Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it…. Then Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. (2 Kings 22:8, 10)
2 Kings 22 starts the story of Josiah, one of better kings of Judah. In his time there was a wonderful repentance and revival in Jerusalem and all of Judah. These verses show us that it started when they found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.
It’s sad to think that they ever lost God’s word – that it has to be found. According to Deuteronomy 31:24-27, there was to be a copy of this Book of the Law beside the ark of the covenant, beginning in the days of Moses. The word of God was with Israel, but it was greatly neglected in those days.
It was so neglected that 2 Kings 22:8 has to tell us, he read it: It seems remarkable that this was even worthy of mention – that the high priest found the word of God and a scribe read it. That was news worth writing about!
Better yet, Shaphan read it before the king. We see that the word of God spread. It had been forgotten and regarded as nothing more than an old, dusty book. Now it was found, read, and spread. We should expect some measure of spiritual revival and renewal to follow.
Through the history of God’s people, whenever the word of God is recovered and spread, spiritual revival follows. It can begin as simply as it did in the days of Josiah, with one man finding and reading and believing and spreading the Book.
Another example of this in history is seen in the story of Peter Waldo and his followers, sometimes known as Waldenses. Waldo was a rich merchant living in the 12th century who gave up his business to radically follow Jesus. He hired two priests to translate the New Testament into the common language and using this, he began to teach others. He taught in the streets or wherever he could find someone to listen.
Many common people came to hear him and started to radically follow Jesus Christ. He taught them the text of the New Testament in the common language and was rebuked by church officials for doing so. He ignored the rebuke and continued to teach, eventually sending his followers out two by two into villages and marketplaces, to teach and explain the scriptures.
The scriptures were memorized by the Waldenses, and it was not unusual for their ministers to memorize the entire New Testament and large sections of the Old Testament. The word of God – when found, read, believed, and spread – has this kind of transforming power. Read it and believe it today!