THE POWER OF ONE: ONE REPENTANT SINNER Second Kings 22: 3-20; Second Chronicles 34: 8-28

New Book: Discerning Spirits: Visionary Gifts in Practice (May 2013) Kindle, Nook, Soft Cover / Amazon.

It's hard to imagine that a people would be so far removed from God that they would forget His word. Today we see a lack of reverence for scripture; and for many who claim Christianity as a system of belief and a personal identity, we see that too many are woefully ignorant of what the Bible has to say.  

We have a parallel for this in the Old Testament. Judah has already been invaded and Jeremiah the Prophet is predicting the invasion and destruction of Jerusalem. "Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin! Flee from Jerusalem! Sound the alarm in Tekoa! Send up a signal at
Beth-hakkerem! Warn everyone that a powerful army is coming from the north to destroy this nation" (Jeremiah 6: 1).

At any moment the option exists to turn and repent; to seek intimacy with God, first individually and then corporately. Effective prayer must first begin with a time of personal repentance. In the absence of repentance consequences will grow ever more significant and prayer will be blocked.
During the time we're about to read of, we see that the religious leaders became a toxic, self serving parody of what they were originally called to be. Some of you have been called to be modern day prophets, holding your religious leaders and peers to a standard of preaching / teaching the truths of scripture.

In 2nd Kings 22: 3-20 we read that the religious authorities no longer proclaimed Jehovah God. They forgot the miracles and marvelous history of God setting them aside as a "people unto Himself." God has preserved this record for many reasons; one being to make us aware that we today are vulnerable to these same mistakes and failures. In the story of Old Testament people and governments we see ourselves and our leaders. Leaders in this account have bowed to the pressures of political expediency. They condoned (and today some condone by silence) the growing practice of sorcery, divination, and witchcraft; not condemning the actions of the people in consulting with mediums and psychics, facilitating evil; blind to the cries of the helpless; abandoning widows and orphans. In cowardly capitulation; not being salt and light; "neither cold nor hot" Revelation 3: 14-22.

We read that the Israelites were given over to commit more evil than the pagan nations around them. At the end of this process of rejecting God, being called back to God, only to forsake Him again, the religious leaders, for the most part, have not only failed to proclaim the truth, but the truth is not in them. Jeremiah calls this shocking.
"A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land - the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. And worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes!" (Jeremiah 5: 30, 31) Read the scripture passages I quote in context for, "the rest of the story," and even richer detail. 

Then... something remarkable happens. And these events are a startling reminder of just how far, on the eve of destruction, the Hebrew people are removed from the power, purity, spiritual and healing components of God's "living" Word.

King Josiah who reigned between 641-609 BC turned his attention to The Temple. We know that he was ignorant of his peoples miraculous, dynamic history. For the first eighteen years of his reign he disregarded the many prophetic warnings of coming invasion. When he turns his attention to The Temple of the Living God, deciding to make repairs and restoring at least the form of a previous order, it's business as usual. He has raised money from the people and sends his court secretary, Shaphan, to the High Priest, Hilkiah, with the necessary funds (2nd Chronicles 34: 8-11) and they restored what the earlier kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin.

The Temple is the house that King David envisioned for the Lord. King David's son Solomon actually built The Temple, which was the crowning achievement of his reign. The Temple is the center of worship where sacrifice is made calling people to repent; being restored to God. We see that The Temple no longer has the use and regard of the people. It has fallen into shameful disrepair, an image of how Jehovah God, is no longer the single vestige of worship in the hearts and minds of His people. We also read that The Temple was further desecrated, allowing various objects to be used in the worship of pagan gods.

Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and leading priests and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord's Temple all the utensils that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and the forces of heaven. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel (2nd Kings 23: 4). In quoting this verse I'm getting ahead of the story because King Josiah did not take these actions until after he had actually read and been convicted by God's word. But, in reading this passage, we see how far the people have removed themselves from God. How they have utterly forgotten their identity and have thus defiled themselves and separated themselves from Jehovah God so that the coming judgement is an inevitable consequence of such corrupting behavior.
We also see that things, set aside in the practice of satanically centered activity, are corrupted and, for the unwary, can even be dangerous. Sometimes these corrupted "things" find their way into our lives. In direct proportion to a growing ignorance of God's word we see the increasing prevalence of unwary people being impacted. Jude said: ...and on some have mercy mixed with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh (Jude1: 23b). 

I address this in my NEW book, WOODS END, a fictional account of people trapped by and escaping these associations.

