Humbly Obeying God’s Word, 21 July 2019

Humbly Obeying God’s Word
Series—All The King’s Choices
2 Kings 22:1-20; 23:1-3, 21-25

Big Idea: Humbly Obeying God’s Word is the true path to success and satisfaction.

Success. It’s a word we hear almost every day. We see successful people on television. We hear successful people on the radio and on podcasts. We read books by successful people…who tell us how to be successful! We’re told the importance of being successful because, after all, what’s the opposite? Failure? Who wants that?

Satisfaction is another thing we seek. We hope it comes from being successful! Yet we know people who are successful are not always satisfied in their fame or fortune or whatever made them a success.

Is it possible to be successful and satisfied? If so, how?

This morning as we continue our series “All the King’s Choices,” we’re going to look at king who began his reign at the age of eight…and who humbly obeyed God’s word. I believe…

Humbly Obeying God’s Word is the true path to success and satisfaction.

Last week we looked at the good king Jehoshaphat who obeyed God and was blessed, but made one critical mistake in making alliances with the evil king Ahab which proved to be costly not only to him but also to his descendants. In 2 Kings chapter 21, we read of the death of King Amon, an evil king. Then in 2 Kings 22 we read,

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. (2 Kings 22:1-2)

He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. That’s what I want to be said of me. If you read through all of the kings, you’ll see Josiah is the exception, not the rule, tragically. He begins his reign at the ripe old age of eight! The book of 2 Chronicles tells us he began to seek after the LORD when he was 16. Fortunately, Josiah had good advisors.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the LORD. He said: (2 Kings 22:3)

“Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the LORD— the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.” (2 Kings 22:4-7)

King Josiah, at age 26, tells his secretary to tell the high priest to go to the ATM, get a load of cash, and start fixing the temple! He’s the fourth and final king of Judah who made reforms, and his changes were more extensive than those of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah.

The temple of God had not only fallen into disrepair, it had been desecrated by Manasseh who used it for pagan images and altars. It was a mess!

Money had been collected for some time to repair the temple and now they had enough to get to the task.

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” (2 Kings 22:8-9)

This is written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus and much of the writings we call the Bible (which is simply a collection of books). The Pentateuch—the five books of Moses—was available. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are known as the Book of the Law because Moses wrote them to guide the people of Israel. It is also known as the Mosaic Law. These books—the first five in our Bible—are loaded with history, instructions, and stories. Most likely, this is what was discovered by Hilkiah.

It's hard to imagine the evil of previous kings, not only desecrating the temple but also destroying copies of the Book of the Law.

Evidently the Book of the Law was lost and, therefore, was not read or understood. The high priest finds it while they’re beginning to restore the temple.

Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king. (2 Kings 22:10)

This is a big deal! The existence of these sacred writings was known, but since it was lost, nobody knew its contents. For the first time in this generation, God’s Word—His will, commands, and plan—could be discovered.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: “Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’S anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” (2 Kings 22:11-13)

The king realizes the people have been disobedient and changes must be made immediately. It had obviously been some time since God’s Word had been read and understood, and now Josiah fears the anger of the LORD for the disobedience of the people.

Ignorantia juris non excusat

This Latin phrase means “ignorance of the law excuses not.”

God had punished evil kings for their disobedience, and now Josiah wants to put the nation on a new path, a new direction. He wants them to repent—to turn, to do a 180—and humbly obey God’s Word. The king knew

Humbly Obeying God’s Word is the true path to success and satisfaction.

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. (2 Kings 22:14)

This woman seems to be highly regarded for her gift of prophecy. Why the priest didn’t consult other prophets such as Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, or Habakkuk is unknown. What we do know is this woman plays an important role in the spiritual revival lead by King Josiah.

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.’ (2 Kings 22:15-17)

God’s not happy, and if God’s not happy…!!!

You might know the first of the ten commandments is to have no other gods. The second is to have no idols. The people had violated both. Sin has its consequences and the wrath of God was coming for the nation, though it would come after Josiah died.

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: (2 Kings 22:18)

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. (2 Kings 22:19-20)

This is great news for Josiah!

Humbly Obeying God brings His blessing.

Who wants God’s blessing? It doesn’t happen automatically. God loves us all, but He can express His love—looking out for our best interest—a number of ways. When we obey, that often looks like blessings. When we disobey, that could mean loving discipline. In this case, God blessed Josiah with His mercy because he humbly obeyed God.

Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the LORD with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the LORD. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD—to follow the LORD and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. (2 Kings 23:1-3)

Josiah wastes no time in proclaiming God’s covenant to people. They respond.

Our humble obedience can influence others.

(so can our disobedience!)

