Then Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book." And Shaphan read it before the king. Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Michaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, 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 aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us." --- 2 Kings 22:10-13
It happened a long time ago and the vast majority of U.S. citizens would say quickly that this incident has absolutely no meaning for us today -- it is ancient history and we should let it rest in the dust of antiquity!
For any who are at least a bit curious, here is what was going on -- the ancient Israelite kingdom of Judah had been ruled for a long time by a king who had influenced the people to engage in a lot of wicked activity -- all the way from sacrificing their young children to heathen idols to the practicing of witchcraft and other ungodly practices! For some strange reason his young son, Josiah, did not follow in his footsteps. It is said that young Josiah wanted to serve God and be obedient in all aspects of his life. The center of worship of the true God had fallen into a state of disrepair due to widespread acceptance of the worship of false gods over the years in which Josiah's father, Manasseh, had ruled.
In the process of repairing the temple the book of the Law of God was discovered. Upon examination it was determined that the king should be informed As it was read the young king tore his royal robes as a sign of grief and remorse. As you read about his reaction above, it did not take long for him to come to an accurate assessment of their situation -- they were in big trouble due to massive disobedience to God and were on the brink of experiencing the outpouring of His wrath in judgment!
Should the president of the United States tear his expensive suit as a visible sign of sorrow as did a king centuries ago? To say the least, it would be interesting to see how the media folks would handle that!
But he would never do it, much less admit as did young Josiah that we are in a heap of trouble regarding our relationship to the God Who in mercy raised this nation up beginning two and one third centuries ago!
Reasons why he and a majority of this country's citizens (including elected officials, church leaders, and other powerful people in high places) would never react as did king Josiah many centuries ago:
- no serious time or thought is given to the issue -- one just doesn't think about how God is viewing this nation and world -- main reference to God is quite limited to an expression, "God Bless America!" So long as we say that from time to time, we continue in a deceived state of mind believing that all is well within the boundaries of the 50 states that make up this republic!
- we must maintain a kind of silence when it comes to mentioning anything related to God in the public arena, because there are many differing beliefs plus the skeptics and the atheists and we should not "offend" them by talking about God!
- we don't talk about such things because in government circles, God is considered to be a "trespasser" due to a deadly and mistaken concept of "separation of church and state!"
- or we have bought into a highly unbalanced concept of God -- God is a God of love and He would never do anything nasty to anybody at any time!
Will there ever come a concern about what is happening to the extent that God may be mentioned, and that He may be using events and circumstances as a type of "wake-up call" -- that powerful and influential people considered to be "movers and shakers" in our culture will actually confess that God is doing some things that demand our repentance, individually and collectively, and the need to seek His mercy and forgiveness as a nation?
It is highly unlikely -- if anything is said, it will be in the form of a question -- "Why is God doing these terrible things to us?" This, by the way, was the topic of a post a bit earlier -- you can view it at "How Long Before The Big Question Is Asked?"
In the meantime a very small number will be seeking to be among those who "stand in the gap" as mentioned in Ezekiel 22!
So, don't listen for the sound of fabric ripping at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC any time soon! And it is highly unlikely that the new occupant of the Oval Office come January 2009 will engage in such action either, whoever he or she may be! The prevailing attitude will continue as it has for a long time -- just pass legislation, stimulate the economy, fight wars, dig the hole deeper in terms of public debt, murder over a million unborn children each year, and we'll still come OK! Yea, sure!!!
"I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, 'I will not hear.' This has been your manner from your youth, that you did not obey My voice." --- Jeremiah 22:21