Josiah, who became king of Judah in about 640 B.C. was the last of the good kings. He was the great grandson of Hezekiah, the best, and the grandson of Manasseh, the worst.
Josiah’s dad, Amon, reigned for only two years and followed in the footsteps of Manasseh. Amon “did what was evil in the Lord’s sight... He abandoned the Lord God of his ancestors and did not walk in the ways of the Lord” (2 Kings 21:20–22, CSB). He would have served longer, but members of the palace staff murdered him, and crowned eight-year-old Josiah as king.
The child-king “did what was right in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left” (2 Chronicles 34:2, CSB).
In the eighteenth year of his administration, the high priest made a stunning discovery. In the temple, the high priest found a scroll, “the book of the law” (2 Kings 22:8). “So the king... went to the Lord’s temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets—all the people from the youngest to the oldest. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord’s temple. Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the Lord’s presence to follow the Lord and to keep his commands, his decrees, and his statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book...” (2 Kings 23:1-3, CSB).
God spoke! Josiah and the people of Judah listened, repented, and obediently followed the Lord’s direction.
So... What part of the “Book of the Law” was found? What Scriptures did God use to transform the nation? I wonder if they found the last seven chapters of Deuteronomy. Written by Moses in the days before his death, they are a roadmap for the nation of Israel. They were relevant during the conquest of Israel, they were relevant for Judah, 600 years before Christ, so they must have meaning for us today!
“Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all his commands I am giving you today... The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he swore to you... Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you bear the Lord’s name, and they will stand in awe of you. The Lord will make you prosper abundantly... But if you do not obey the Lordyour God by carefully following all his commands and statutes I am giving you today ... The Lord will send against you curses, confusion, and rebuke in everything you do until you are destroyed and quickly perish... The Lord will make pestilence cling to you... The Lord will afflict you with wasting disease, fever, inflammation, burning heat, drought, blight...” (Deuteronomy 28:1–22, CSB).
“See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. For I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the Lord your God may bless you... But if your heart turns away and you do not listen and you are led astray to bow in worship to other gods and serve them, I tell you today that you will certainly perish... I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the Lord your God, obey him, and remain faithful to him...” (Deuteronomy 30:15–20, CSB).
The Bible isn’t lost in the temple... we just need to pick it and read it! Once upon a time, God transformed a nation... He’s ready to do it again!