Advent Day 12 – Josiah and the Law

IMG_1445Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him. 2 Kings 23:25

Most Christian families have within their homes a Bible that is easily found within arm’s reach. They are there on the shelf, the coffee table or the night stand; some are displayed prominently for all to see. But if the truth be told, there are many Christian people who are more inclined to read books about the Bible rather than the Bible itself. Others prefer to engage a Bible paraphrase for their biblical reading. All too often, people are more likely to engage in debates concerning what the Bible says, rather than read it first hand for themselves. Sadly, as the Bible is found in so many places and made available in various translations, it is perhaps the least read book that is given to those for whom it speaks; the people of God.

Well after the reign of David and following the reign of his Son King Solomon, the Israelites were led by kings who drifted away from the covenant establish by God. The Feast of the Passover was no longer celebrated and the Book of the Law was not read and eventually lost. The temple became filled with idols. The people, including their kings, gave in to societal norms and engaged in worship of false gods. Absent of the Law, the people wandered away from the one true God of their ancestors, the God who delivered them from bondage. Finally, during the reign of Josiah, the Law of God was once again spoken to the people.

In a reformation of the temple, the book of God’s Law was found and brought to the King. Upon opening and reading its pages, Josiah realized the people of God had not obeyed the Law given to Moses so long ago. He ordered it to be read to the people, cleansed the temple of idols and brought renewal to a people lost in their sinful ways. Without the Law, the people of God could not recognize God or His promise to be with them always. Josiah, however, upon learning of his sin was faithful and penitent. He received God’s mercy and was spared the calamity of exile as God brought his wrath to the kingdom of Judah.

In order to live a life pleasing to God, His people must first know and understand what it means to live according to God’s Law. The words of Holy Scripture are both gift and guide which reveal to us God’s Living Word Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. As Christian people awaiting the coming again of our Savior and Lord, we read the Bible as both Law and Gospel. As sinner in need of redemption, we hear God’s expectations for us and we understand that as we fall short and repent, God bestows His mercy and grace through Christ who gave himself for us at the cross.

To live without God’s Law is to wander through our earthly life without benefit of knowing the limits of our humanity. Living without God’s Law leads to making idols of earthly things, giving into misplaced trust and replacing God as center of our existence with ourselves. Living without God’s Law written upon our hearts and minds closes our eyes to our sin and takes away our focus on the need for a Savior.

Come Lord Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s Law. Show us your mercy and grace and lead us along the path of righteous; for it is in your precious name we pray. Amen.

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