Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

Title: Finding the Lost Book

Text: Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 22:8)

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 22 (NCV)



Josiah was one of the good kings of Judah and during his rein a great discovery was made.  Hilkiah, who was the high priest during the time when the temple was being rebuilt, announced to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 22:8) From that simple statement comes one of the most interesting happenings in the Old Testament.  Not only did this discovery have significance then, it has a message for now.  Finding the lost book, or rediscovering the Bible, is an especially appropriate message for the beginning of a new year. 

We can consider this great discovery in two ways.

1. Rediscovering the Bible historically.
2. Rediscovering the Bible presently.

But first, let’s read our Scriptures for today.  I am going to leave out a few names and parts of some verses so that you can more easily follow the story.

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he ruled thirty-one years in Jerusalem…
2 Josiah did what the Lord said was right. He lived as his ancestor David had lived, and he did not stop doing what was right.
3 In Josiah’s eighteenth year as king, he sent Shaphan to the Temple of the Lord. Shaphan …was the royal secretary. Josiah said,
4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, and have him empty out the money the gatekeepers have gathered from the people. This is the money they have brought into the Temple of the Lord.
5 Have him give the money to the supervisors of the work on the Temple of the Lord. They must pay the workers who repair the Temple of the Lord—
6 the carpenters, builders, and bricklayers. Also use the money to buy timber and cut stone to repair the Temple.
7 They do not need to report how they use the money given to them, because they are working honestly.”
8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the royal secretary, “I’ve found the Book of the Teachings in the Temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it.
9 Then Shaphan the royal secretary went to the king and reported to Josiah, “Your officers have paid out the money that was in the Temple of the Lord. They have given it to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.”
10 Then Shaphan the royal secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from the book to the king.
11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Teachings, he tore his clothes to show how upset he was.
12 He gave orders to Hilkiah the priest,…Shaphan the royal secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant. These were the orders:
13 “Go and ask the Lord about the words in the book that was found. Ask for me, for all the people, and for all Judah. The Lord’s anger is burning against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book; they did not do all the things written for us to do.”
14 So Hilkiah the priest,… went to talk to Huldah the prophetess.
15 She said to them, “ Tell the man who sent you to me,
16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I will bring trouble to this place and to the people living here, as it is written in the book which the king of Judah has read.
17 The people of Judah have left me and have burned incense to other gods. They have made me angry by all that they have done. My anger burns against this place like a fire, and it will not be put out.’
18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to ask the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the words you heard:
19 When you heard my words against this place and its people, you became sorry for what you had done and humbled yourself before me. I said they would be cursed and would be destroyed. You tore your clothes to show how upset you were, and you cried in my presence. This is why I have heard you, says the Lord.
20 So I will let you die, and you will be buried in peace. You won’t see all the trouble I will bring to this place.’ ” So they took her message back to the king.

Heavenly Father, bless our Bible lesson by giving us understanding and by showing us the things that you want us to know.  We know that you are the Father of all wisdom and that you can make us wise through your Word.  Help us to rediscover your Word and to be more faithful in our study of it.  And forgive us our sins.  We ask these things in Jesus name.  Amen.

Let’s begin our study by going back into the history of Israel to a time when it rediscovered a lost book. First let’s consider what this time in history was like.   Josiah was king and he was the grandson of Manasseh, one of the wicked kings of Judah.  During the reign of Manasseh the nation was flooded with idolatry and immorality.  The worship of Baal was restored in a land that was filled with sorcerers, mediums, and star worshipers.  Violence reigned and the temple of God was neglected.  The King and the people had heard the prophet’s words, but they rebelled against the God of their fathers. 

Then along came Josiah and when he was made king things began to get better.  He was only eight years old when he was crowned King, and he reigned thirty-one years. He was righteous before the Lord, loyal to his heritage, and
dedicated to God throughout his reign. 

The influence of godly people prompted him to seek the Lord and to repair the temple.  While this was happening the lost book was found.  The book that Hilkiah the high priest found was called “the book of the law” and was either part or the entire book of Deuteronomy.  It was God’s Word discovered anew!  It had been lost for some time under a pile of stones in the temple or in one of the chambers, where it had remained unnoticed for years.  Wherever it was, it is quite evident that the people of God had not been reading the Scriptures as they should have been. But the discovery brought a dynamic response from Josiah and brought change to Israel. 

Josiah’s response is described in four ways.

First, Josiah heard it read (2 Kings 22:11). 

The first step toward a personal discovery of God’s Word is a willingness to read it or hear it read.  Josiah’s heart was tender, and when he heard it read, he humbled himself before the Lord.  We hear no more about repairing the temple: no doubt that work continued; but the book had been found and it occupied the King.  It was not treated as a piece of antiquity, or a rarity to be admired, but was read before the King.  Those who truly honor God’s Word study their Bible daily and feed on it and walk by the light that it gives.

Second, Josiah responded to the message of the book (2 Kings 22:11). 

He was so moved by what he heard that he tore his clothes in grief and repentance.  He was ashamed of the sin of his people, and afraid of the wrath of God.  He was aware of how bad the kingdom had become, because he knew all about the idolatry and immorality that the people practiced.  It was when the book was read to him that he understood how terrible their sin was, so he tore his clothes to show how his heart was broken for the dishonor done to God, and the ruin he saw coming to his people.