When we pray and perform a cleansing of place where evil spirits are active, we always find such items. Just as the Old Testament instructs by example, under the covering of prayer, these items must be burned and buried. Teenage drug addicts may ignorantly bring home such items. To what, by intention or omission, do we imagine a crack pipe is dedicated? In all areas of bondage, which restrains autonomy, Satan is actively invested. Failing to deal with these issues, ignoring the spiritual toxicity of such paraphernalia; further strengthened by behavioral commitments, results in Christ centered solutions being postponed. We become, "part of the problem," which then results in satanically influenced confusion. When we procrastinate; putting off decisions we know our faith demands, we should know that repentance and intercessory prayer is needed. More about this later. Read my first case study; Blog of September 26, 2009 / The Mirror...
So... back to The Temple and King Josiah. Carpenters, builders, masons are hired and converge on The Temple. The Levitt's are enlisted to oversee the work and the High Priest is put in charge of managing the funds. 2nd Kings 22: 3-20; 2nd Chronicles 34: 8-28.

Have you ever made renovations to your home while still living there? There is a hubbub of activity. Items you need are displaced and you may actually have to dig around to find whatever that one thing is that you need at the moment. This is the picture I have of Hilkiah, the High Priest. He's digging around in this displaced chaos, making room for himself so that he can actually work; recording the financial details of the renovation and he: found the book of the law as it had been given through Moses. Please read: 2nd Chronicles 34: 14, 15. How easy it is to miss the significance of this discovery. By the very accessibility of God's word being read and processed, internalized and honored, there is a flood of insight. Darkness is cowered and flees from THE LIGHT. Hope reigns. Territory, previously claimed by Satan, will now be taken back by the victorious forces of heaven through the catalyst of a people returning to the root of a living faith in Jehovah God (Jesus Christ). As we say, PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

Read John 1: 1-5; Revelation 19: 13-16. And... Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119: 105). For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4: 12).

Hilkiah has found something that was so very lost that no one missed it. What's more, this scroll is of crucial and timely importance, providing an awareness that has the power to convict and draw a people back to God. This will force the religious elite, who have disparaged the true and actual prophets to the king and the people, to confront that horrendous failure. To admit they were wrong and accept public humiliation. They must choose whether they will or will not, suffer conviction as they reevaluate the warnings and predictions delivered in the previous generation by Isaiah and Amos, and now by Jeremiah and Huddah, and very soon, as the last prophetic voice before the coming destruction and captivity, Zephaniah.
If he read the scroll, and I think he did, to his credit Hilkiah, the high priest, decided to let the chips fall where they may. He didn't conceal what he had found. He evidenced a burgeoning fear of God; an awareness of past failures, the first steps to restoration.

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, "I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord's Temple! Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan and he read it (2nd Kings 22: 8).

So here we see that Hilkiah has found the scroll and given it to Shaphan. Shaphan reads the scroll which I imagine is part of his job as court secretary. The next decision Shaphan makes is significant. Under conviction of sin he becomes aware of how far the Hebrew people are removed from God's favor; how horribly the societal decline of morality has impacted their current status as sitting ducks awaiting a horrible judgment. Many Christians don't study scripture because they don't want to read that they are wrong. They forget the loving restoration that is ours for the asking. Read: Psalm 51.

Shaphan then makes a bold move. "Shaphan also said to the king, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll." Then he read it to the king (2nd Kings 22: 10). Also 2nd Chronicles 34: 16-18. I love that Shaphan didn't bury the scroll under a stack of other scrolls. He didn't toss it into the kings lap, so to speak, and run for his life. He didn't temper the word of God. He didn't try to explain it or give in to a satanic temptation to mitigate. With simplicity and grace Shaphan, "read it to the king," letting the truth be the truth; salt and light; allowing God to use him whatever consequences might follow.

We note that the High Priest, the one person in the land who is charged with the spiritual health of a people, and has the actual authority to speak to the king about such things, does not come along. He didn't say to Shaphan, "make me an appointment with the king as soon as possible. This discovery informs our future as a nation and can't wait." No, the high priest passed the buck and we can guess that hiding behind his robe of office, while avoiding confrontation was probably a pattern. As we consider this we are all the more grateful for Shaphan.

We cannot have God on our terms. He is, Who He is. The Great, I AM! Either we will humble ourselves and turn from sin; or a loving God will bring consequences that wake us up to our need for restoration. And even then, the choice is ours. Why? Because love cannot be forced. Love is a gift we must willingly receive. (Ephesians 2: 8, 9.)When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair (2nd Kings 22: 11).

