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The Unwritten Word of God

I was reading through 2 Kings and something interesting struck me at 2 Kings 22:8 (Actually, 2 things… I’ll throw the second out there as a different post, because it’s completely different).  The verse says, 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. This finding was during the reign of king Josiah, who began his reign at 8 years old.  He then repented for all the sins of his fathers because the way that they lived was so opposite of what the book said.

The idea that struck me was that sometime prior to the time of Josiah, we don’t know how long, but a while, the rulers of Judah didn’t even know where the written word of God was.  A few verses, such as: 2 Kings 17:37 and 2 Kings 21:8 discuss the importance of following what God wrote to Moses about proper Israelite behavior, and so imply that the written word of God, the Book of the Law was basically known, but it does not necessarily mean that they had the book in front of them.  It was at least lost for  a lifetime, as it was an event when it was found and Josiah had no prior exposure to it.  Anyway, I’m getting off course, my central point does not depend upon how long God’s written word was unavailable.  What is my central point?  That’s probably largely unclear because I have written a few sentences over a few weeks’ period of time.  My central point is that God speaks outside of Scripture often and does not depend upon Scripture in order to speak clearly to people when he needs to.

Over and over again in the history of the Kings of Israel and, later, Judah, God speaks to these kings in language so unambiguously clear that they are left with an inescapable choice to obey or disobey.  Whether or not they had the word of God didn’t matter, YHWH still spoke to them.  The Israelites were held accountable for obeying the law whether or not there was a written copy readily available (2 Kings 17:36) because a) they generally knew it, b) even unknown sin is sin, and c) God spoke specifically through prophets when there were glaring deviations from the precepts God put in place.  God sent prophets to Manasseh for his rebuilding of high places and altars to nonexistent gods, leading the people of Israel away from their true King (2 Kings 21).  Micaiah spoke to Ahab about his war plans, speaking of the disaster God revealed warning Ahab to refrain from going to war (1 Kings 22).  An unnamed man of God spoke out against Jeroboam because of his idol worship(1 Kings 13).   God speaks to these kings living in disobedience in ways so straightforward that they are left with an unequivocally clear choice: obey God or don’t.  Zedekiah refused to listen to Jeremiah (let this one be a lesson to you all), who spoke the word of YHWH, and his heart was hardened, never turning to God – and then Jerusalem fell (2 Chronicles 36:11-19).  The clear cut choice to obey God or not is one that has huge consequences for the one God speaks to.  Even where Kings are obedient to Scripture, as in the case of Hezekiah, God still is in communication with them about what He is doing.

This is one of my most mangled blog posts ever, sorry.  A central idea in Scripture is that God speaks to people with some frequency without using Scripture.  God speaks into the lives of individuals clearly, specifically, and without His written word.   God has spoken with Scripture, and He expects you to know what He has already said and will hold you accountable to that, but He also has a specific word for you.  He has things he wants to tell us, and what He speaks to us with His voice beyond words is just as normative as what He has said in Scripture.  God’s specific words for us are just as clear, just as important, just as transformational, and just as vital for us to respond to.

I don’t know what God wants to say to you.  But I’m betting He has something.  It might be a word of encouragement, it might be a rebuke, it might be truth spoken in such a way that you finally get it, it might be a warning, it might be direction, it might be something totally different.  He is an active communicator, not merely actively speak through Scripture, nature, or experience, but speaking actively using language directed directly to you.  He knows how to speak in such a way that we understand.  We have to listen though.  We have to open up our hearts to His will and focus our minds on His voice.  Even if He has to send a prophet, He’ll speak in a way we can understand clearly.  When you hear His voice, respond boldly as a humble servant.  The world changes when, individually and together, we hear and obey.

Coming Up Next: “Whoops, I just went partisan”

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Categories: Miscellaneous
  1. KTK
    November 4, 2008 at 11:55 am

    For your most mangled post ever, it was awesome. Really interesting…

    oh and Z”edekiah refused to listen to Jeremiah (let this one be a lesson to you all)” ….
    Noted.
    🙂

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