2 Kings 22:8-13 KJV And Hilkiah the high priest said unto 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.  And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD.  And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.  And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.  And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,  Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
I. INTRODUCTION—CALLED TO REITERATE AND REINFORCE
A. Reiterate and Reinforce
-One of the callings that a pastor has to this generation is a call to reiterate the old values and to reinforce the disciplines that the church needs to be committed to. But with this calling to reiterate and reinforce comes the challenge to say old things in a new way so as to continue to encourage and inspire the church.
-What I shall preach is something that is not new with me or to you. I have preached on this theme before and will do it again in the future. There is something about the power of the Word that makes me want to continue to return to it again and again.
B. William Tyndale
-William Tyndale is often referred to as the father of the English Bible. He was responsible for translating the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek texts into English for all to read it. He actually became a criminal for this act. He spent most of his life fleeing from the officers of the Church of England.
-In 1524 he fled from England to Germany. In Wittenberg he spent years translating the Scriptures before slipping to Worms where he printed the Bible into English. From there it was smuggled back into England. He dedicated his entire life to this monumental task of translating the Scriptures into English.
-In his defiance of the prominent clergymen in England, he once said, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.” He did just that! Before too long many of the people in the small towns and communities of England and Europe had a copy of the Bible in their hands.
-Despite his efforts to flee, the religious authorities finally caught up to him and put him in prison. He was betrayed by Henry Phillips, an English spy, who befriended him before turning him in to the religious leaders. A band of men took him to Brussels and imprisoned him in a dark castle of Vilvorde, where he would live for a little over a year and a half in horrible conditions.
-Prior to his execution, he sent a letter to the king:
“Wherefore I beg of your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me from the goods of mine which he has a warmer cap, for I suffer greatly from the cold in the head and am afflicted by a perpetual catarrh (cough), which is much increased in this cell. A warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin. A piece of cloth, too, to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out. My shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have with him also leggings of thicker cloth to put on above. He also has warmer night caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening. It is indeed a wearisome to sit alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be with the commissary that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. In return may you obtain that which you most desire so only that it be for the salvation of your soul. But if any other decision has been taken concerning me to be carried out before winter, I will be patient. Abiding the will of God to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose Spirit I pray may ever direct your heart. Amen. William Tyndale.”
-On the morning of October 6, 1536, Tyndale was taken to the stake, strangled and burned. His last words, reportedly by John Foxe were, “Oh Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” His prayers were answered three years later when King Henry VIII published the English “Great Bible.” Furthermore, one hundred years after his death, 90% of the King James Version was from his translation.
-I trust that you will have a greater love for the Word of God by hearing about these kinds of things. The Bible you hold in your hand cost much more than what you paid for it at a Christian book store. The Bible you hold in your hands literally cost the life of some great men in history.
II. THE SETTING OF 2 KINGS 22
-Now we come to our text in 2 Kings 22.
A. A Grim Picture of Spiritual and Moral Debauchery
-This passage picks up at a critical juncture in the history of Judah. Josiah who was one of the few godly kings that would serve begins to create spiritual reform in the land. His grandfather, Manasseh, had been one of the most abominable kings who ever ruled the nation.
-Manasseh had been guilty been guilty of blasphemy by practicing idolatry and imitating the ways of the people that God had driven out of the Promised Land (2 Kings 21:1-5, 7-9). He had set up pagan altars and idols in the Temple of God.
-Just as he had been a blasphemer, Manasseh had been a butcher by sacrificing the children on the altars of Molech. One of his most chilling acts is recorded in 2 Kings 21:6.
2 Kings 21:6 KJV And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
-He killed his own son to appease the idolatrous gods of this world. He sought out the dark world of enchantments, familiar spirits, and wizards instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Seek what you will but there are no substitutes for godly, apostolic power in the house of God.
-The judgment of God came upon Manasseh in such a way that is chilling:
2 Kings 21:13-16 KJV And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.  And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies;  Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.  Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
-Following him was Amon who was Josiah’s father. Amon did the same thing that his daddy did:
2 Kings 21:21-22 KJV And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:  And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD.
-Amon was assassinated by his own servants.
