My husband loves to count! He counts everything…how many steps he takes in a day, how many flights he takes in a year, how many people are in attendance at special events. When we are on vacation, he even counts the individual palm fronds that make up the palapa…that is seriously too much work for vacation! Because he counts all of the time, I count nothing! I have been very content to hear his final number rather than take the time to count the things I see around me. Until now.
At the beginning of this year, I felt prompted to count how many Ladies Bible Studies we have had since the group started 6 years ago. Because I am always on the go, and I knew it would take a while to go back through all of my notes, calendars and email reminders, I put the task on my to do list and there it stayed. About a month ago, I found myself with some free time and I decided to start counting!
Going through notes from former studies and old emails made me smile. The journey that God has faithfully walked us through brought back memories of days spent studying Paul’s message of grace and Peter’s message of hope. I had memories of Gideon’s 300 men armed with only torches, trumpets and clay jars, written to show us the powerful way God uses our weaknesses. I remembered months learning about the wilderness and how God uses those times to get Egypt out of us so we are prepared to enter the Promised Land He has before us. I remembered Nehemiah’s heart breaking for the things that broke God’s heart and the great work that was accomplished because one man got on the wall and refused to come down. I thought of the great lessons in the book of Jonah. God invites us to participate in taking His grace to the nations, but the way it plays out is not always the way we would have planned. There is great joy on the journey when we submit to His plans even when we don’t understand it all.
I added up all the lessons from all of the years and when I got to the end of the list, I was amazed at the number on the page. This Wednesday’s Bible Study will be study number 100! We are finishing up our 6th year of studying God’s Word with our 100th study!
It left me in awe of the great treasure we have in the Word of God. I am overwhelmed by the fact that in every study we learn something new. The treasure of the Word of God just keeps revealing deeper and deeper truths about Who God is and the plans He has for us. Every study, I leave knowing that we have uncovered a new layer of treasure in His Word.
I couldn’t help but head to the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings 22 as I thought about the treasure that we have in the Word of God.
The Bible says that King Josiah was a man who was a good king. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in His ways. When King Josiah saw that the temple of the Lord was in disrepair, he decided to fix what was broken. The temple of God had been stripped of its gold and silver. It had been used as a place of worship to false gods rather than kept as a house of worship for the One True God.
In the process of repairing the temple, a great treasure was found.
2 Kings 22:8 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 verse gives me chills. In the middle of disrepair, while earthly treasure had been taken out of the temple, this treasure had been kept safe the whole time. It had been almost 60 years since the Book of the Law of the Lord had been read to the people. Since then it had not been a priority to the people. It was pushed aside, but the true treasure had never left the temple.
2 Kings 22:10 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. 11 When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his robes.
Hearing the Word of God broke the king’s heart. The people had been unfaithful and he heard words of coming judgment. King Josiah brought everyone together from the least to the greatest and read the Word of the Lord to the people. Together, they reinstated the covenant, which they had broken by their unfaithfulness and disobedience.
King Josiah went from being the king who repaired the broken places in God’s temple to being the king who inspired true repair in the hearts of God’s people, all because the true treasure had been found. All because he heard the Word of the Lord.
Repairing the temple was a great task. It was what God had put on his heart to do. But the reward that waited for King Josiah in that obedience was the privilege of hearing the Word of the Lord. God was after more than repairing the temple. God was after the king’s heart.
2 Kings 23:25 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.
King Josiah started out as a man who followed the ways of the Lord. But after the Book of the Law of the Lord was found, King Josiah was changed. He went from one who followed the law to one who wholeheartedly loved his God. It was no longer about what he did. It was about Who he loved.
‘Finding the Book of the Law of the Lord’ changes everything. The Word of God is alive and powerful. It transforms us. We no longer only seek to only ‘follow the law’. We become people who deeply love our God.
Why do we study the Word of God together? The same thing that drove King Josiah to speak the Word to the community inspires us to come together to hear from Him. Together we pursue holiness, we encourage each other, and most importantly, together our hearts are transformed by the very Word of God. We become people who don’t just go through the motions. We become people inspired to act because of Who we love.
Be inspired! The treasure of God’s Word transformed King Josiah and a nation. The same treasure can transform us as well. Like the people of Judah, we were created for community! Find a good Bible study group and wholeheartedly dive in! Find the Word of God! There is life-changing treasure waiting for us all in the pages of His Word!