It was the worst of times. Through fifty-five years, Manasseh did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah. Not only did he rebuild the high places which were used to worship the Baals, he even “built altars in the house of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 33:4). The depravity of Manasseh was seen in that “he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom” (2 Chronicles 33:6).
Manasseh’s degradation infected the people of Israel, and he “led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel” (2 Chronicles 33:9). Though Manasseh humbled himself and repented at the end of his life, the damage of his fifty-five years was immense.
After two years of Ammon, Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, became king at eight years of age. When most children are learning to drive and working a part-time job, Josiah began the hard work of correcting fifty-seven years of degeneration and destruction. Piece by piece he destroyed his father and grandfather’s legacy. He slowly worked his way through the land until he came to the temple.
In the eighteenth year of his reign, Josiah began to repair the house of the LORD. In the midst of this work, Hilkiah, the priest found the book of the Law (2 Chronicles 33:14, 15). Of all the losses suffered due to the sins of the people, the most consequential was the loss of the book of the Law. The people forgot God, his love, his holiness, his blessings, and his judgments.
The law of God was lost in the house of God! Consider the tragic irony. How is it possible that God’s word was lost in his house? Before we judge too harshly, is it possible that the book of God can be lost today?
In a world full of knowledge we are woefully ignorant of the laws of God. If we lament the darkness of our age, we must lament the discarding, disregarding, and misuse of Scripture. God’s law brings people out of darkness. When Josiah found the Law, light returned to the people.
The church, which is the temple of God (2 Corinthians 6:16), should be directed in every way by God’s word. Christians should have God’s laws in their minds and upon their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10). If we lament the lack of soundness, boldness, and influence of the body of Christ, we must lament our lack of faith in the all-sufficiency and inerrancy of God’s inspired word.
There is hope, dear reader. In humility, let us repent of all the pseudo-scriptures we have bowed before. Let us tear down the high places of hero and politician worship. Let us remove from the house of God any false ways. As Josiah before us, let us bow down before the Creator, inquire of him, and do according to all that is written in his book.
Don’t lose again the law of God in his house.