How Do You Lose the Book?

It’s easy to lose things—even important things. “Where are my keys?” “Have you seen my wallet?” “Can you call my cell? I can’t find the blasted thing!” Yes; it is easy to lose things. We identify. But how do you lose the most important thing?

Josiah was just eight years old when he became king of Judah (2 Kings 22). Like his great-grandfather Hezekiah, he would be a good and godly king. But his great-grandfather had been dead nearly 60 years. After him came Grandpa Manasseh and then Josiah’s father, Amon—both who were “evil in the eyes of the Lord” (21:2 and 21:20).

Eighteen years into his reign, King Josiah orders some work to be done on the temple; apparently after two negligent kings, the place needed a face-lift. It really must have been a mess, however. In the midst of the work, the high priest notifies the king’s secretary that we “found the Book” (v. 8). What book? O, just the “Book of the Law” (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). A book whose content documented such things as the creation and the fall; and pages and pages of instruction how sinful man was to worship a Holy God. So in other words, it’s not like they had lost the phone book—they had lost the Book!

How did that happen? First of all, it’s not like there were multiple copies or that people had their own they could read at home. It’s comparable to our government losing the Constitution—the real one. When you lose something of that magnitude, you look for it. If you don’t look for it, it must not be that important. And that was the state of the “church” when Josiah took the throne. The Book not only had been gone for 60 years, apparently they forgot it was even missing!

There are multiple Bibles in every church in America. Figuratively speaking, does it need to be found? More than likely there are multiple Bibles in every believing home in America. Figuratively speaking, does it need to be found?

A couple Sundays a month, someone forgets their Bible at church. I catch myself wondering when it might be missed. Will it be missed at all?

After the Book is found; Josiah reads it and then he “tore his robes” (v. 11). Why? He knew they were in trouble. He was right. They had failed their covenantal responsibilities and God says, “I’m going to bring disaster on this place and its people” (v. 16). Josiah understands the danger and leads a national spiritual renewal: “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength in accordance with all the Law of Moses [the Book] (2 Kings 23:25).

Too much damage had been done, however, over those neglectful 60 years. God saying in the very next verse: “Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of His fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke Him to anger” (v. 26). And the ramifications were huge: “I will reject Jerusalem,” God says (v. 27). The king who lost the Book all those years ago was singled out. But all the people paid.

It’s rather important, then, to not lose the Book in the first place. You not only may forget it’s lost; it may be too late even when it’s found.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
June 2, 2011

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