Bible reading for Nov 9.
2 Kings 22.
"When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes." (2 Kings 22:11)
JOSIAH AND THE POWER OF THE WORD. Another bright spot in Judah's history is King Josiah. When we read of kings beginning their reign as children (v 1) we should understand that this took place under the tutelage of the high priest (e.g., 2 Kgs 11:1-3; 12:2), royal family, the elders of Judah, or sometimes a co-regency. Josiah's first reform was to repair the temple and to begin purification of the place of worship. A scroll is discovered, perhaps the scroll of Deuteronomy, which is then read. Josiah and his fellow leaders realize the seriousness of their sin. For many years the reading of the Law (the Torah) had been neglected (cf Deut 17:19), but now God's words are heard, and their power and truthfulness are felt. (Read Nehemiah 8:8-12 for a similar event.) The Lord shows mercy to Josiah for his humble and believing response to the Scripture.
REFLECT. True conversions in the Bible bring a consciousness of the seriousness of sin (John 16:8-11). Feeling the weight of our sin is not by itself the good news of salvation -- that is given to us in Jesus Christ, to be welcomed by faith. Repentance, however, is an important component of saving faith. When Peter saw the miracle that Jesus wrought, following Peter's own begrudging obedience, he fell down at Jesus' knees, and said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). On the day of Pentecost when the crowd heard of their role in the crucifixion of Jesus, it says "they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'" (Acts 2:37) Have you given thanks to God for the grace that he has given you to know your desperate need before him? Can you say with John Newton... "'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear / And grace my fears relieved" (from "Amazing Grace")?
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
GREATER THAN JOSHUA. "Greater than... better than..." is a theme in Hebrews. Here Jesus is greater than the great Old Testament figure, Joshua. Joshua brought God's people victoriously into the promised land. Though their names have the same Hebrew root (meaning "the Lord is salvation"), Jesus rather than Joshua would lead his people into an eternal "rest" in the Lord of which the promised land is a foreshadowing. Israel's enjoyment of the peaceful rest of the promised land, a kind of Sabbath, was only partial and transient. In Christ we have found rest in his completed work of salvation, just like God's completed work at creation. We cease our rebellious works, and rest in his goodness. We cease from self-justifying works, and rest in the work of Christ alone. And after passing through the wilderness of this world we will rest in God's presence forever. And so it is true, "that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days" (Luke 1:74-75).
REFLECT. Like our OT reading today, we are told that God's word is living and active, and that it deals with us on a very deep level. God's word not only exposes me to the truth of God, but it also exposes me to myself (vv 12-13; cf James 1:23-25). Seeing my true condition before God, however, might bring despair if it were not for our victorious, compassionate Priest, who sits upon a throne of grace: "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (v 16). Knowledge of our sin and guilt and helplessness is not the good news, but it's the bad news which prepares us for the really Good News, which is Jesus.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.