Sure, Josiah was the king and had just a bit of influence on the people, but notice that last sentence. All the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

I don’t think Josiah used force. He humbly obeyed—submitting himself to the LORD—and set an example for all the people to follow. He understood the source of true wisdom and the people were drawn to his humility and obedience. Are you known for your humility and obedience to God?

If we skip ahead, we see

Humble obedience requires action.

We must not merely agree with statements in a book, we must repent, turn away from our sin, and live God-honoring lives.

The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 23:21-23)

Josiah didn’t just put an end to the idolatry that preceded him. He threw a massive party! Imagine the biggest New Year’s Eve in New York City times the Super Bowl Champion’s parade times…you get the idea! The king give orders to celebrate to the LORD, to reestablish the Passover, to remember what God did through Moses to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. This was Israel’s oldest feast, and 2 Chronicles (35:18) tells us people from both kingdoms—Judah and Israel—celebrated together in a massive feast!

Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD. Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses. (2 Kings 23:24-25)

Humble obedience requires action. He didn’t ignore the false gods and the idols. He cleaned house. He dealt with sin. Household gods were purged. No other king more faithfully observed the Word of the LORD, including David and Solomon!

Perhaps there’s some sinful things in your life that need to be destroyed. Maybe it’s unhealthy entertainment. Uncontrolled anger. Greed. Gossip. It could be a relationship which is not glorifying to God. Perhaps it’s bitterness and unforgiveness. It might even be a sin of omission, failing to do something like generosity, compassion, or time with God. Whatever it is,
get rid of it! Today! Now! Tell a trusted friend to help you with the change.

The cause and effect between obedience and blessing could not be clearer.

So What?

The implications of this story should be obvious for us. Sure, we live in a different era. We are not kings. But the truth remains.

Humbly Obeying God’s Word is the true path to success and satisfaction.

Let’s unpack that statement.

Humbly. Humility is a rare character trait today. It doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking of yourself less. The thing about God is He’s God…and we’re not! We sometimes want to be god. We sometimes act like we’re god. Comparing ourselves to God is like…ridiculous! This is the Creator of the universe!

God loves us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us. But we’re not gods. We’re not in His league! We must always posture ourselves in humility before God.

Obey. Obedience is God’s love language. Talk is cheap, but obedience is real. Jesus said

“If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14:15)

Does that need any interpretation?!

God’s Word. This is not speaking of our leather-bound 66-book volume called the Bible. It didn’t exist at the time of this writing. The people had portions of what we call the Old Testament…on scrolls. As we learned today, those scrolls were sometimes lost or hidden.

God’s Word can include the Bible, but it also includes the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real Word is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Jesus is the Word of God. It’s stated again in Revelation:

He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)

We don’t worship the Bible. We worship Jesus. The Bible is how we learn about Jesus and God’s commands for our lives, but Jesus is the Word of God.

Humbly Obeying God’s Word is the true path to success and satisfaction.

I’m not pushing religion on you. There’s no guilt or shame. I simply want to encourage you to trust God and obey. There’s no greater wisdom. There’s no great power. There’s nothing more timeless.

I’m making an assumption that you trust God, at least you trust His wisdom more than your own. At least sometimes!

Countless research studies have shown most USAmericans believe in God, but what does that really mean? Satan believes in the existence of God (he used to work for Him), but he doesn’t trust God. He doesn’t follow God. He doesn’t humbly obey God.

Author Ruth Haley Barton (
Invitation to Silence and Solitude) gets to the point when she writes,

When it comes right down to it, many of us do not believe that God's intentions toward us are deeply good; instead we live in fear that that if we really trusted him, he might withhold something good from us.

Most of the kings of Israel and Judah rejected God, His wisdom, His commands, and His Word. They did so at their own peril. Josiah, on the other hand, trusted God, humbly obeyed Him, led the people to do so, and God blessed them as a result.

As I said last week, God’s blessing doesn’t always mean we’ll be happy and comfortable, but it does mean we’ll experience His presence and power, His peace, and His joy, even in the midst of life’s storms.

I love you, church. I want what’s best for you. I want you to be successful. I want you to experience deep satisfaction. Lasting contentment will never come from your stock portfolio, car collection, job title, education, or even relationships. It only comes from loving God and loving others as we love ourselves. It comes from listening, reading, knowing, and obeying God’s Word. It comes from following Jesus…with our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.

The Women at the Well: Satisfied, 22 May 2011

Big Idea: Jesus is the only thing that will fill the emptiness in your life.

Are you truly satisfied? Have you ever felt like something is missing?

What are some things that people seek for satisfaction?

Most of us know the “right” answer is “God.” If we’re honest, though, we often find ourselves craving the same things that the Rolling Stones found unsatisfying—money, sex, and power.

