Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”
So they took her answer back to the king.
Here is an exercise for you: what songs do you sing/listen to that express fear of God? We sing many songs about loving God, thanking God, having hope in God, and worshiping God. This makes a lot of sense: we go to church in order to be uplifted and encouraged, right? What we don’t do is sing many songs about the fear or dread of His wrath. We want to feel elated. We don’t want to feel like little children who have broken a lamp and are hiding in a closet before our Dad finds out. But that feeling, Josiah’s fear and shame, are what kept God from immediately destroying Judah.
We need joy and hope. God wants us to celebrate His love and be encouraged by one another, but true repentance is feeling that shame of our sin, coming to God with contrite hearts, and asking His forgiveness. So today, as you read the words of 2 Kings, remember to come before God with praise and trembling.