Ultimately, no matter what we do with our time, our dedication in life needs to be to God. But this does not happen without a challenge. I mean there are many things, good things, that would call us to set God aside in order to dedicate ourselves to something meaningful. There is tension to this for sure.
King Josiah, in the Old Testament, had in mind the things of God and He was relentless about accomplishing them. In such a stark contrast to the people around him, he lived a life dedicated to God. The key to it all was the Word of God. The Word of God is a constant in the changing landscape of culture. In the Old Testament times, idols come and go, feelings come and go, but God’s Word remains.
God’s Word never dies
“Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles 34:15
In the context of 2 Chronicles 34, the Law had been hidden in the temple. Was it intentional or was it oversight? We don’t know, but we do know is that it had been many years since the law was read and the results were obvious in the culture with idol worship. The Word of God had been hidden, but it had not perished.
Culturally speaking, we are not too different than Judah was at this time. The worship of stuff or self is popular and often appealing. The real challenge is to not bury God’s Word and set it aside or ignore it. The pressures of life, school, jobs, families make people sometimes set aside that which is most important, a relationship with the living God.
God’s Word must be read
It is one thing to recognize the importance of God’s Word, but it is entirely another thing to actually stop and read it.
Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king. – 2 Chronicles 34:18
In the story, after the Word is found it is read to Josiah. It would have done no good for them to possess it and treasure it like a prized possession, if they never opened it up to read it.
Josiah knows the importance of what they have and he listens to the Word of God read to Him. He realizes in verse 20 – “Great is the Lord’s anger poured out on us because our Fathers have not kept the Word of the Lord; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book.”
Oh, how much hardship and pain could be avoided, if people were to read and apply the Word of God before they were in trouble.
When I went to Minnesota to graduate with my Master Degree the beginning of May, I took my 5 year old with me. Well, if you have flown in your life, you know that they will go through the emergency procedures, teach you how to put a seat belt on and will ask you to pull out the card and follow along. How many people actually follow along or even pay attention during the announcements? Well, my son was the only one following along. The plane took off and he was still holding this card. Then it sort of dawned on him that maybe this was an instruction manual. So, he opens it up and points to the picture of the plane in the water with the slides out and says, “hey dad, is that how they fly the plane?” I said, “I sure hope not.”
Now, I assure you that if that was the way they were flying the plane people would pay attention during the emergency demonstrations. But, as we fly and it is routine, these things seem to be irrelevant until something goes wrong.
Much like our lives, the Bible gets set upon the shelf until a crisis. But, how much more prepared and effective would we be if we read the Bible and listened to the voice of God before the emergency?
God’s Word demands a Response
God’s Word, as living and active, will not just be read for content. It will demand that there be a response.
When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes. – 2 Chronicles 34:19
He was in mourning over what has happened. He was terrified because he knew that there was judgment to come. God is serious about His Word and they have forsaken him and worshipped other gods.
As we come up before the law of God, we realize that we have not done right by it. The proper response is humility and grief, which is authentic. There ought to be sorrow for our sins, just like Josiah felt here.
Josiah’s life was completely dedicated to God and he called others to the same.
We have been given His Word and now have the opportunity not to ignore the Word of God in our life, but to live it, to study it and apply it to your life. The world we all live in needs the Word of God.
What do you dedicate your life to?