Wednesday, April 26, 2023

2023.04.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 22

Read 2 Kings 22

Questions from the Scripture text: Who was what age, when he became what (2 Kings 22:1)? How long did he reign? Who was his mother? What did he do (2 Kings 22:2)? In Whose sight? In what ways did he walk? What didn’t he do? In what year of his reign does he send whom, where (2 Kings 22:3)? To whom does he send a message to count what (2 Kings 22:4)? To do what with the money (2 Kings 22:5)? And what are these overseer workmen to do with it (verse 5)? To which workmen, specifically (2 Kings 22:6)? What does he say needn’t be done and why (2 Kings 22:7)? What happens as a result of this work (2 Kings 22:8)? Whom does Hilkiah tell and give it? What does Shaphan the scribe do with it (2 Kings 22:10-11)? To whom does Josiah give instruction in 2 Kings 22:12? To go to Whom and do what (2 Kings 22:13)? For what three parties to inquire? What has he discovered is great? Against whom? On account of what? To whom do the inquirers go (2 Kings 22:14)? In behalf of Whom does she speak (2 Kings 22:15)? To whom? What is the first and main response (2 Kings 22:16)? Why will God bring this calamity (2 Kings 22:17)? To whom does God address a personal word (2 Kings 22:18)? What has God seen about him, through what action (2 Kings 22:19)? What has Yahweh already done? And what will Yahweh do for Josiah in response to hearing him (2 Kings 22:20)? 

How can revival come, and what may it look like? 2 Kings 22 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that revival may begin in smaller mercies, as the Lord brings the response of the life by the moving of the heart. 

The influence of a godly grandpa, 2 Kings 22:1–7. Josiah was 8 when he became king (2 Kings 22:1), which means that he was 6 when grandpa Manasseh died (cf. 2 Kings 21:18–19). For those six years, he would have known the man of 2 Chronicles 33:12–17 as his grandfather. And though father Amon would have been 16 at Josiah’s birth and set in his ways, grandfather Manasseh in full repentance mode can be expected to have done much of the upbringing of Josiah with a keen interest in his soul. 

As Daniel and his friends would soon demonstrate in Babylon (cf. Daniel 1, Daniel 3, Daniel 6:10, Daniel 9:21), such an upbringing can (by God’s grace!) have a profound and lasting spiritual effect. For two years after grandpa Manasseh died, Josiah lived under the wicked reign of his 22–24 year old father (cf. 2 Kings 21:19–23). 

God’s praise of Josiah’s character and reign is already glowing in 2 Kings 22:2 (and will be even more glowing in 2 Kings 23:25). When he’s 24 (2 Kings 22:3-7, cf. 2 Kings 12:4–15), he adds renovation of the temple itself to his reforms—something that grandpa had not accomplished (cf. 2 Chronicles 33:15–17). 

How one reform leads to another2 Kings 22:8-13. The Lord has already shown Josiah great grace. The Lord gave Josiah a grandfather whose experience of sin and of repentance was poured into his own life. The Lord gave Josiah to follow and grow in his grandfather’s ways rather than his father’s. And now the Lord adds at least four more glorious gifts of grace to these others. 

First, He gives the recovery/discovery of the book of the law (2 Kings 22:82 Kings 22:10a). 

Then, God gives Josiah to hear the Word read (verse 10b). 

Then, God gives Josiah to respond to that Word from the heart (2 Kings 22:11). 

Finally, the Lord gives to Josiah to look for hope in the very God Whose character is declared in the Law.

In a similar way, prayer for revival and reformation of worship are often blessed by God as He answers those prayers through His powerful Word, with which He has filled biblical worship. What we must seek from Him is the grace to respond not merely with the curiosity and responsibility of a Hilkiah or Shaphan, but with the broken-hearted, torn-clothed seeking of God’s face Himself. It was His Spirit Who gave this response to Josiah. It is the same Spirit to Whom we look for the same response in us.

The timeline of answered prayer for reformation2 Kings 22:14-20. The Lord’s answer to Josiah is that because Josiah heard the Lord with a tender heart (2 Kings 22:19a), He will also hear Josiah (verse 19b). He reminds us that the nation is beyond the point of no return (2 Kings 22:16-17, cf. 2 Kings 21:12–15). What Josiah had heard in the Word (2 Kings 22:13) was true. 

We saw in 2 Kings 21:17–26 how Manasseh’s late repentance couldn’t undo the damage done to the nation, but now we see that there is mercy for households in repenting parents and mercy for individuals in their own repentance. The Lord will spare Josiah in mercy (2 Kings 22:20). But a big part of that answer had come already through Josiah’s reforms and Josiah’s tender-heartedness. The Lord had been doing this work that would answer Josiah’s prayer for decades before he was brought to pray it! Indeed, the prayer itself was part of the answer.

Whom would you hope to affect in godliness, if the Lord were to give you a great reformation of life? What parts of the reviving work (reformation of worship, hearing the Word, movement of heart, earnest prayer) that He did in Josiah have you seen in your own life? How can you get what remains?

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for the amazing difference that You used Manasseh’s repentance to make in Josiah’s life. Forgive us for not seeking our own repentance more, or seeking the spiritual good that might come by it to others. Forgive us for lacking Josiah’s zeal to reform worship or his tenderheartedness at Your Word. Grant that Your Spirit would continue to strive with us and bring revival to our lives and to Your church in our day. Make us urgent in prayer, and answer it in Your grace, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH178 “We Have Not Known Thee as We Ought”

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