The Lost Word

The Lost Word

“When the king heard the words of the book of the Law, he tore his clothes.” 2 Kings 22:11

When I was seven years old, my family moved from an apartment to our first house. For me, it was the first time since my brother was born that I would have my own room, and I was thrilled. My grandpa Carl was a carpenter (amongst other things) and helped make my new room amazing. He built me a bed that had big drawers underneath it and an awesome bookshelf that was quickly filled with books.

Some of those books were classics. Others were definitely books my parents picked out! There was one book, however, that never left the shelf… was never read… and was perpetually covered with dust. It was, of course, the obligatory family bible. Everyone I knew had one in their home, and I can’t recall ever seeing one without dust on it.

Ancient Israel had the same problem. Almost from the beginning, they kept forgetting what God had said; eventually it got written down and put into books. The problem is, those books were opened less and less, until they were just some dusty old tomes stuck on a shelf in an obscure corner of the temple.

In Second Kings, King Josiah makes a decree that the temple in Jerusalem should be repaired. In the process, the priest Hilkiah found that dusty old book of the law on that obscure shelf in the temple, and he did something no one had done in a long time: he opened it and started to read. As Hilkiah read those words, he began to lament and repent for the shortsightedness of the people.

Hilkiah passed the book on to a servant of King Josiah, who in turn shared it with the king, and understanding entered into the mind of the king. Israel had spent a lot of time in war and exile; they seemed to be a kingdom in perpetual turmoil. Now the king knew why: the people had turned away from the God who loved and protected them. But that first reading, that first opening of the book, was their first step back from the darkness and into the light.

The Word of God is powerful, but that power can only be used when the Word is read. If the bible is sitting on a shelf collecting dust, it is no different than any other collection of ink and paper. But when you open it and read it, you invite God’s presence, God’s power and wisdom, into your life, and that’s when everything begins to change, not just in your own life, but in the life of the world.

Shaking off the dust,
Pastor Mike

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