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door to attic is open July 28 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 2Kings 22:3-20; 2Chronicles 34:8-33; 2Kings 23:1-28; 2Chronicles 35:1-19; Psalm 81; Jeremiah 11:1-8

A Hidden Treasure

Most of us have probably cleaned out a closet, an attic, or a basement and found some treasure, perhaps even left by the last tenant or resident. Josiah, the new king of Judah, found a treasure in Solomon’s temple. What he found changed his life and that of the nation.

Josiah was only a boy of eight years when he inherited the throne from his father, King Amon.

In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young [ sixteen years old], he began to seek the God of his father David [his much revered ancestor]. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idols and cast images,” (2Chronicles 34:3, NIV).

In his thirteenth year he was aided in his zeal to sweep the land of its idols by the prophecies of Jeremiah (and probably Zephaniah). Jeremiah’s word from the LORD was that the people of Judah needed to repent before judgment came (the Babylonian invasion). They inwardly resisted but outwardly conformed as King Josiah continued the purging of the land. In the eighteenth year (when he was twenty-six years old), King Josiah gathered money and paid workers to repair the temple (2Kings 22:3-7; 2Chronicles 34:8-13). While they were cleaning out the temple, Hilkiah, the chief priest, found a book and gave it to Shaphan the scribe and then took it to King Josiah. It was the book of the Law (probably a portion of the Law written by Moses). What most likely caused him particular alarm was Deuteronomy 28-30, where the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience were listed for Israel. Deuteronomy 28:49-68 in particular seemed to prophesy an invasion by Babylon, which was a present threat to Judah, the remnants of Israel and all the surrounding nations. What Shaphan read to the king caused him grave concern. They were in imminent danger of falling under God’s judgment, being conquered by their enemies, and being expelled from the land. Only nationwide repentance would stay God’s hand and give them protection. Most of us are probably not Israelites, but if we have a personal relationship with God we are his adopted children. God wants to bless us for obedience in every way (Ephesians 1:3-8), but if we persist in disobedience he will punish us (Hebrews 12:5-11). He wants us to return to him (Acts 3:19).

The king wept and tore his robes. This was a sign of great grief. Immediately, he sent for some counsel from the prophetess of the LORD, Huldah, who was residing within Jerusalem.

She said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people-- all the curses written in the book that has been read in the presence of the king of Judah. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and provoked me to anger by all that their hands have made, my anger will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched.’

Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. Now I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.’” So they took her answer back to the king, (2Chronicles 34:23-28, NIV).

Josiah immediately took steps to gain the LORD’s favor. He gathered all the elders, leaders of the people, and all the people in Jerusalem together to hear the words of the Covenant (probably Deuteronomy 28-30). Afterward,

the king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD-- to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book. Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their fathers, (2Chronicles 34:31-32, NIV)

According to Jeremiah 11:1-8 the prophet exhorted the people to keep the covenant. Then Josiah led the people in completely destroying all the idols and false prophets of the land (2Kings 23:4-20). Afterwards, he led the people in observing the Passover feast.

The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem (2Chroncicles 35:18, NIV).

While King Josiah lived the people served the LORD, but Jeremiah the prophet of the LORD proclaimed that their obedience was all in pretense (Jeremiah 3:6-10), for as soon as Josiah died they returned to their idolatry and evil practices. Unfortunately, the suspended judgment would be re-instituted; we will soon see this in future Bible studies. They would forget about the discovery of the hidden treasure to which obedience would give them God's favor. Have we forgotten the hidden treasure within us? That treasure is Jesus Christ. We must proclaim him, for if we do not, succeeding generations will also fall away from him.

Lessons to live by:

  • God’s Word is a treasure revealing his mercy and grace.
  • God wants to bless us for obedience in every way, but if we persist in disobedience he will punish us. He wants us to return to him.
  • We cannot and must not presume upon God’s mercy and grace.
  • If we want God’s mercy and grace
    • we must humble ourselves and with contrition confess our sins (more...)
    • we must commit (pledge) ourselves to live righteously to please him
    • we must get rid of our idols and serve him only
    • we must worship God in truth, not pretense
    • in relation to others, we must not keep the treasure (Jesus Christ) to ourselves or hide it; we must share it so that others may experience his saving power and glory (2Corinthians 4:6-7)

Today’s Bible memory verse: Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (NIV)

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