Finding the Lost Book Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: Finding the Lost Book
Text: Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 22:8)
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 22 (NCV)
Josiah was one of the good kings of Judah and during his reign, a great discovery was made. Hilkiah, who was the high priest during the time when the temple was being rebuilt, announced to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 22:8) From that simple statement comes one of the most interesting happenings in the Old Testament. Not only did this discovery have significance then, it has a message for now. Finding the lost book, or rediscovering the Bible, is an especially appropriate message for the beginning of a new year.
We can consider this great discovery in two ways.
1. Rediscovering the Bible historically.
2. Rediscovering the Bible presently.
But first, let’s read our Scriptures for today. I am going to leave out a few names and parts of some verses so that you can more easily follow the story.
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he ruled thirty-one years in Jerusalem…
2 Josiah did what the Lord said was right. He lived as his ancestor David had lived, and he did not stop doing what was right.
3 In Josiah’s eighteenth year as king, he sent Shaphan to the Temple of the Lord. Shaphan …was the royal secretary. Josiah said,
4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, and have him empty out the money the gatekeepers have gathered from the people. This is the money they have brought into the Temple of the Lord.
5 Have him give the money to the supervisors of the work on the Temple of the Lord. They must pay the workers who repair the Temple of the Lord—
6 the carpenters, builders, and bricklayers. Also, use the money to buy timber and cut stone to repair the Temple.
7 They do not need to report how they use the money given to them because they are working honestly.”
8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the royal secretary, “I’ve found the Book of the Teachings in the Temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it.
9 Then Shaphan the royal secretary went to the king and reported to Josiah, “Your officers have paid out the money that was in the Temple of the Lord. They have given it to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.”
10 Then Shaphan the royal secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from the book to the king.
11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Teachings, he tore his clothes to show how upset he was.
12 He gave orders to Hilkiah the priest,…Shaphan the royal secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant. These were the orders:
13 “Go and ask the Lord about the words in the book that was found. Ask for me, for all the people, and for all Judah. The Lord’s anger is burning against us because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book; they did not do all the things written for us to do.”
14 So Hilkiah the priest,… went to talk to Huldah the prophetess.
15 She said to them, “ Tell the man who sent you to me,
16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I will bring trouble to this place and to the people living here, as it is written in the book which the king of Judah has read.
17 The people of Judah have left me and have burned incense to other gods. They have made me angry by all that they have done. My anger burns against this place like a fire, and it will not be put out.’
18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to ask the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the words you heard:
19 When you heard my words against this place and its people, you became sorry for what you had done and humbled yourself before me. I said they would be cursed and would be destroyed. You tore your clothes to show how upset you were, and you cried in my presence. This is why I have heard you, says the Lord.
20 So I will let you die, and you will be buried in peace. You won’t see all the trouble I will bring to this place.’ ” So they took her message back to the king.
Heavenly Father, bless our Bible lesson by giving us understanding and by showing us the things that you want us to know. We know that you are the Father of all wisdom and that you can make us wise through your Word. Help us to rediscover your Word and to be more faithful in our study of it. And forgive us our sins. We ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.
Let’s begin our study by going back into the history of Israel to a time when it rediscovered a lost book. First, let’s consider what this time in history was like. Josiah was king and he was the grandson of Manasseh, one of the wicked kings of Judah. During the reign of Manasseh, the nation was flooded with idolatry and immorality. The worship of Baal was restored in a land that was filled with sorcerers, mediums, and star worshipers. Violence reigned and the temple of God was neglected. The King and the people had heard the prophet’s words, but they rebelled against the God of their fathers.
Then along came Josiah and when he was made king things began to get better. He was only eight years old when he was crowned King, and he reigned thirty-one years. He was righteous before the Lord, loyal to his heritage, and dedicated to God throughout his reign.
The influence of godly people prompted him to seek the Lord and to repair the temple. While this was happening the lost book was found. The book that Hilkiah the high priest found was called “the book of the law” and was either part or the entire book of Deuteronomy. It was God’s Word discovered anew! It had been lost for some time under a pile of stones in the temple or in one of the chambers, where it had remained unnoticed for years. Wherever it was, it is quite evident that the people of God had not been reading the Scriptures as they should have been. But the discovery brought a dynamic response from Josiah and brought change to Israel.