King Josiah tells the priests in the temple to pray. He grieves the profound and awesome lack of understanding; of not having sought God for himself and his people. This particular king has seen Judah destroyed for the same sins that he, himself, encouraged. He now takes very seriously those predictions of coming invasion and destruction regarding Jerusalem. Read Jeremiah chapters 5, 6. What the king and the priests dismissed as doom and gloom nonsense they now feel the weight of; taking Jeremiah and the other prophets very seriously indeed.

A woman prophet is then sought out. The King has sent the priests to pray and find an answer. Read 2nd Kings 22: 11-17. We must wonder if these men fear bringing the king more bad news. Did they select this particular prophetess; a woman as a likely scape-goat should the king reject what is conveyed? Perhaps too they think, as a woman, Huddah the prophetess will be more likely to tell them what they want to hear. You can clearly see that I'm reading into the text and this is what I love about scripture. The word of God inspires us to intellectual curiosity and we wish we knew more. I look forward to meeting these people in heaven and hearing all the details I can now only guess at.

Huddah was a wife. A relative of her husband was the keeper of the kings wardrobe so the priests, as well as the king, may have been aware of her calling and ministry. Given the political climate it is likely that they would have previously dismissed Huddah as a religious extremist; maybe even a little "touched." Now they seek her opinion as a woman in the mold of Deborah. If they thought she could be cowered into tempering her message, overly impressed at their visit to her home, they are mistaken. The Holy Spirit of God will speak through His servant. She will be the "caustic agent for change" compelled by the very Spirit of Jehovah God to proclaim a timely and urgent truth. A shout of praise for Huddah!!!

"She said to them, "The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go and tell the man who sent you, "This is what the Lord says: I will destroy this city and its people , just as I stated in the scroll you read. For my people have abandoned me and worshiped pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger is burning against this place, and it will not get quenched" (2nd Kings 22: 15-17).

Then the prophetess shares something truly remarkable. Here we see how much God values and responds to our prayers. To those genuine, repentant, heartfelt cries. We see the lengths that God will go for us during these times. Though He is under no obligation, our Savior will temper His judgement for the sake of that one man, that one woman, that one child who humbles their heart, seeking forgiveness, rescue, and restoration for themselves as well as others. And here too we see the value of prayer as a powerful force to reverse the circumstances, consequences, and outcomes of sin. Huddah tells the priests to go back to the King and report to him. King Josiah is the man who sent them. He is the man who, as the repentant sinner, prostrate before the throne of grace, seeks forgiveness for himself and for those he has been charged with leading. Now King Josiah also seeks confirmation of God's will as many of us have done at those fateful junctures of trial and despair, when all looks bleak and dark, when loved ones suffer, when fierce storms threaten to obliterate our health and joy.

You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people, that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore you clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. So I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. I will not send the promised disaster against this city until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this place. So they took her message back to the king (2nd Kings 22: 19, 20).

I'm always disappointed when I hear modern day high priests... religious leaders, abandon the weight of Old Testament truth which points repeatedly to this correlation between sin and consequences; both personal and corporate, the micro and the macro. When Haiti was devastated by an earthquake the media was up in arms over the politically incorrect statements by some that the practice of voodoo; the permeating impact of corruption, the wasteful indulgence of a government, had nothing to do with what happened. I was disappointed when Mike Huckabee back stepped a cowardly appeasement on national television. New Orleans, famous for raunchy indulgences, corporately accepted and encouraged under the banner of tourism, was hit by Katrina. In the aftermath of the storm massive corruption and a lack of almost criminal preparedness and leadership was revealed. Do we consider at all that a storm like Katrina may be an intentional instrument of consequence? A loud and clear statement of kingship; that Jesus Christ as Lord of the universe should be reverenced and honored, and that sinful practices which undermine health and well being ought to be abandoned. And so it was politically incorrect to suggest that a sovereign God, jealous and protective of his creation (as He describes Himself), may have sent Katrina as a necessary consequence. Really?

EVERYTHING is fully known by God. The forces of nature are His to command. Read Nahum 1: 2-15; just one passage among many that makes this abundantly clear. Political correctness, as an excuse, is right up there with, "the dog ate my homework," and "...the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." What part of our journey experience tells us that life and time is a random confluence of happenstance? To think so is to deny a God who knows it all.

There is one important truth to be recognized here. If you know God, if He is Lord of your life, you alone can be the single catalyst, called by God to bring about the start of reprieve, goodness, rescue, redemption, reversal, postponement. Pray God's promises back to Him. Pour out your heart to Jesus Christ, and know the foundations of what we, as Christians, are called to be. Why?
Because: All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2nd Timothy 3: 16, 17).
And... Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep my commandments (John 14: 13-15).
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