Next, we are told that Josiah read the book to all the people (2 Kings 23:1-2). He gathered all the officials and ministers together at the temple and instead of making a speech; he read the book to them.  He didn’t think that it was below him to be the reader. The people listened and God spoke to their hearts as He did to Josiah’s.  And they were convicted of forgotten vows, and they renewed the covenant that the nation had with the Lord. The result was that revival came in response to finding the book.  The temple was cleansed of heathen worship, and the land was cleansed of idolatry.  Immorality was stamped out.  The observance of the Passover was renewed. Rediscovering God’s book brought new leadership, new purpose, and a new spirit of worship to the people. May we always remember that the Word of God is powerful!  It kindles fire in our hearts.  It leads to life and creates light by which to live.  It is God’s Word to us!However, it seems as though many people have lost their Bibles today. Christians can lose their Bibles not just physically but spiritually. If you’re not reading your Bible with meaning, it is as lost to you as was the Word of God to the people of Judah. 

You may “lose your Bible” by turning aside to wealth, pleasure, ambition, or success.  Or you may lose it out of laziness and a lack of desire to put your time to that good use.  But you can rediscover God’s Word!  Open your Bible and begin to read it, and a new spiritual day will be yours.

Now, let’s look at how we can rediscover the Bible. We can rediscover the Bible today in three ways.

First, we can discover the Bible confidently.
The Bible is not an authority on science or history; it’s an authority on spiritual things. 
It is not just a book about religion; it is divine revelation.  It is the book of redemption, the book of divine inspiration.  It reveals God to us! The Bible is our final authority in life, the reliable basis of our faith.  Goethe said, “When I go to hear a preacher preach, I may not agree with what he says, but I want him to believe it.”  We need something to stand on for our faith and practice.  The Bible is the answer.

We can also rediscover the Bible personally. 

It has the power to speak to us personally.  The Holy Spirit will open the Word to our hearts as we open our hearts to the Word.  Jesus did this for the disciples on the Emmaus road as He explained the Scriptures about His coming.  When their eyes were opened, they recognized Him and said, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way?” (Luke 24:32).  Jesus still does that today in our hearts through the Spirit.

We can also rediscover the Bible practically. 

One goal for our lives should be renewed emphasis on the Bible. We need to hear it.  Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning.”  The Bible has both, milk for babes and strong meat for strong men.  This book will not only make the foolish and bad wise and good, but the wise and good wiser and better.  But think about this; wise men must hear and not think themselves too wise to learn. As long as we live we should strive to learn more, and those who want to increase their learning must study the Scriptures.  A wise man by increasing his learning not only is profitable to himself, but to others also, because he will be sought for his wise council and he can use his position to honor God and to witness for Christ.

We also need to read it. 

We forget 90 to 95 percent of what we hear.  So read the Bible for yourself.  Read it with a searching spirit.  Read it in faith.  Read it for fellowship with the Heavenly Father.  Read it prayerfully.

And we should also Study it.
We forget 70 percent of what we read. 
So study the Scriptures personally using a notebook to take notes on what you discover.  Study it in Sunday school.  Study it whenever you have an opportunity.

You can memorize it too. 

Hide it in your heart.  Memorize verses, chapters and whole sections of Scriptures.  Set a goal to commit some quantity of Scriptures to memory.

It is also a good idea to meditate on it.

The psalmist said that the person who meditates on the Word day and night is blessed (Ps. 1:2).  Get up in the morning thinking about it.  Go to bed at night meditating on it. 

We have fellowship with the Word of God and with God Himself when we read and meditate on his Word.  A good man delights in the Word. 

All who are pleased that there is a God will be well pleased that there is a Bible; for it is a revelation of God, and of His will, and of the only way to happiness, which is in Him. 

A good man delights in the Word of God, for those things that we love, we love to think about.  When we meditate on it we discuss in our mind the great things contained in it.   We must think about them day and night, for we must have a constant and habitual regard for the Word of God, and we must have it on our minds at every occasion that occurs, whether day or night. 

We should not only have our minds set upon the Word of God when we wake-up and when we go to sleep, but it should be interwoven through everything we do in business, in pleasure and in every conversation.  It should be our delight! The Bible becomes a living book to us when we experience its truth and life for ourselves. 

Bishop E. Berggrav, of the Lutheran church in Norway, spent most of World War II in a Nazi concentration camp.  It was there that he found Christ in the pages of the Bible.  His reading it aloud brought the reality of Christ to his life so that his faith was restored and his spirit renewed.

Discover the Bible for yourself.  Commit yourself to God’s Word this year.  It brings new life.

Please join me in prayer.  Heavenly Father, help us to be more faithful in reading and studying your word.  Help us to make it an important thing for us to do.  Thank you for giving us a book that reveals who you are and how we can be reconciled to you, even though we are sinners.  Dear God, lead us to respond to your word by the lives we lead and by lifting up Jesus, for He said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.”  Bless those who have gathered here to worship and to hear your Word.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

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