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The Lost Book

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2023 12:00 am

The Lost Book

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 3, 2023 12:00 am

Prior to the reign of young King Josiah, the scriptures had been misplaced. They were lost. Can you imagine what that would be like today? What if all the Bibles in the world suddenly disapeared? The truth is, while we have billions of copies of Scripture in different languages and translations, the Gospel is becoming as lost now as it was then. How do we rediscover God's Word in the 21st Century? The answer is found in II Kings chapter 22. Listen to the full-length version of this message, or read Stephen's manuscript here: https://www.wisdomonline.org/teachings/kings-lesson-39

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Being confronted and exposed to the truth does not guarantee being changed. In other words, it's possible to be exposed to the Word without ever experiencing the Word, experiencing meaning application.

What you know by intellectual acquisition becoming part of your life by way of personal application. It's possible to be in the Word, but the Word never get into us and we never change. In fact, we'll learn in chapter 23 how priests who heard the same passages out of Deuteronomy refused to change the way they worshiped.

As you're listening right now, my guess is that you love God's Word or you at least have a desire to know and understand the Bible more fully. Can you imagine not having any access to the Bible? What if all access to God's Word was gone? Well, in essence, that happened in ancient Israel. They had misplaced and completely lost track of God's Word. It wasn't found until King Josiah ordered that the temple be repaired. Discovering God's Word changed Josiah and the nation. God's Word has the same impact on those who discover it today.

Learn more right now. One of the men I attended seminary with was an avid scuba diver. I've never done that before but I can remember him talking about it in the hallway and before class and I found it fascinating to learn how they operate underwater with safety and he shared some of the things that they learned. I remember him telling me that when you're deep underwater, light is diffused by water and so you can be surrounded. There can be as much light under you as above you and it can be a disorienting experience.

In fact, as you are weightless and you by your exploring lose sight of which way is up or down, you really no longer can tell which way is up and which way is down, what's really to the left or to the right. He said that one of the first things that they learned and were taught as scuba divers is this, always follow your air bubbles. When you want to rise to the surface, always trust your air bubbles because what you might think is up is actually down and you can swim to your death. I find that interesting as I observe not only the Lord's work but our times that we live in. We have a society that for the most part is filled with disoriented divers who do not know which way is up or down, left or right and we tend to listen to other disoriented divers. Tell us, live like this, walk this way, this will bring you fulfillment.

This is up, this is down. And the trouble created by that is apparent in knowing what is exactly right and what is exactly wrong. There's a book that was published in 1991 entitled The Day America Told the Truth.

If you want to read an interesting, challenging book, get that book and add it to your library. But some of the statistics that that book revealed that revealed the moral disorientation of our country is that 73% of the people that they polled said that if it didn't hurt anybody, they'd steal from them. I'm not sure how that all works together, actually, but 73% they'd steal from somebody who wouldn't miss it. 64% would lie for convenience so long as no one was hurt. As long as the job could be carried out, well, I'm sick today. I was on the highway last week and I passed a guy pulling a boat and his boat was entitled The Doctor's Office.

Let that sink in. He would call and say I'm at the doctor's office. Michael Loftus told an interesting story to me when he was in our home. He said he and his family had a unique experience where they were able to go to the British Museum, which is world renowned for their artifacts and their collections. He said on one occasion there on one of those floors, we were standing in front of a case of glass with something very special inside it. He said, you know, people are jostling in the hallways and the place is packed with visitors and tourists and people and he said, but we stood there and we looked inside and there inside this glass case was the original Alexandrinus. That is a copy of the scriptures in the Greek language, both Old and New Testament, that dates back centuries. It was a gift to King James of England, the same King James that authorized the King James translation. He said we were just kind of in awe standing in front of this case looking at the Alexandrinus and he said all of a sudden that he realized they were the only ones looking at it.

He said everybody else on that floor was scrambling past them so that they could see a collection of autographed music composed by the Beatles. It's kind of interesting when you consider that this book, in effect, although there are millions of copies today, is becoming a lost book. Now that's sort of harping at the darkness. We would expect society to rush to see that and care little for something that dates back 15 centuries that shows God's preservation of Holy Scripture. But the problem is in the religious world we are having the same symptoms of the unbelieving world that would indicate this is also becoming lost to us. The Christian Publishers Association estimates that in each religious home there are at least four copies of the Bible. The problem is in our homes, I fear, the Bibles sit on lamp stands and in living rooms on coffee tables, but they are not allowed to sift through our lives. There is a difference between having a Bible inside your house and having a Bible inside your heart.

