The challenges facing America today can best be understood by examining writings several thousand years old. God’s dealing with His chosen nation of Israel is the most relevant advice available to solve current problems. No contemporary wisdom can begin to match Biblical wisdom when it comes to achieving national success.
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning…” Romans 15:4
Most prophecy had near term applications and long term implications. God used His prophets to reveal in advance His plan to His people.
“I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done…Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.” Isaiah 45:9b-11
One of the greatest lessons for America today is found in the reign of Judah’s King Josiah. The following account addresses the consequences of forsaking God’s word; the certainty of God’s wrath on disobedience; and the wonders and accuracy of prophecy.
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 22:1, 3
The year was 640 BC. The northern ten tribes, i.e. Israel had been overrun by Assyria approximately 80 years earlier. Josiah was the last ‘good’ king of southern Judah before their deportation to Babylon which would occur about 35 years later.
Everything was going well and one day Josiah sent his scribe to the temple to meet with the high priest to take care of some financial matters.
“Now it came to pass, in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the scribe…to the house of the LORD, saying: ‘Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into the house of the LORD…’” 2 Kings 22:3-4
And while Shaphan the scribe was visiting with Hilkiah the high priest, Hilkiah presented to Shaphan an unexpected surprise.
“Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.” 2 Kings 22:8
Now the Book of the Law was the Pentateuch, i.e. the first five books of the Bible. It contained all of the law delivered through Moses 800 years earlier and included the Mosaic Covenant whereby all the Israelites had agreed to obey all of the law.
Shaphan the scribe returned to king Josiah and reported that the financial matter was handled as instructed.
“So Shaphan the scribe went to the king, bringing the king word, saying, ‘Your servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of those who do the work, who oversee the house of the LORD.’” 2 Kings 22:9
And secondarily Shaphan told king Josiah that Hilkiah had also given him a book.
“Then Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.’ And Shaphan read it before the king.” 2 Kings 22:10
King Josiah immediately recognized the significance of the Book and realized that he and his predecessors had flagrantly disobeyed God’s law. He then sent his envoy including Shaphan and Hilkiah to inquire of the prophetess Huldah of the consequences of their disobedience.
“Then she said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, tell the man who sent you to Me…Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants – all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read – because 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 shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched.’” 2 Kings 22:15-17
So the word of God had been hidden and gathering dust in the very house of worship for at least a generation.
The question can be asked, i.e. if the word of God is hidden, what is the benchmark by which a nation conducts its business?
To be continued.
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