We have a few old coins that might or might not be worth anything. The Brazil, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana coins we know are worthless. The British, German, Canada and American coins, if they have not changed since its issue will be worth a few Rand. In sorting out the coins last night I was interested in what was on the front and the back of the coins … on the face and the flipside. As we return to the prophetess Huldah and what she says from God to the delegation from king Josiah, we saw …
1) The devastating prophecy in 2 Kings 22:15-17. Now we come to the flip side of the prophecy.
2) The blessed prophecy.
2Ki 22:18 “Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.”
God has this wonderful way of giving bad news and good news. There is always the one side and then the flipside. It’s like the most well-known verse in the Bible:
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
In this text we have the good news and the bad news. There is always a flip side.
(1) The bad news for the people of Judah who will not repent would be devastating.
(2) As with all Biblical prophecies, they are from God. This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard. If we understand anything about the Bible it needs to be that the Bible is a prophetic Word from God cover to cover, directed at the entire human race and especially the Family of God.
(3) God sees the heart.
2Ki 22:19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste.
The king heard the bad news about his kingdom and its people. Any leader who feels for his people and their present and eternal wellbeing will be devastated to hear what Josiah heard. We need to get the thread running through much of the Old Testament. Apart from the coming Messiah (dominant theme) is the Jealous Love of God. He is clear in His Words through the human authors of Scripture … idolatry is a rejection of God as King and the ultimate result will be devastating. Exile will become a reality. You see, exile is banishment from God. God’s earthly residence was the temple … exile was to another far off country. The New Testament counterpart to this is John 3:16. King Josiah heard the Word of God read to him. He understood it. It convicted him so severely that he responded to the Word. Individuals and congregations need to understand that without the Word influencing the heart there will be not personal renewal nor congregational revival. I would like to believe that the way the Word of God was read to the king included expression, proper punctuation and tone. The king was captivated. Beloved, both the Bible and expositional preaching ought to grab our hearts like it did the king.
(4) God knows the attitude.
2Ki 22:19 and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence. This was an act of repentance.
He was so shocked spiritually that he demonstrated real repentance! He tore his clothing and he wept! The heart’s response was one of genuine humility and little-ness before the God who speaks and promises action for both good and bad behavior … holy and evil treatment of His Holy Name and Being. From personal experience I must say that the most precious, refreshing and healing experience is genuine repentance and weeping at the Foot of the Cross. But note that this cannot be switched on and off when in need. This is a heart action that affects the attitude before a Three Times Holy God.
(5) God hears.
2Ki 22:19 I have heard you, declares the LORD.
We are not given a prayer … but repentance and weeping is just that … prayer. Look at three verses from Romans (Read the whole passage if possible)
Ro 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Ro 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
In verse 23, 26-27 we find the same attitude in weakness that king Josiah experienced. Repentance and weeping are understood and interpreted by the Holy Spirit and presented to our Father. It is wonderful that our Heavenly Parent knows our hearts better than we do. He understands us so well, what we can’t express, He knows!
(6) God blesses genuine repentance and faith.
2Ki 22:20 Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place
Being gathered to the fathers, being buried in peace and not seeing the coming disaster (exile) means God will bless the king, protecting him from seeing this disaster and He will, because of the king, protect the people during the king’s life time. They will not experience the exile whilst the king is living. It’s phenomenal how God protects the lost for the benefit of the saved. Consider this carefully
1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.
Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. We can already see the preparation for a spiritual revival already.
Lord, thank You for the amazing way You work. Keep us in step with the Spirit. Amen.