Thursday, October 15, 2020

Finding the Word of the Lord in the House of the Lord....and, Another Lesson from Coyotes


A couple weeks back as I was studying the habits of coyotes (previous blogpost linked here), I discovered another little tidbit I found interesting.

The coyote has always played a prominent role in Native American folklore, where he has been depicted as a "trickster," who uses deception to rebel against social conventions. In more recent years, in Anglo-American culture, the coyote is seen as cowardly and untrustworthy.

Me thinks the two actually may be two sides of the same coin.

Deceivers are often so, simply because they are cowardly (and need to go along with the crowd), and therefore, unable to be trusted.

Tuck that information away...I'll come back to it.


Last week, I mentioned that in researching Judah's history as Habakkuk was writing his little book, I was shocked to find that somewhere along the line, the Word of the Lord got lost in the Temple of the Lord! 

That fact caused no small amount of pondering (previous blogpost linked here).

I also mentioned in closing that I'd fill you in on what happened in response to the Word of the Lord as it was read before the King, and subsequently the people.  

So, here's the rest of the story:

Hilkiah, the high priest, said to Shaphan the secretary to the King, "I have found the Word of the Lord in the house of the Lord." 

So, Shaphan took the book to King Josiah (who is now all of 26 years old - remember he rose to power at age 8) and told him, "Hilkiah, the priest, has given me a book."

And, Josiah asked Shaphan to read the Word of the Lord to him.

I'll pick up the text in 2 Kings 22:11...

When the king heard the words of the Book, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah, the king's servant saying, "Go inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because we have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.

As the words were read to the King, his heart broke for the people of Judah.

The tearing of his clothes was an outward example of what was happening in Josiah's heart.

His sorrow and his repentance ran deep....

He knew all of Judah was in peril of destruction, for God's wrath burned against them.

He longed to right the wrongs.

To see his people "return to the Lord."

He wanted to know what he could do to fix what seemed unfixable. 

And, so he began a series of religious reforms.

He rid the country of the "high places" (altars of worship to other gods, but not Almighty God).

He removed all shrines.

He tore down monuments.

He rid the country of mediums and necromancers, household gods, and all abominations that were seen in the land of Judah.

More importantly, he reinstated the religious feasts, including the Passover, which had not been kept since the days of the judges who had ruled over Israel (approximately 400 years!!!).

The Scripture says this:

Did you see that last sentence? Read it again, if you didn't read it the first time.


With their mouths, they individually said, "Me, too!"

"I will keep God's commandments."

"I will follow in His ways."

"I will give Him my whole heart."

"I will follow after Him."

But, look at these words from the prophet Jeremiah (3:6-11). This is what REALLY happened: 

Then the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the King, "Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. I thought, 'After she has done all these things she will return to Me'; but she did not return, and her deceitful sister Judah saw it. 

And, I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, even though I had sent her away and gave her a writ of divorce, yet her deceitful sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.

Because of the lightness of her behavior, she polluted the land, and committed adultery with stones and trees. And...deceitful Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception," declares the Lord. 

"Faithless Israel has proven herself more righteous than deceitful Judah..."

As the Word was read to the people in the House of the Lord, Josiah covenanted with his whole heart to follow after God. 

Josiah's promises were proven with action!!!

True promises are.

But this was not so with the people of Judah - in spite of what their mouths declared, there was nothing but deception in their hearts.

They never meant what they said, and they never truly repented and returned to the Lord.

At least Israel was honest.

She never meant to obey; never said she would. She preferred her current lifestyle.

As a result, Israel was more "righteous" in the long run, than deceitful Judah.

"Faithless Israel has proven herself more righteous than deceitful Judah..."

Judah was nothing more than a pack of howling and yipping coyotes...





Tricksters rebelling against the spiritual social conventions King Josiah reinstated according to the Word of the Lord.

So, in spite of King Josiah's efforts, "still the Lord did not turn from the burning of His great wrath, by which His anger was kindled against Judah..." And the Lord said, "I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel... (2 Kings 23:26-27)"


So, where does this put the people of God today?

Once more I ask....

Are we more like coyotes?

Howling deceitfully?

Yipping in agreement outwardly, but not having a heart to match?

Saying one thing with our mouths, but never intending to follow through?

Not really giving serious attention to the Word of the Lord in the House of the Lord?

And, oh my...may we never make a promise we don't intend to keep - especially to the Lord!!!

I'd far rather be more like Josiah...who history records as being "one of a kind..."

....and, I'd rather be known for turning to the Lord with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my might...

...according to all the Word!

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