30 Days in the Bible, Day 16: 2 Chronicles 34:14-21
The story in today’s passage doesn’t end where we left off. The king’s representatives went to the prophetess Huldah to ask what the Lord had to say about the situation Israel was in. She confirmed what they already suspected- Israel was about to face judgment for abandoning Him and following other gods. Their neglect of God’s Word had brought them to a place where they didn’t even care what the Lord had to say about their worship, their conduct, and their society.
However, Huldah added that this would not happen while Josiah was king. Since he had responded to the Word with humility and sorrow, the judgment would not fall while he ruled. The Lord honored Josiah’s response, which reflected Josiah’s understanding of who God is and what Israel had done to offend Him.
Given this reprieve, Josiah didn’t sit back and relax, knowing he was off the hook. Rather, he gathered all the leaders and the people of Israel, and read the Book of the Law to them. He renewed his commitment to follow the Word of God, and had the people do the same. The chapter ends with these words: “As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors.” (verse 33b)
I’d like to say the story had a happy ending, but it didn’t. Josiah was the last godly king of Judah. Less than 25 years after his death, Babylon came in and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The promise of the people had been short-lived, and the judgment the Lord had pronounced through Huldah was carried out.
While we don’t stand in the same situation as the nation of Israel, I think we can learn some lessons from their story. In the devotional guide today we looked at the necessity of staying in the Word on a consistent basis so we know what the Lord asks of us. We cannot possibly do what is pleasing and right in His sight if we don’t go to His revealed Word to find what that is.
We also see from Josiah’s experience that when we have sinned and strayed from God’s path, there is forgiveness available as we repent and turn back to the Lord. Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross, and the New Testament tells us that if we confess our sin we will be forgiven through His blood. The Scriptures not only reveal God to us, but reveal ourselves to us. As we see areas in which we have not followed our Lord, we can turn back to Him and restore our fellowship.
Finally, we see that making one promise isn’t enough. We have to live out our commitment to Christ on a daily basis. Being a follower of Jesus Christ isn’t about a single moment of our life, no matter how powerful that moment might be. It is taking up our cross daily and following Him, spending time in the Word and prayer, and living out what we see revealed to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Christianity is a daily building of our relationship with our Savior as we seek to become like Him in everything. We must continue to hear from God through His Word to build this relationship and draw closer to Him.