In John 4, we encounter a woman who is seeking satisfaction. First some background on the story.

Jesus is on His world tour and travels from Judea to Galilee. So what, right? Well, to get there, He had to travel through Samaria—or He could do what many Pharisees did—He could double His trip and go around Samaria.

The Samaritans were hated by the Jews who saw them as the offspring of Assyrians who intermarried with Jews and destroyed their heritage.

Can you imagine avoiding an entire region on your journey because of despising its residents? It’s not like this was just a little detour. It must have added hours to their trip, even if they had a fast camel!

Jesus arrives at Jacob’s well around noon (though it could have been 6 PM depending upon the clock system) and sits down by the well. Normally people drew water at the end of the day rather than midway so he may not have expected to see anyone.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
- John 4:7-8

Notice the contrast between Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus—a moral, respected Jew who pursued Jesus in the previous chapter that we examined a few weeks ago—and this despised, immoral Samaritan woman.

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) - John 4:9

She knew Jesus wasn’t a local!

Public conversations between men and women were prohibited in the culture.

In addition, Jews viewed Samaritans as “unclean” so a Jew would become ceremonially unclean if he even used a cup handled by a Samaritan. A Rabbinic law of A.D. 66 said that Samaritan women were considered to be continually menstruating and, therefore, always unclean.

Many of the Samaritans early embraced the gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25; 9:31; 15:3). Of these Samaritans, there still remains a small population of about one hundred and sixty, who all reside in Shechem, where they carefully observe the religious customs of their fathers. They are the smallest and oldest sect in the World.” - Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
- John 4:10

In John’s Gospel, the word “gift” in the Greek is only used here. It emphasizes God’s grace through Christ. Jesus’ grace is a freely-given gift that must be received to be experienced. It refers to eternal life. It also refers to the Holy Spirit (Jer. 2:13; Zech. 14:8; John 7:38-39)

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” - John 4:11-12

The well was over 100 feet deep and Jesus forgot to buy a rope and bucket! This was Jacob’s well and the woman knew about its history.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
- John 4:13-14

If you know anything about Jesus’ teachings, you know that He often spoke in parables and cryptic language that wasn’t always easy to understand. Here’s this woman in the desert, she came to draw water—a vital task reserved for women in the day—and this Jew tells her of a different kind of water, water that wells up or literally leaps up, the vigorous abundant life that He alone can give (see John 10:10).

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” - John 4:15

What would you expect Jesus to say? You would expect Him to say something about water, but instead, He throws her a curveball.

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
- John 4:16

Huh? We’d expect Him to at least tell her to pray or obey God or something, right? He brings up her husband, to which she replies...

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
- John 4:17-18

I love Jesus’ assessment of the situation. He does not condemn her, but rather He affirms her.

Jesus obviously knows her story and how she has struggled with satisfaction. Five husbands is not an accident! Clearly she was looking for love in all of the wrong places! She was masking her thirst with something that actually made her more thirsty rather than quenched.

What’s the best thing to drink when you’re thirsty? It’s water.

Some people—especially kids—think that pop will quench their thirst, but actually it makes you more thirsty. The pop companies actually add sodium which causes dehydration and makes you more thirsty! What a great way to sell beverages!

If you want to quench your thirst for satisfaction, you need to recognize that things like money, sex and power will never satisfy. In fact, they’ll actually make you crave more. Billionaire Ted Turner was once asked how much money was enough and he said, “Just a little bit more.” The things in this life simply don’t satisfy. Sure, they will bring some happiness, but it’s temporary.

Remember all of those things you wanted so badly for Christmas? I wonder how many of them will end up on eBay or in a garage sale soon. We use external things to quench our internal thirst, and the Samaritan woman did the same thing.

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. - John 4:19

This woman is sharp! A stranger told her about her multiple partners. She had an encounter with Jesus, the Messiah that she was waiting for (verse 25).

Just as Jesus knew the heart of Zacchaeus, He knew her heart...and He knows ours.

Like everyone that encounters Jesus, she was transformed. She met the Giver of life.

Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” -Revelation 7:16-17

I don’t know about you, but when I’m thirsty, I often crave pop or juice. Water seems boring and unexciting, yet it’s what I need. Water is the most valuable and essential thing on our planet. We are filled with it. We will die without it.

In the same way Jesus provides living water to each of us—but only if we are thirsty.

Where do you go for your satisfaction? I guarantee that no food, drug, drink, bank account, Facebook account, techno gadget, car, or even person can truly satisfy—only Jesus.

Later, the woman throws out a red herring and talks about an ancient dispute. However, the story concludes...

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” - John 4:39-42

My prayer is that many in our community would believe in Jesus because of our story...and experience true satisfaction.

You can listen to the podcast here.