The Words of God
If you look through today’s reading from 2 Kings 22-23, you’ll find a simple term keeps cropping up – “words.”
For instance, in verse 11 of chapter 22, we learn of Josiah,
Deuteronomy is about the importance of listening and obeying the word of God
That was Josiah’s reaction after the Book of the Law was found in the temple, specifically a scroll of the book of Deuteronomy.
Why did Josiah tear his clothes when he read the book? The next two occurrences of “words” explain. Josiah said,
Deuteronomy is about the importance of listening and obeying the word of God, and Judah had failed to do it. Then, at the end of Deuteronomy, in chapter 28, the curses are outlined.
Verses 16 and 18 also reference “the words” of the book, and then again in chapter 23 verses 2, 3 and 24. The significance of the term comes from the name of the book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible – Devarim. That is the Hebrew for “words” and forms the first word of the book, “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness.” (Deut. 1:1).
Josiah let the book of Deuteronomy and its words motivate him throughout his life. The two divine summaries of his life both come from there. In 2 Kings 22:2, we’re told,
Those words come straight out of Deuteronomy 17 in the passage about the kings of Israel of whom the chapter says, “he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law” (v18). That was so “he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left” (v20).
Then, in 2 Kings 23:25, we read of Josiah,
Josiah becomes, for us, a very simple yet profound example of somebody who listened to the words of God, let them sink in, and motivate him into action. In the first chapter of Deuteronomy, we learn that the generation who came out of Egypt didn’t listen to the words of God. The end of the chapter says,
Contrast that with Josiah,
He didn’t just hear the words; he did something about it. So the passage continues,
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