14 Sep King Josiah: Because He Heard . . . God also Heard
In 2nd Kings Chapter 22 we find the wonderful story of King Josiah’s sensitivity to the Word of God. His sense of urgency to inquire from God, his reactions after at looking himself and his people in the light of God’s Word, taking of corrective steps in his kingdom and his unique (23:25) return to the Lord stand our as inspiring.
Verse 11 says “When the king (Josiah) heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.” This was the sensitivity of King Josiah after he heard the Word of God. God takes note of all he does when he hears (verse 19: “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord . . . . . . . and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.”
The first part of above verse shows King Josiah HEARD God’s word and responded humbling himself, tearing his robes and weeping. There is no mention in this that Josiah “prayed” but this is how he expressed his feelings. Further, the same verse says “God also HEARD him.” A visible expression of his feelings (tearing robes and weeping) were seen by God and taken as a plea for His mercy. The verse records a beautiful phrase “BECAUSE HE HEARD . . . . . GOD ALSO HEARD.” Our listening makes God listen to us. The act of listening here is on the sides of both God and Josiah and there is quick response also from both. God sent His message to Josiah through prophetess Huldah that he would die in peace and his eyes would not see disaster which would come upon the people.
He was now assured by the word of God that he would be spared from upcoming wrath of God. But what about God’s wrath on people? Chapter 23 gives a detailed account of his personal turning back to God and his leading of the people of Israel to turn back to God. He took the initiative to gather the people of Judah and Jerusalem and renew the covenant in presence of God. The articles made for Baal and Asherah were removed and burnt, quarters of male prostitutes were torn down, high places were desecrated. He removed all the shrines at the high places, slaughtered the idol worshiping priests of high places, cut down the Asherah poles, got rid of spiritists and mediums, and also ordered the people to celebrate the Passover which was not done for the past 18 years. These were the actions of Josiah after hearing God’s word. Verse 25 records “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.
We as believers often question why our prayers are not heard for long or complain that God is not looking at the troubles we face, etc. But many of us fail to reflect on self. There might be some things God is telling us since long, which we may be ignoring, or we may have been insensitive to God’s past directions, God may not have noticed any changed behaviour in our lives. The clue to answered prayers is here. We need to first listen to God and obey what God is telling.
Proverbs 28:9 says “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” John 9:31 says “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.” Isaiah 59:1-2 makes it more clear “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; you sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
Above verses clearly tells that our sins / disobedience / reluctant ears hinder the answers of our prayers. Our obedient life is crucial in bringing answers of our prayers.
Dear brothers and sisters, God surely watches us as well as feels our troubles and needs. God is looking at and hearing to our expressed or unexpressed feelings. Don’t blame God for delayed/unanswered prayers. It is we and our sins that keep God from answering our prayers. Let us check “Is there one-sided listening?” Our obedience is God’s pre-decided condition and one of the reasons for having our prayers answered.
UESI Gujarat Office Staff
Daughters: Shrusty and Dhrasty