Candara – Saying that we need national repentance won’t do much good without laying out just exactly what that calls for. Fortunately for us, there are a few examples of repentence, of a city and of a nation. In The books known as 1 and 2 Kings, it lays out centuries of Israel’s and Judah’s rulers. Samuel warned the people what they were in for, but the people rejected the Judges that had watched over them and ultimately rejected God. He did, however, give them what they wanted. Saul lost his kingdom when he would not wait for the priest to make the sacrifice and he did it himself. David was chosen to lead next, followed after by his son Solomon. Even though David remained a man after God’s own heart, his sin plagued the throne of Israel. Eventually the country was divided and the kings began outdoing themselves in finding more and more not-so-creative ways to excel in sinfulness. The kings installed false gods and encouraged the worship thereof, leading the nation away from God. Eventually a man of God sent the message that a ruler would restore God’s people, but even he could not obey his instructions fully and he was killed.
That ruler was Josiah and he was eight years old when he was made king. He walked in the ways of his father David, I think too, he was a man after God’s own heart. (Only he didn’t do David’s sin.) When he was twenty-six, he had the secretary go to the temple, take the offering, and hire people to repair the temple. The priest told the secretary that he found a book of the law. The secretary returned to Josiah, reported on the status of the work, and read from the book in the presence of the king. The king tore his robes. (Now in our culture, bodybuilders often rip their shirts, but other than that there isn’t much tearing of robes, so I figured I’d take a closer look at just what that meant. When Josiah ripped his own robe, it was a physical expression of grief and it can also be an expression of righteous indignations. We might say ‘It tears me up [inside]’. The custom is also a symbolic removal of authority. So you see, actions can speak louder than words.)
Josiah sent several men to go and inquire of the lord about what is written in the book. So they went to speak to the prophetess Huldah. (That tells you something right there, things had gotten so bad that even the High Priest felt that he could not go to God, for he was one of the men sent to inquire of the Lord. They went to the prophetess Huldah. Remember that Jesus broke the barriers of race, gender, and social status – but God already appreciated this woman for standing out and following Him in a time where literally, everywhere you look was something dedicated to a false god. I think this goes to show that even then they recognized that they were too sinful to go to God, but they had heard of Huldah and she, a prophetess, could speak with Him on their behalf. She was righteous when everybody else wasn’t!)
Huldah told them, (to use the vernacular) “This is what the Lord says: Yep, you’re all doomed, because you have abandoned Me and angered Me by your idolatry. But you, king, your heart responded and you humbled yourself before Me. You tore your robes and cried in My presence. I have heard you. You’re not going to be around when the doom comes to pass, you’ll be burried and peace and you’ll never see the disaster that is coming.” So they took her answer back to the king.