Explore The Bible Study: God Moves

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According to the Smithsonian Magazine, in 2018 something called the hunger stones was unearthed because of a severe drought in Europe. These “hunger stones” did more than simply document drought. They lamented the difficult conditions accompanying a drought. When something like this is discovered, how do people respond? The Explore the Bible Study: God Moves, will reveal how people responded when the Word of God was "unearthed" while cleaning out the temple of God during King Josiah's reign.

When you examine what happened during the reign of Josiah in 2 Kings 22:1-20, perhaps it will cause you to long for God’s Word to be revealed once again in such a way that it brings about a revival in our land. Perhaps it will remind you that we should never ignore God’s Word, but we should obey His Word. When we do, God’s Spirit will move with power!

God’s Word is to be read not hidden – 2 Kings 22:8-10

When Josiah became king of Judah, he initiated significant spiritual reform. An account of this is found in 2 Kings 22:1-7 and 2 Chronicles 34:1-7. His reforms included commissioning work to repair the temple. During the temple repairs, Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law in the temple. Josiah was in his eighteenth year as king and was twenty-six years old when this took place. Interpreters disagree on exactly what the book of the law describes. But 2 Chronicles 34:14 states that Hilkiah found “the book of the law of the Lord written by the hand of Moses,” which seems to point to Genesis through Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 31:24-26 records that Moses had committed the words of the law to the priests before he died and encouraged them to keep a copy of it in God’s holy dwelling place.

Apparently, God’s written Word had fallen out of use by the time Josiah became king. Even after eighteen years as king, the Words of God were still hidden away. When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he realized the significance of the book and knew Josiah needed to learn of the scroll’s existence as quickly as possible.

When Shaphan reported to Josiah on the temple repair project, he shared two very important facts. First, the silver was used to take care of those who were overseeing the repairs of the temple. 

Second, the Word of God was taken directly to Josiah. Josiah naturally would have been eager to learn of this discovery, and at his request, Shaphan read it in the presence of the king. He shared the words of God that apparently had remained hidden from the people for some time.

Why would you say it is important to read God’s Word? 

Why motivates someone to ignore God’s Word?

God’s Word is greater than silver—a monetary value can’t be placed on it. Nor is it to be put on display as a historical relic of the past. It is to be read and to be used to remind the people of God about the work of God.

If one truly hears God’s Word, it will be evident in the response – 2 Kings 22:11-13

King Josiah was broken and convicted by what he heard in God’s Word. Tearing his clothes indicates that he mourned, was humbled, and was in deep distress by what he heard. When Josiah heard the actual words of God from the scroll, he realized how far he and the people had strayed and the consequences of continued disobedience.

Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. God’s Word penetrated Josiah’s heart and revealed the sinfulness of the people. He couldn’t just ignore God’s Word; he had to act on it.

When was the last time God spoke to you through His Word? How did you respond? Who will share how God spoke to you through His word?

When one truly hears God’s Word he will be compelled to respond.  Simply affirming we believe God’s Word is not sufficient; we should demonstrate our faith through obeying His commands. If a man said, “I believe in my doctor,” but never took his doctor’s advice, people would know he didn’t really believe his doctor. Likewise, God has given us His Word for our good, and our obedience testifies that we believe it. As we are reminded in James 1:22, we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We have been deceived if we think just hearing God’s Word is enough.

Not only did the Word of God pierce his heart, but he knew he needed to know more so he could help others. He realized his own responsibility toward sin, but God revealed to Him the sinfulness of the people. He asked others to help him inquire of the Lord, denoting a careful seeking out of God’s specific direction on a matter. Because Josiah feared for his nation’s future, he asked Hilkiah to inquire of the Lord on behalf of God’s people by going to a prophetess in Jerusalem named Huldah.

The Explore the Bible Daily Discipleship Guide asks this question: Who do you approach when you need to understand a warning or other directive from the Bible (DDG, p. 114)? 

Have you ever considered that seeking to know and understand God's Word more is so that you can help others?

So, Josiah’s response to God’s word prompted these actions: (1) Brokenness and repentance because of sin; (2) Further inquiry so he could help others. Let’s see how the prophetess Huldah helped Josiah in verses 14-20. 

Knowing God’s Word helps us face an uncertain future – 2 Kings 22:14-20 

Huldah told Josiah God’s judgment was coming on Judah for the people’s persistent sin. Huldah announced God’s wrath would not only be kindled but would become a consuming fire. Josiah had worked hard to turn the nation back to God. His grandfather Manasseh’s wickedness had sent Judah into a downward spiritual spiral (2 Kings 21:1-18; Jeremiah 15:4). The prophet Jeremiah, who was a contemporary of Josiah, also promised Jerusalem’s ruin, though he did prophesy that hope remained if the people fully turned back to God (Jeremiah 17:24-26).

Yet, Huldah also affirmed that God would not bring Jerusalem down in Josiah’s day. Josiah would be gathered to his ancestors in the grave before judgment came upon the people. He would be gathered to his grave in peace. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom, which denotes completeness. Josiah would finish his life and would be buried before Jerusalem’s destruction came. God mercifully would extend the kingdom beyond Josiah’s days so Josiah would not suffer by seeing his people defeated and exiled.

God's Word and You

The Explore the Bible leader commentary reminds us that God is true to His Word, extending grace and exacting judgment. God was gracious and compassionate toward His people, but He would not tolerate their sin forever. After Josiah, four more kings of Judah reigned, all of whom did evil in God’s sight (2 Kings 23:36-37; 24:8-9,18-19). Under Zedekiah, Judah’s last king, Jerusalem fell, and the people were taken into exile (2 Kings 25:3-21). Josiah did not witness the disaster that fell on God’s people, but his successors did.

God still moves today. The Bible assures us we can count on all God’s promises through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Jesus affirmed that He came that we might have life in abundance (John 10:10). The Bible also affirms the necessity of knowing Jesus, lest we die in our sins (John 8:24). The consistent testimony of Scripture is that genuine repentance and humility move God’s heart. God’s Spirit also moves with power when His people obey His Word, because their obedience demonstrates the depth of their faith. 

Consider how you can help someone read, study, and obey God’s Word?

Evaluate your interaction with God’s Word over the past few weeks. What adjustments might you need to make so that spending time in His Word produces true life change?

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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