FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair (v.11).
Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But the original thought may be traced to the philosopher George Santayana, who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s true; you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.
The story of King Josiah illustrates the importance of being rooted in our own story of faith. Being a devout believer in God (2 Kings 22:2), Josiah’s rediscovery of the Scriptures led to a national reformation. As his court secretary read from the newly found Book of the Law, Josiah “tore his clothes in despair,” realizing the extent of his people’s disobedience to it (vv.8-13). They had departed so far from the law that the Passover commemorating the very act of deliverance which established Israel as a nation, had not been celebrated for many years. Josiah ordered that it be celebrated again. And “there had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings” (23:22).
From that point forward, Josiah spent his life combating idolatry by destroying altars and holy sites to false gods (2 Kings 23:4-19). So great was his zeal it is written that “never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since” (v.25).
Hearing afresh the foundations of God’s law ignited a fire within Josiah that defined his rule. So too, as we study our roots and identity in the story of Scripture, may His Spirit illuminate where we’ve been and guide us as we go. —Remi Oyedele
Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 to see God’s exhortation for Israel to obey His commands and follow Him in love.
How well do you retain and apply the lessons learned from reading Scripture? What steps can you take to help you remember what God has instructed?