B. Josiah, A Godly King
-You would think that a child born into this atmosphere would have been doomed to the same destruction of his grandfather and father. But it was not to be! Somehow by the grace of God, Josiah “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Kings 22:2).
-His very first commitment was to the work of God and he ordered that the Temple would have to be repaired. There was so much junk that had accumulated in the Temple and Josiah made a determination that he was going to set things in order.
-You may think that this was something that started overnight. But in 2 Chronicles 34:3-7 we note that it was something that had started in him when he was 16 years old. When he was 20, he came out literally on fire!
-To do the work that he wanted to do was going to cost some money and some effort. So he told his secretary, Shaphan, to go to Hilkiah, the high priest, to take the freewill offerings of the people and use it to began to make repairs to the Temple.
-Josiah knew the Temple was in such bad condition that it would require carpenters, builders, and masons to get the job done. Timber was going to have to be purchased and marble stones were going to have to be secured.
-Then Josiah gathered up his workers and went on an absolute tirade:
• He began to purge Jerusalem and Judah.
• He jerked down the Asherah poles and smashed them.
• He tossed out the carved idols and the icons.
• He destroyed the altars of Baal.
• He cut to pieces the incense altars and scattered them over the graves of those who had served them in positions as priests of worship.
• He dug up the bones of the wicked, wayward priests and burned them on their idolatrous altars.
• He turned some of the idols into powder.
-Josiah was like a mad-man and he even extended his revival to the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and as far away as Naphtali. That is what happens when a king gets on fire, revival extends beyond where it started. I believe the same thing can happen in this generation. Let a revival get started with us and it will extend! If ever we needed a revival, it is now!
-Josiah instituted the most thorough of all the Old Testament reforms and restored the commitment of the people back to God’s Book. Their commitment to God’s Word did some things for them:
• It kept their hope alive during the exile—Daniel 9:2.
• It kept them working during the restoration—Ezra 7:10; Mal. 4:4.
• It kept them reading it during the 400 silent years until John the Baptist appeared on the scene—Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6.
-The grace of God drew Josiah to a place so he could engineer a great revival in the land.
C. The Great Work of Hilkiah
-Sadly the Temple had gotten into such a place of neglect and disrepair that the Book had gotten lost among the trash. Apparently the priests had long since quit reading the sacred Law of God to those who came to worship.
• Altars to false gods had prevailed.
• Idols had trumped the power of the Word.
• False priests had tossed it aside.
• God had gotten “booed” right out of the picture.
-Those same conditions that prevailed in Josiah’s day have gotten into our day. The Word has gotten lost in the modern “Temple” of God. I am very troubled at what I see passing for preaching in our day.
-The Scriptures have gotten lost when we have needed them more than ever before. If we aren’t careful the Pentecostal movement is going to fall into the trap of letting preaching turn into a form of entertainment. It will be superficial. It will taste great and be less filling. It will be Gospel Lite that does little good.
• It has gotten lost at the altar of consumerism.
• It has gotten lost among the idols of religious celebrity.
• It has gotten lost among the junk of personal experience.
• It has gotten lost among the crooked priests of worldliness.
• It has gotten lost in the icons of comfort and ease.
• It has gotten lost at the worship of choice.
• It has gotten lost in the throes of sensuality and sex.
• It has gotten lost with the attitudes of individualism.
-Yet there is an even more alarming thought that I need to bring before you. The Scriptures can get lost from even the most ardent of disciples.
• The Word can sink out of our lives because of our indifference to it.
• The Word can get lost among all of the religious books and literature that we have available to us.
• The Word can disappear amidst our acquaintance with the Scriptures from our youth. We may assume we know Scripture but really don’t.
• The Word can be replaced by the words of preaching. We depend on a pastor but never dig into it for the sake of our own soul.
• The Word can be neglected because we only find that we spend time with our doctrinal views and stances.
-All of these so-called good things can cause us to lose sight of the Scriptures. We have to read it consistently, individually, introspectively, and completely!
-In the midst of the reform and the clean-up, Hilkiah found the Scriptures.