We have at least four of them in the average home. I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that we are experiencing a problem, and the problem is we are losing sight of a word that needs to be rediscovered as living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword that is capable of discerning your thoughts and intents and mine as well. We need to rediscover the truth that God not only wants us to possess a copy of the book, he wants this book to possess us. How do you rediscover that? What is the ministry of the Word to be?

Well, you find the answer in an unlikely place. It's in the book of 2 Kings chapter 22. And I want to show you one of the most dramatic discoveries of God's Word, a copy of God's Word in the Old Testament.

While you're turning there, let me set the stage for this dramatic discovery. In our last discussion, we began the biography of a young boy who became king. He became king at the age when most children in our society are entering third grade. Even though this young boy, Josiah, had an ungodly grandfather who reigned for more than 50 years and an ungodly father who reigned two years before being assassinated, when this eight-year-old boy mounts the throne, he is, to the surprise of everyone, godly. And then Ezra, as we studied his account in Chronicles, gives us his brief story.

He categorizes it by giving us the ages of Josiah. And you remember, when he was 16 years of age, he began this passionate pursuit of God. He began to diligently seek after the God of his father, David. The words indicate that he began to look for God in every situation in life, and we sort of practice looking for the color blue in the auditorium. It's amazing when you start looking for something how you begin to see it. He began to look for God in everything. He began a purge a few years later in his land when he was a college junior, if he had been in our land. Now we come to the point where he is beginning to repair this dilapidated temple that has been ignored for some 75 years.

Let's take a look at what happens. Let's start with verse three. It came about in the 18th year of King Josiah.

You could write in the margin of your text 26 years old, if that will help you. That the king sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshulam the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money brought into the house of the Lord, which the doorkeeper have gathered from the people. And let them deliver it 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 in the house of the Lord, to repair the damages of the house. To the carpenters and the builders and the masons, and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the house. Only no accounting shall be made with them for the money delivered into their hands, for they deal faithfully.

Now this is an incredible scene here. It's a picture of these people gathering together in a unified partnership. Verse four tells us these people made it possible as they contributed to the work on God's house. Finances are raised. That's the first point.

The second principle follows. The workers are released. And I chose the word released specifically because of the implications of verse seven.

Can you imagine the implication of verse seven in the average church? Raise all the money, give it to the workers, and then don't bog them down with financial reports. Let them build.

It's kind of risky, isn't it? Who were these workers? Well, you ought to circle all the different occupations or groups of people referenced here in this paragraph. You have in verse four the high priest, you have the doorkeepers, you have the people. Verse five, you have the workmen. Verse six, it references the masons and the builders. You have the carpenters there at the beginning. Ezra adds, by the way, in 2nd Chronicles, two more occupations.

He calls them burden bearers and musicians. The exciting work of God, then and now, is never accomplished by a select few. It is accomplished by people gathering together with this unified cause in mind, and their cause happened to be the repairing of a temple so they could worship God as God was to be worshiped. Verse eight, then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.

Suddenly, ladies and gentlemen, the construction project is halted because of an archeological discovery. The Hebrew is a little more dramatic. It could be rendered the book of the law.

I have found it. It was probably a scroll written on an animal's skin, which had begun by this time to become more popular than papyrus. The definite article here in your text, the book of the law, typically refers to the entire Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament.

However, Ezra gives us a little clue as he specifically mentions the book of the law given by the hand of Moses, and that was a popular expression for one of the books, the book of Deuteronomy. What I think you have here is a discovery of an old scroll, and on that letter is written the law of God given to us in our book we call Deuteronomy. Can you imagine that discovery? Well, what I had to ask is another question before I got excited about the discovery, and it was this question.

How did it get lost? The Jewish nation was meticulous about the transmission of scripture. When scribes would copy Old Testament scriptures, they would write without vowels. They'd just put the consonants down, and they'd go backwards, and they'd come to the end of a line, and they'd count the consonants and put the number there in the scroll.

So they'd make sure they had not missed one consonant. Greeks were sloppy. Hebrew people were incredibly careful. How did the book of the law get lost? Like my Bible gets lost. Well, you have a problem here with the nation who no longer cares to read the book of the law, and the book of the law becomes lost. Now Josephus tells us, who wrote in the first century, that the book of the law, this book, was actually discovered in the bottom of one of the chests inside the temple. It was there all the time, if anybody had cared to look. Well, the excitement was dust had covered it for more than 75 years. No one had wanted it. And suddenly in the midst of this construction project, it's halted by this man who says, hey, I discovered the word of God.

