to our lives. We cannot and should not come at the Bible with our 21st century sensibilities and impose those on what the author is trying to say to an audience in the first century AD (or a BC audience in case of the Old Testament). We must come at it from the other direction. Understand what the author was saying to that audience (him not having the advantage of knowing what comes next for the next 20 centuries) and that is the truth that we must come to. That is the truth that God wants us to know and bring forward to today and apply it to our lives.

Oh Lord, help us to know your Word by studying it daily and not just reading through without thinking and meditating on it. Oh Lord, help us to know your truth in your Word even if it cuts us to the quick. Oh Lord, help us to know your Word so that we can defend it. Help us to see the general tenor of your Word so that when something comes at us that sounds good but is not of you that we will recognize it as not of you. Help us to be more interested in living by your Word than being culturally relevant. Help us to be different but loving to the world around us. Help us to attract people unto the Real You by us being different from the culture. Help us to be more interested in abiding in your truth than abiding in the false glow of cultural acceptance.

Amen and Amen.

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