Josiah became the king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah at the age of eight. As he grew up, he must have been influenced by the prophets Zephaniah and Jeremiah because he slowly wiped out idolatry and reinstated true worship of the God of Israel. He had the temple renovated, and it was then that the priests discovered a copy of the ancient law of Moses.
Once Josiah heard the law, he understood just how sinful the people of Judah had been and that they had brought the wrath of God down upon themselves. So the young king did everything he could to bring the nation back to the Lord and, in return, the Lord promised Josiah would die in peace and not suffer captivity. But the people had committed terrible sin and judgment would be poured out upon the nation.
The interesting, often overlooked element in this story is that before God brought judgment, He had a copy of the law of Moses found and read to the people as a testimony. God was about to act in accordance with His promises to Moses, and He was letting His people know.
Another similar story has happened in modern days. Right as the United Nations were debating the future of the ancient land of Israel in 1947, a Bedouin shepherd boy found a stash of ancient biblical scrolls hidden in caves near Qumran. Professor Eleazar Sukenik of Hebrew University purchased three of the scrolls and brought them home to examine them. It was November 29, 1947.
As he listened on the radio to the UN vote to partition the land and allow the establishment of a Jewish state, he read the ancient scroll in front of him — a scroll that had not been read for some 2,000 years. It was the prophet Isaiah proclaiming a day when judgment would be over and a new season of restoration would begin:
"Comfort, O comfort, My people, says your God. Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been pardoned, that she has received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins" (Isa. 40:1–2).
Exile was ending and a whole new season was beginning for the Jewish people. God revealed this ancient prophecy just as He was fulfilling it.
Join me for this week's Out of Zion podcast on "God Reveals His Word and Fulfills It." Walk Thru the Bible with me each week by downloading our Bible reading plan to get started reading right away! Invite your friends and family to join us! I can't wait to Walk Thru the Bible with you!
Dr. Susan Michael is USA director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and host of the Out of Zion podcast.
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