Can you imagine? The implication is they have no other word. This is all they have. They had lost it because they had no longer loved it. Ladies and gentlemen, when the Bible is not consulted or applied or revered, even in our generation when there are millions of copies, it can still become a what? A lost book. Now, the Bible tells us that the Shaphan the scribe did something that must have been exciting. He came and he read the entire book of Deuteronomy. Ezra indicates there may have been just passages selected in Chronicles. But notice verse 10, moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, Hilkiah the priest has given me a book and Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.

You've got the court officials. You have the king on his throne. And here's this man reading something that Josiah had never heard. Verse 11, and it came about when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. Now that's a symbol of repentance and humility. The reading of this book provoked deep remorse and repentance. Frankly, I find it amazing that reading from Deuteronomy would provoke anything. You have that same feeling? How many of you have had devotions out of Deuteronomy lately?

A few hands. Well, the thing that strikes me about this is that you and I have 65 additional books of the Bible. We have what's called the completed canon of scripture. God's finished, giving us all we need, Paul said, to be thoroughly furnished and do every good work.

This is it. But the implication here is that we have 65 more books than Josiah and based upon his reaction to that one book, and Ezra seems to indicate certain passages of that book, he tore his clothing. With deep repentance, when the word of God spoke, it penetrated, it impacted. I fear we are less impacted with 66 books. But here, upon hearing from God, the ultimate standard of holiness, if you look back at Deuteronomy, you discover that's the book where they're told how to worship.

They're given not only law, but they're all given the grace of God through the system of atonement whereby they could be forgiven. Beautiful, beautiful book. And it altered his life.

Josiah discovered the presence of God's authority, the lighthouse of his holy word. And when you come in contact with this, the word is not altered. We are. It doesn't change course.

We do. With great passion, he in verse 13 says, go inquire of the Lord for me. I need help in understanding what God is saying. For all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found for great is the wrath of the Lord that burns against us because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book to do according to all that is written concerning us.

Go inquire of the Lord for me. Last part, to do according to all that is written concerning us. He was not tearing the clothing of his officials.

He was tearing his own. I want to know how this book impacts me. The hardest person in the world to apply the word to is yourself. But yet he is applying the word to his own life first. Notice verse 18, the prophet Isholdah sends word back to the king. But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus you shall say to him, thus says the Lord God of Israel, regarding the words which you have heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse. And you have torn your clothes and wept before me. I truly have heard you, declares the Lord.

Wow. You want to know what the word is to do in our lives? It is to provoke in us a response like this. Let's rediscover the ministry of the word. I want to provide for you three ministries. There are more.

Let me just give you three. The word is first of all to have a ministry of liberation. John chapter eight records the words of Jesus Christ to his Jewish audience and he is saying, if you abide or continue in my word, you shall be my disciples and you shall know the truth and the truth shall what? Make you free. That is the initial moment of liberation. There is an initial and an ongoing liberation. There is the initial moment of freedom. When you come to understand who you are according to this lighthouse and you understand who God is and the provision he has made and you hand to him nothing but your sinfulness and he hands to you everything of his righteousness. You are then who were once dead in sin and trespasses brought to life Paul writes.

That's the initial moment of freedom. But then there is an ongoing walk of liberation. It is that referred to when you continue in my word, the walk of a disciple, the continuing experience of freedom that occurs when you, the disciple, not only hear the word but live the word. When you put the word to work in your walk, that ministry of liberation occurs when the word moves out of your living room and into your life.

It's possible to be a believer and to be entangled and to be ensnared, the opposite of liberation when we give place to not only the underworld but the world system. Look at chapter 23 verse 23, the kings stood by the pillar. This was some special place where they would make pronouncement. The kings stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord.

You ought to underline these phrases. To walk, underline that, after the Lord. To keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul. To carry out the words of the covenant that were written.

You get that? To walk, to keep, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. He is making a public dedication, men and women, to put the word to work in his walk. And he has one little book of the Old Testament and he doesn't really understand all that he's heard in the reading of the book.

He says, what I've heard I will do. And what I have learned I will apply. You ought to study sometime on your own, the word walk. The ministry of the word is to begin the process of walking as we ought to walk. Secondly, the word is to have a ministry of transformation.

Romans chapter 12 says don't be conformed to the world system, literally don't be squeezed into its mold, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Now that's an exciting verb. The verb transformed is passive.

That's great news. Because that means you don't transform yourself. There has to be an outside agency which transforms your life.

