Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Friday, September 13, 2013

28 Stories - Study 1: The Law Finds a King


Fundamental: The Word of God 


Bible Story
The pillar stood, as it had for more than 300 years, supporting the marbled splendor of Solomon’s Temple. The people, from the least to the greatest, crowded as close as they could. They leaned in to hear the words that would be spoken by the regal man standing next to the pillar—their King. Only the most serious proclamations included both an open invitation to the Temple and a public declaration of the King.
Josiah, King of God’s people for the past 18 years, reverently unrolled the scroll that had radically changed his heart in the last few days—the scroll that would provide the defining direction of his reign as God’s King. Considering his words carefully, he peered over the top of the parchment and spoke to his gathered subjects: “Today, I bring to you, in this ancient and holy place, ancient and holy words; words found in this very temple just days ago, words lost in this temple many ages ago; words, we as a people, have failed to heed for generation upon generation. I hold in my hands, the Book of the Law.”
A collective gasp was followed by murmuring from person to person as the identity of the scroll was made clear. Josiah’s steady voice regained control of the pillared colonnade, “Our High Priest Hilkiah, while cleaning out the Temple of God, found this Word of the Lord, and thus has provided to us an ancient transcript of God’s Character. It is a most precious, most beautiful and most challenging Word. I have torn my robes. I have wept long and hard over this scroll. I have consulted Huldah, God’s Prophetess. I have been convicted by her words: this scroll must be heeded. God’s Word must be obeyed. It is now my intention to read it—every word of it—to you, so that you too might be challenged as I have been challenged.”
The King’s eyes, weary from much weeping, lowered to the top of the unfurled scroll. The courtyard of Solomon’s Temple was quieter than seemed possible for the number of people filling it’s bounds. Each man, woman and child leaned forward to hear the Book of the Law as spoken by their king.
An hour later the pinnacle of silent anticipation had tumbled chaotically into cries of sorrow and repentance. The eyes of Israel now mirrored those of their King. The Book of the Law had provided for God’s people a clear statement of who God wished for them to be. A picture had been painted of the people to whom God promised to fully reveal Himself and with whom He promised to make His eternal dwelling. And the picture was drastically different from who they were when they looked around themselves and within themselves. They were not God’s people. And yet they were. And how deeply they wished to be.
The ripples created when the Book of the Law first reached the eyes and ears of King Josiah now became a wave of action and reaction that took the cleaning of the Temple to the very borders of Israel. Idols were destroyed. False worship was eradicated. The Temple of the Lord was purified of anything relating to pagan deities. Priests of Pagan gods were put to death. Every high and holy place used in false worship was desecrated with human bones. Then, only when the land was free of all impurity of false worship, King Josiah ordered, “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” And they did.

My Reflection
Imagine you are one of the people in the crowd listening to King Josiah as he reads the rediscovered Law of God. What would you be feeling?

How would you react to his command to change the entire worship culture of your country?

My Story
Take some time to think of a time when you found something you had lost long ago. Or perhaps you found something that was from before your time - something from your family history.

How did the discovery affect you? What did you do with the discovered item? Did it have any long lasting impact on your life? Write the story below.

My Assurance
These verses speak of the impact God’s Word can have on our lives. Read them and then write a response in the space below. God invites you to rely on His Word. What promises does He make?

John 17:17 ~ Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth.

Psalms 119:105 ~ Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

2 Timothy 3:16, 17 ~ All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

My Commitment
These verses challenge us to use the Bible carefully and live it with integrity.  God expects those who rely on His Word to respect them. What does this mean? How are you challenged by these verses?

Proverbs 30:5, 6 ~ Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.

Isaiah 8:20 ~ “Check their predictions against my testimony,” says the Lord. “If their predictions are different from mine, it is because there is no light or truth in them.

Hebrews 4:12 ~ For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.

My Outlook
These verses help us see the Bible through God’s eyes. Not only is the Bible holy, but the words spoken on God’s behalf by those who love Him are holy. How does this make you feel about the Bible? What does this mean about the words you say about God and the Bible?

2 Peter 1:20, 21 ~ Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 ~ And we will never stop thanking God that when we preached his message to you, you didn’t think of the words we spoke as being just our own. You accepted what we said as the very word of God–which, of course, it was. And this word continues to work in you who believe.

My Response
The following statement is the 1st of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Review the doctrine and then write a personal response. What difference does this make to your life?

The Word of God
The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to people the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.

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Bible Story
The story at the beginning of this lesson is based on 2 Kings 21, 22 and 23. An intriguing story that demonstrates the importance of Josiah to the Jewish people can be found in 1 Kings 13.