Sometimes there is repentance, confession and real commitment followed by earnest prayer and enquiring of God and things don’t turn out the way you expect or perhaps answers are only partial or targeted. Yesterday we ended our Note where king Josiah found after having the Bible read to him that God’s anger was burning against the people of Judah because of the sin of their fore fathers and previous two kings. He needed a spiritual leader to “go to God and find out His intent for the nation”.
2Ki 22:13 “Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’S anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” Five spiritual leaders go as a delegation to see the prophetess named Huldah. 14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophetess Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the Second District.
Both Jewish rabbis and many Christian commentators have asked the question: “Why go to a female prophet when there were a number of important male prophets available?” The answers are many but none are conclusive. Maybe they thought a female would be gentle and gracious and not give an alarming report for the king. Huldah’s father-in-law was an important man. He was in charge of the priestly vestments so there seems to be orthodox religion here.
1) The devastating prophecy.
2Ki 22:15 She said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and provoked me to anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’
Read passages like Deuteronomy 27:9-26 & 28:15-68 and see the curses God pronounced through Moses including the threat of exile for disobedience. There are a few things to observe here:
(1) Whatever a prophet or prophetess said needed to be faithful to God’s Word. God speaks one message without contradiction. He is consistent in what He says. Should someone today appear saying they are a prophet declaring “Thus Saith the Lord” you need to ask … “Is this message faithful to and consistent with the Word of God?” … and if it is a direct message from the Bible, ask … “Why is God repeating what is already written in the Word?” You see, the Canon of Scripture is closed. This is why we no longer have or need prophets and apostles. Everything God has wanted to say He has said. Remember
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work … Together with … 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book
inform us that the Bible is complete.
(2) In staying true to the Bible, the preacher needs to tell it as it is. He must never water down the Word to make it more palatable to the hearers. He must never include “extras” the Bible does not speak about. Sadly many try to entertain congregants to woo them and their pockets, their attendance and what they can do to make the church or preacher look better. Far too many measure a church by numbers, property, money, music, singing, children, youth, young adult and seniors groups, the brand of coffee provided and how many jokes the preacher makes. I have found over more than 40 years that peaching through Bible Books, one after the other, a preacher does not need to look for what to preach or what to exclude. You don’t need to avoid challenging passages and you don’t need to search for “juicy” passages. To tell it as it is the preacher starts at chapter 1 verse 1 of a book and preaches until the last verse of the last chapter. Its then that the preacher preachers the way the apostle Paul did
Ac 20:27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
In this way the congregation receive “the good news, the bad news, the liked news and the un-liked news” and they cannot say to God they did not know!
(3) Judgment is inevitable when people defy God’s Word and chose to remain unrepentant. This is what the prophetess predicted and this is what other prophets predicted and it would come to pass. What God promises God does! This ought to be a wakeup call to the people of our day, yet as in Josiah’s day so in ours, hardened hearts seldom soften. The end result will be devastating. We will see how the revival takes off in a few verses time but for now … if we want God to send a spiritual revival we need to understand how fundament the Bible needs to be to believers, believing families and churches. Beloved, God will never permit a revival when a church, denomination, federation of church grouping promotes events or other gimmicks to draw people and grow the church. When this is done, the Word of God is lost as it was when Josiah became king. It’s then that alternatives to expositional preaching are sought. Pray that God gives His people and His Church a great love for the Bible, where they put the Bible in the superior place in their hearts and lives. Get this … you cannot separate God and His Word because His Word is His mind, His will, His intend … His message to both His people and a seriously lost world.
Dear Lord, forgive us for being foolish with Your Word. Kindly enable us to love Your Word. Help us to set apart sufficient time each day to meditate on Your Word because we ask in Jesus name. Amen.