11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king's servant, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” ~~2 Kings 22:11-13 (ESV)
Chapter 23 narrates the sweeping reforms Josiah made as he eradicated idol worship and occult practices from Judah and re-instituted the Passover in Jerusalem. God's Word completely transformed Josiah!
As I read 2 Kings yesterday and today, of course I got the bigger picture that Josiah's reforms came too late to deter God from judging Judah, and that bigger picture is precisely why I've been reading straight through the Old and New Testaments. At the same time, the above quoted passage made me think about the fact that many people--including professing Christians-- display varying levels of antipathy toward the Bible.
Some of those professing Christians honestly believe they love God's Word, yet they avoid passages about hell, reinterpret passages condemning fornication and homosexuality, supplement it with yoga and/or "listening prayer" and minimize its use in evangelism. And actually, I understand why they add these buffers to it.
Scripture, by itself, exposes sin before it offers salvation. In order to comfort us with the Lord's mercy and grace, it must first make us uncomfortable by establishing His right to judge us. When we read it honestly, it slices us to the core, and boldly claims that it deliberately inflicts those lacerations.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~~Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
The discomfort of the Bible leads the penitent Christian into the comfort, peace and joy of knowing the grace of Jesus Christ. In reading 2 Kings 23 this morning, I imagined Josiah's exuberance as he cleansed Judah for God! And I rejoice that Jesus has paid the penalty for my sins! For all its discomfort, the Bible is a gloriously comforting Book.