The Lost Book  

11 Chron. 33-35

We talked about the Southern Kingdom of Judah turning back to God under the good King Hezekiah. After his death, however, wicked kings led them into idolatry again. Hezekiah's son Manasseh was one of the evil kings. He made a wooden image of Baal like King Ahab had done in Israel for Jezebel, along with an Asherah in God's holy temple. He also rebuilt the altars to the idols that his father had tom down, putting some of them in the temple courts. As if that were not enough, King Manasseh practiced witchcraft, worshipped the stars and moon in heaven and made his children pass through the fire. When he was older King Manasseh repented, but it was too late to save his people. God spoke through His prophets about the punishment that lay ahead for Judah, saying, "I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah that whoever hears of it: both his ears will tingle!" Manasseh was followed by another wicked king. After him the good King Josiah came to the throne. King Josiah did what was right in God's sight. While he was still young, he set out to make God's house clean and pure again. All the wooden idols were burned to ashes and all the stone idols were broken into pieces, then ground into powder. King Josiah even went up into the land of Israel to destroy idols there, too. One day while men worked on the temple, Hilkiah the high priest made an important discovery. There among all the rubbish he found the temple copy of the Book of the Law God gave Moses. Scrolls of God's law were scarce in those days--a copy was supposed to be kept in the temple at all times. The priests were to read it all the way through to the people every seven years. However, it seems this precious book had been lost for a long time--so long that probably many people didn't know what it said! Hilkiah the priest took the Book of the Law to Shaphan the scribe, saying, "I have found the book of the Law!" What do you think Shaphan the scribe thought? He must have been excited to 'think they had the temple copy again after so many years. Shaphan the scribe showed the book to King Josiah, saying, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book." Then Shaphan the scribe read the law to the king. When King Josiah heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes in alarm and wept. Probably he had never heard Moses' warning about his people turning away to idols!. Before his death, the famous prophet had declared, "The Lord will .... destroy you and bring you tc nothing; and you shall be plucked off the land which y p go to possess. Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other." It sounded just as if Moses were talking about the time of King Josiah and the wickedness of Israel and Judah! The frightened king sent men to ask a prophetess named Huldah what it all meant, saying, "For great is the wrath of the Cord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do all according to all that is written in this book." Huldah the prophetess said Moses WAS talking about their own time. Soon the Lord would bring all the curses written in the book on Judah, declaring, "They have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands. Therefore My wrath will be poured out on all this place and not be quenched." However, the Lord had seen King Josiah's tender heart and tears of sorrow for his people. Therefore none of these terrible things would happen in his lifetime-he would have peace the rest of His days. What a heavy burden for King Josiah! At once he gathered all the people together and read the book for them to hear. Then the good king led them in making a covenant to keep the words of the Lord.  

Talking it Over

1. You've probably heard people talking about "their" zodiac signs and checking "their" horoscope to see what might happen on a certain day. Talk about how astrology is a sinful way of depending on the sun, moon and stars for advice instead of the Bible.

2. Talk about how blessed we are to have the Bible-- yet often do not study it!

3. How did God use Huldab the prophetess in a special way? Like the woman judge Deborah, she seemed to keep herself in the background instead of. being a public figure like Isaiah and the other men who prophesied.