Even as a history major, I’m the first to admit that sometimes reading history can be a bit dry. Names, dates, places, and events presented with a bunch of past-tense verbs isn’t always riveting. And, if we’re honest, sometimes our struggle with reading history seeps into our reading of the Bible. We come to certain sections of Scripture and we get overwhelmed with the genealogy and chronology of kings with funny sounding names living in places with even funnier sounding names. Our eyes glaze over and like a child swallowing medicine, we read as fast as we can to dutifully move on to something more familiar. But God has a way of grabbing us even in those difficult portions of the Bible.
Take for instance the story of King Josiah (2 Kings 22-23). He ascends to the throne at eight years old and almost two decades later, his priests make a startling discovery. In the midst of their restoration of the temple, they discover a copy of the Law. In other words, they find a copy of the Bible (or at least the Bible of their day). And, when they read it to Josiah, he responds in a rather interesting manner.
“When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.” 2 Kings 22:11 (ESV)
Why does he respond like this? Because He sees the gap between what God asks of His people and how they’re really living. It had been so long since anyone had encountered God in His Word that they simply forgot how to live.
They say that those that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes, even when we know history, we make some of the same mistakes. As I read this story again today, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us have done the same thing as the people of God in Josiah’s day? We live in an age where we have more access to the Bible and biblical resources than any other point in history, yet we don’t seem to engage God in His Word like we should. More importantly, we don’t seem to let God engage us with His Word like we should. Let’s strive to change that today. Let’s not neglect our time with God forget who He is and how He’s called us to live. Carve out a few minutes to spend some time with God by reading your Bible. Take another minute or two to ask Him to help you to live out something you’ve seen in it today. It will change our lives…and maybe the lives of some people around us too.