Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage (2 Kings 22) transported me to Crestview Street at the home of my grandfather, Frank Greene. In 2009 my grandfather was diagnosed with an unspecified Dementia. The one major enjoyment he got out of life was watching movies and his television shows. Typically once a week he would either lose the remote or somehow manage to deprogram it to where it wouldn’t work. We had bought 2-3 of the same remote and had put the instructions in the top drawer in the kitchen for those times that he deprogrammed them. For some reason he thought that only I could reprogram it and he would not let anyone else touch it until I came over. I would come as soon as I could, go to the kitchen, get the instructions and reprogram it. “I knew you could do it.” He would always say. I was just pleased that’s all it took to make him proud and happy. One day however, I came to the rescue to find that the instructions were missing. Now, I wasn’t quite so smart. You would think I would have memorized them by them, but there was one or two steps I couldn’t remember. For him, he didn’t remember that there were instructions. He thought I just magically knew how to do it.
Young king Josiah did not know about a different instruction book. Known as the Book of the Law, it was the Book in which Moses had written down all the laws given to him by God. The Book was kept in the temple next to the ark of the covenant. By Josiah’s time though the temple was run down, never used. At least two generations of people had been worshiping idols and had forgotten God. Josiah’s grandfather and Father both “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Josiah was not even aware that the Book of the Law existed. He did realize that His father and grandfather were not men to pattern his life after. He had heard stories of his ancestor, David. He tried to pattern his life after what he knew of him. He “did right in God’s eyes.”
My Grandfather, Jesse Dotson, knew the Bible better than anyone I knew. I grew up in church, going to Sunday School and hearing the most popular stories of the Bible on a frequent basis. However, at age 33 I had still not read the bible straight through, from cover to cover. The year after my grandfather died I committed to do that. It was amazing what a fresh view I got when I was able to see the picture as a whole.
Josiah had heard stories of old. He had heard how his ancestor David lived. But he had not read the whole thing. Upon finding the Book of the Law when renovating the Temple, the secretary brings the Book to King Josiah and read it to him. Upon hearing it he tears his clothes, the symbol for extreme grief in those times. Josiah hears the book of the Law and realizes anew that the nation of Israel is corrupt and he immediately sends the high priest to inquire of the prophetess Huldah of God’s response to their rebellion. The news at first was not God. The rebellion of the nation deserved disaster. However listen to what follows: “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’” Vs. 19-20. What are the lessons to be gleaned from this? 1. Where is your instruction book? Without out it you’re not going to be able to fix the problem. 2. Read the instruction book. 3. Be responsive to the instruction. Former agnostic Ted Cooper decide one day that he would read the Bible through. He went to the book store. Picked an understandable translation in a thin line edition that would fit in his briefcase. He set out to read the Bible like a novel, deciding he would read it 12 pages at a time which would take 90 days. Half way into his reading he became a believer and has started a ministry called “Bible in 90 days.”Longs Chapel UMC, of which I am a member, began this journey 2 months ago. What a blessing it has been to again sit down with no other purpose but to read and absorb the words of my faith. To do it in 90 days is quite amazing and surprisingly easy. I challenge you to take the challenge. It will surely be a blessing. www.youversion.com has Bible reading plans including the Bible In 90 days plan. There are many versions including audio versions. And……there is an app for that. Have fun.
Kelly Dotson is the Founder of My Father’s Eyes Ministries, providing outreach to those who have felt orphaned or abandoned by the church. She is also a member of Longs Chapel United Methodist Church.