Thursday, January 21, 2016

Huldah - advice for a young king

Huldah is such an important part of the story of the Old Testament. Did you know that she was so respected that a gate of the city was named for her? Seriously, the history of the city of Jerusalem indicated that she was in that area to be consulted, and that her tomb was there, as well.

Certainly she was respected by the people, and was used by the Lord. Think about what her life must have been like . . . Manasseh's reign was the longest of the kings of Judah - over fifty years, in fact. It was also one of the most wicked. He went in the exact opposite direction of his dad, Hezekiah, and went right down the road of idolatry. Huldah would have heard the screams of children consumed by fire on the arms of the huge idol of Molech, for Manasseh's son, Amon, continued the horrible practices required by the false gods. She would have cried for the young women and men forced to endure sexual immorality in the groves of the idols, and she would have been saddened by the many places of Ashteroth worship.

As the northern kingdom of Israel was overrun and carried into captivity by the Assyrians, Judah continued to bow down to stars instead of the Almighty; to honor sorcerers instead of godly prophets, and to prostitute themselves to false gods, instead of welcoming the promised love of Yahweh.

Huldah would have been heartened and comforted by king Josiah's response to her prophecy, as he kept on purging the land of paganism, and brought back the celebration of the feast of the Passover. God used her to tell the young king:
                   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. 20 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.’”  (II Kings 22:19-20)
Huldah was a woman used of God; she understood the truths of judgement and mercy, of punishment and salvation.

Josiah was a king whose heart was tender; he heard the book of the law and realized the terrible sins of his people. He desired to lead them in change, and he succeeded for a time. For his lifetime. God was merciful because Josiah repented.

He is merciful to women and men today; He is gracious to us when we repent:

              For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
              (Psalm 25:11)

              Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression 
              of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight
              to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our
              sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

             If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
             and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

In my mind's eye, I can picture king Josiah, walking slowly through the restored Temple. Glancing about him, he sees cleaned floors, fresh tapestries hanging, broken down walls that have been rebuilt. It is once again God's house, and the young king must have smiled and praised God for allowing him the honor of restoring the Temple.

You and I probably feel the same way, when we have completed a thorough cleaning of our homes; all the dust is vanquished; windows gleam; stains and dirt are gone.

How about our hearts? Do we need to do some spring cleaning in our souls? Do we need forgiveness for cherishing someone or something more than we cherish our Lord? Have we spoken harshly to someone, or have we envied the blessings of God on their lives?

Perhaps it's time to clean up. To note our shortcomings. Let's call them what God calls them: sins. But let's not wallow in them, or feel self-pity. Hold them up to Christ and take ownership -- then ask Him to forgive. Let's enjoy His forgiveness, and move forward in His grace!


Katie Isabella said...

I love that last line..or those last lines about cleaning up our thoughts snd souls.

Austin Towers said...

I love this whole study of Huldah and yes the last sentence especially. I was sharing with a friend just yesterday that one of the Hebrew words for forgive used in the Old Testement, nasa, means to lift up or carry! See Ps 25:18. I was very blessed thinking about that in relation to Jesus dying on the cross for our sins in order that we may be lifted up! xx