Seek To Know God's Law
And when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilki′ah the priest, and Ahi′kam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micai′ah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asai′ah the king’s servant, saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
God’s Law makes this much absolutely clear: there is Right and there is Wrong, and there is no overlap between them.
God’s Law also makes it clear that ignoring God’s Law is definitely the prime exemplar of what constitutes “Wrong”.
When Josiah, then King of Judah, instructed Hilki′ah the high priest to inquire after God’s Law, he realized that he and all his people had been ignoring God’s Law. He had been ignoring God’s Law, and his predecessors on the throne had been ignoring God’s Law. Josiah recognized this was wrong, and chose to rectify that wrong.
Josiah chose to do that which was right, and so he sought to be reconciled to God, and to be reconciled to God’s Law.
How did Josiah come to this place of penitence and reconciliation? In large measure he arrived there because Hilki′ah the high priest found the book of the law in the Temple during its restoration.
The kings of Judah had ignored God’s Law for many years, and we may fairly conclude that God’s Law had been all but forgotten in Judah by the time of Josiah’s reign. The Temple had fallen into disrepair, and after Josiah ascended the throne of Judah, he directed the high priest to put the Temple back into proper condition.
In the eighteenth year of King Josi′ah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azali′ah, son of Meshul′lam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, "Go up to Hilki'ah the high priest, that he may reckon the amount of the money which has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people; and let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons, as well as for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house. But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money which is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”
It was during that work that Hilki’ah found the book of the law.
Put another way, Josiah actively sought out that which was right. He sought to know Right from Wrong, and he actively sought out God’s Law that he might truly know what was Right and what was Wrong.
When he found God’s Law, he learned just how far from the path the people of Judah had strayed during the reigns of his predecessors.
Yet Josiah did not stop there. He actively sought new guidance from God. Having realized how far into evil the Kingdom of Judah had fallen, he sought God’s counsel on what he as king should do about it.
It is never enough to commit to simply doing what is right, or avoiding what is wrong. If we are to know what is right and what is wrong, if we are to know God’s Law, we must actively seek out God’s Law, and seek to learn all that it says about Right and Wrong. We must seek God’s counsel regarding what to do when we stray from Right and Righteousness.
We should not be content to wallow in ignorance. We should not be at ease with such spiritual indolence. We can never find our way back to God’s Law if we tolerate such sloth within ourselves. We will never find the path of Right if we are not actively looking for the path of Right.
We are flawed creatures. We are imperfect. We sin, and we fail to be always faithful to God’s Law. This is the nature of our reality.
Yet we can strive for perfection. We can work to fix our flaws. We can work to overcome sin, and we can seek out God’s Law and seek out how we may be faithful to that Law in all things. We can pray, and we can seek God’s counsel. We can ask not just for forgiveness but also for guidance. This, too, is the nature of our reality.
As God rewarded Josiah for his repentance and his righteousness, so too does God look favorably upon us when we are penitent, when we humble ourselves before God and seek to know His will for our lives. When we ask for guidance, we are guided.
Would God have shown mercy on Josiah had the King not sought out to know God’s thoughts on the Kingdom of Judah? Given that God did not restrain His wrath against Judah despite Josiah’s efforts at piety and righteousness, it is unlikely that the mercy God showed to Josiah would have come had Josiah not actively sought out God’s Law and God’s guidance.
When we actively seek to know God’s Will in our lives, we may be assured of at least this much: by seeking out God’s Law, and thereby seeking to discern Right and Wrong, we are taking one vital step in seeking to live good and honest lives. Even if we were to do nothing else that was Right, we would have done at least that much Right.
There is no guesswork in this. There is no supposition or speculation in this. We know that to seek out God’s Law in our lives is to do at least that much Right. We know that we can always seek to know God’s Law, and so we know we can always do at least that much right. No matter how imperfect the rest of our daily life might be, we can attain at least that much righteousness.
Therefore, seek to know God’s Law. Find God’s Law in every facet of every day. Search for the wisdom and the righteousness that inhabit God’s Law, then turn that wisdom and that righteousness towards living each day well. Pray. Ask not just for forgiveness but also for guidance.
That much righteousness is always within reach. Regardless of what else we do in the course of a day, we can always do at least that much good each day, and every day.
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