It takes something or someone else. We learn in the book of Colossians that it is the word which dwells in us richly, literally which takes up his residency in our lives and the spirit of God through the word that brings about transformation. Howard Hendricks would often say in class, he talked about a man who came up to him one time in church and he was bragging. He said, Professor Hendricks, I've been through the Bible 19 times.

And if you know Hendricks, you know his response. He said, well, the question is how many times has the Bible been through you? You discover the ministry of liberation, freedom. You discover then that the word so that you will walk in freedom is going to radically change you. The word transformation is the word metamorpho from which we get our word metamorphosis. You look that up in your dictionary and it means to go through a series of radical changes. When you accepted Jesus Christ and became initially free, you were inviting him to radically change you.

Did you know that? The third ministry of the word, it is a ministry of evaluation. It is a mirror into which we look for specific things to change by way of evaluation. When you got up this morning, 100% of us in this auditorium eventually did the same thing. We all looked in a mirror. And 100% of us reached the same conclusion.

I need help lest I shock the world. And so you began a series of radical changes and improvements so that you would be presentable to those. And we all appreciate you doing that. Somebody dropped off in my office, by the way, anonymously, a hairbrush. And it said on one side of it, it said, a hairbrush for bald-headed men.

It was the wooden handle and there are no bristles. I'll always treasure that gift whoever you are. Special. Okay. None of us argued with the mirror. Not one of us stood in front of the mirror and said, you're wrong. The mirror didn't change.

We did. And when you come to the word, you discover whether we like it or not, the truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. It does not change. We change. And it has that ministry of evaluation which brings about transformation, which simply proves we have been liberated and we are walking in liberation or freedom. You see, when Josiah saw his life in the mirror of Deuteronomy, when he saw his kingdom reflected by the unalterable truth of God's word, he began to immediately repair his kingdom and his life.

Before we close, let me give a couple of thoughts that come, I think, from the biography of Josiah up to this point. Two truths. Number one, being confronted and exposed to the truth does not guarantee being changed. In other words, it's possible to be exposed to the word without ever experiencing the word, experiencing meaning, application. What you know by intellectual acquisition becoming part of your life by way of personal application. It's possible to be in the word, but the word never get into us and we never change.

In fact, we'll learn in chapter 23 how priests who heard the same passages out of Deuteronomy refused to change the way they worshiped. They were exposed, but they never experienced. Let me illustrate it. In this way, imagine you're driving along a very dangerous road. To your right is a cliff, a sheer cliff that drops several hundred feet.

It's a narrow two-lane road. You're driving carefully and alertly. All of a sudden, you see a sign up ahead and as you get closer, you read it. It says, dangerous curve ahead.

Now, you can respond in one of three ways. You can heed the truth of that sign and slow down. You can ignore the truth of that sign and maintain your same rate of speed. You can defy the truth of that sign and speed up, but the truth doesn't change. However, you and I respond to the truth does not change the fact that there is a dangerous curve ahead and a cliff. Now, what is happening in our society is something like this. We are covering up the signs and we're building a nice hospital at the bottom of the cliff.

Psychiatry and all of its branches, while there are good portions involved in those, for the most part, it is a society that has rejected or ignored the truth and there is imminent collapse. It is possible to be exposed and not be changed. But that leads me to the second positive, however, truth and it is this, being teachable like Josiah was and submissive to the truth does guarantee a life of transformation. See, the question every one of us have to ask as we study Josiah's biography is this question, is the Word at work in my life?

Have you allowed this book and the truth of it to bring you to liberation where you have received Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior? You know that it's talking about you when it says the wages of sin is death. You know that it's talking about you when it speaks of impending judgment. You know that it's referring to you when it talks about life in heaven or life in hell and you have made that transaction, those of you that have.

Are you looking in the mirror and arguing with it or heeding it? May we, like David, be able to say, thy word is a lamp unto my heart and the light unto my path. Friends, allow God's Word to liberate and change you today.

This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Our ministry is dedicated to faithfully proclaiming and teaching the Bible. Stephen's desire is to help you know what the Bible says, understand what it means, and apply it to your life. We have an extensive collection of biblically faithful resources on our website, wisdomonline.org.

We also have Bible teaching in eight languages besides English. Today's lesson is called The Lost Book and it comes from that teaching archive. Stephen preached this series back in 1996, a series called We Three Kings. We have one more lesson to go in this series and we'll bring you that next time. Between now and then, please contact us. If you'd like to send Stephen a note or if you have a question, you can address your email to info at wisdomonline.org. Tune in next time for the final lesson in this current series on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-03 05:46:06 / 2023-08-03 05:56:30 / 10

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