For fifty-seven years, the people of God in Judah were ruled by evil kings. Manasseh erected idols, worshiped false gods, and sacrificed his sons. His successor, Amon, was so bad that his own servants conspired against him. Enter Josiah. Made king at only 8 years of age, something was different about him. For some reason, he made a decision to walk with God.
When he was 26 years old, he issued a command to repair the temple.
“I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 34:15)
That one statement from the mouth of Hilkiah the priest changed a generation.
The most important document to a people—the book of Deuteronomy—the story of the Exodus and the Law written hundreds of years earlier to remind an emerging generation on the brink of the Promised Land of who they were, whose they were, where they were going, why they were going there, and how they were to live once they got there—had been lost. How long it had been lost, why it had been lost, how it had been lost—all questions with no answers provided in the text. But when the Law was rediscovered, the king tore his clothes and called for the prophet Huldah to give counsel.
The result: King Josiah gathered all the people and read aloud the Book of the Law. He made a covenant with God to follow him and him alone. And He reinstated the Passover.
Today, we come to the end of our year (and a few days) Garden to City adventure through the Bible. Our prayer is that you have had a King Josiah experience. That you have rediscovered—or perhaps discovered for the first time—the Story of God. And most importantly, we pray that it has made a difference in your life. King Josiah understood who he was, the role he was called to, and the people entrusted to him only when he viewed those things against the backdrop of the Book of God. The same is true for us today.
While Garden to City may have appeared to be primarily about getting us all through the Bible, the more important priority was that we get the Bible through us. When we started in Psalm 119, we realized that on 10 different occasions the writer declared that he delighted in the Law of the Lord. That means that reading Scripture was not simply a one-time project for him. Or a year-long goal to check off the list. It was a life-long immersion in the transformational words of God.
As we conclude this adventure through the Bible, don’t stop reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the words of this Book. Find ways to continue to talk about, put it into practice, and wrestle with it. The Story began in the Garden and will end in the City. We live in the in-between. The now and not yet. And life in the in-between only makes sense when we view it against the backdrop of the Bible—the Story of God.