2 Kings 22:10-13 KJV And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.  And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.  And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,  Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
-Hilkiah was a preacher and along with a godly king, this man played a crucial role in a national revival because he wasn’t fearful to preach the Word. Because Hilkiah gave himself to the task of setting wrong things right, he would not have found the Book in its dark hidden place. Because he was doing what was right, he found the answer.
III. THE RESULTS OF THE WORD
-There are some results that the Word brings to our lives.
A. It Brings About Great Repentance
v. 11 . . . when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
-False religion was put away and suddenly there was a mighty revival that was ushered back in because the king, the ministry, and the people turned back to the Book.
-All of the sudden the hard hitting truth struck their heart in such a way that they realized their need for God as never before.
-They repented because they suddenly realized that the Temple and all of its ministries, its services, and its programs had become vain. They repented because they knew that God had become absent in all of their comings and goings.
-The basis for any real, true, and lasting reform is always founded in the Word of God! Paul said that the first function of the Law was to help man to see his sinful state:
Romans 7:7-8 KJV What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
-Any man who is willing to let the Word show him the condition of his soul and what God thinks of it will be drawn toward repentance.
B. It Brings About a Great Hunger to Hear the Words of the Lord
v. 13 . . . Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me. . .
-Josiah cried out to the spiritual leaders. . . Go ye, enquire of the Lord for me. . .
-Even though the truth can be hard-hitting there was a mercy of God that found its way into the soul of those who were hungry for it.
• Do you want the mercy of God? Seek for it in His Word!
• Do you desire the love of God? Seek for it in His Word!
• Are you longing to know the plan of God for your life? Seek for it in His Word!
-Revival brings out a desire for us to hear the Word of the Lord. . .
• Jehoshaphat cries out. . . Bring me a real prophet so we can enquire of the Lord! (2 Kings 3:11)
• Saul died because he did not enquire of the Lord! (1 Chron. 10:13-14)
• The secret of the Lord comes to those who enquire of Him! (Ps. 25:14)
• The Lord directs the paths of those who enquire of Him! (Prov. 3:5)
• Zedekiah asked for Jeremiah to enquire of the Lord for him! (Jer. 21:1-2; 37:17)
-There ought to be a great hunger to hear the Word of the Lord both in our own private times of devotion and when we come to hear the preaching of the Word. My opinions don’t matter and aren’t worth anything but a church out to have a deep desire to hear the Words of the Lord!
C. It Brings About A Great Awakening to Get Involved
v. 13 . . . for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
-The Word of the Lord always brings a great awakening to get involved. The Bible mentions all kinds of workers who were involved in the reformation and revival of the nation. God’s Word has the ability to inspire all of us to get involved in something productive to advance the cause of the Kingdom.
-We find in 2 Chronicles 35 that the Passover was celebrated in Jerusalem after he reforms had taken place. But the Passover required involvement because of the sacrifice. Josiah gave 30,000 lambs and goats and 3,000 bulls. His officials gave 7,600 lambs and goats and 800 bulls.
-The priests made the sacrifices and then the people enjoyed the Passover (35:10-15). To that day there had never been a Passover like that one since the days of Samuel.
-The involvement was caused by the Word being restored! Our generation has to get involved with the Word!
IV. CONCLUSION—WE HAVE NO EXCUSE NOT TO READ THE BIBLE
-I recently heard Pastor Johnny Godair tell this story when he was preaching:
Sometime ago, a man was terribly injured in an explosion. The explosion was so bad that it disfigured the man’s face and he was blinded by it. In addition to that he also lost both of his hands. Apparently he had not been in the church very long and one of his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible.
After a while had passed, he heard of a woman in England who could read Braille with her lips. That sparked an idea for him and he decided he would try to do the same thing. So he ordered some Bibles in Braille and set out on the task to do it himself. The problem that he soon discovered as that what was left of his lips had lost their nerve endings and he could not “feel” the Braille with his lips.
In great discouragement he was about to give up when one day his tongue happened to feel the raised letters of the Braille. In that moment he began to learn how to read the Bible with his tongue. The first time it took him a year and a half to do it but as time passed on he got better at it. Before too long, he had read the Bible through four times with his tongue.
-I have no excuse not to read my Bible!
September 7, 2012