While Moses was given the law, we need to remember that few could read it. Scribes were needed to write, copy, and read, but most professions in ancient Israel didn’t have a need to read. Not only that, but the copies were not as prevalent without movable type.
What we find through reading the Old Testament was that at many times it was discovered:
- II Kings 22:8, 13 – A copy was discovered in Josiah’s day
- In Ezra’s day, Nehemiah commanded the book to be brought out and read (Nehemiah 8:1)
When they did get it out and actually read it, the people were stunned. You see, it was hidden or safeguarded during evil king’s reigns. If it was hidden, it was not passed down.
Judges, Prophets, Priests and Kings were supposed to meditate and follow the law. I mean, the book was available, yet few studied it. David said he meditated on it day and night, but most kings were surprised by its rulings.
He failed in many ways, and yet his heart knit him to God. For example, he committed sin with Bathsheba, but prayed to the point that his servants thought he would die while waiting to hear if God would spare his son. David wrote psalms to the Lord in which he poured out his thoughts and cares to his Maker. He desired a clean and upright heart above all else. He wanted the Lord to search his heart (Psalm 139:23), and he wanted the Lord to create a new heart in him (Psalm 51:10)
9 Kings that “Did Right”
Asa – I Kings 15:11
During the reign of good king Asa, he got rid of the Sodomites from Judah. His mother was an idol worshiper, and he banished her and removed all the idols that she had brought in. He did not, however, remove the high places that Judah was using to worship, but his heart was perfect before the Lord all his days.
Jehoshaphat – II Chronicles 20:32
Of Jehoshaphat it was said that he did that which was right according to his father. His story is an amazing one in that God provided protection against the Moabites and the Ammonites without Jehoshaphat having to do anything. However, the people were not ready to follow God so… he did not remove the high places.
Jehoash – II Kings 12:2
Jehoash did that which was right before the Lord. This included collecting money to repair the temple. But, you guessed it, he did not remove the high places.
Amaziah – II Kings 14:3
Amaziah did like his father Joash, but he did not do like his father David. The high places remained and the children of Judah sacrificed in those high places.
Azariah – II Kings 15:3
Azariah did like his father Amaziah. The high places remained, and people sacrificed in them. He died a leper.
Uzziah – II Chronicles 26:4
Uzziah was prosperous while he sought the Lord. He inquired of God through Zechariah. Because of this, he extended the Kingdom. However, later in life he became proud and tried to offer a sacrifice in the temple– which only the priests were supposed to do. Because of this, he died a leper.
Jotham – II Kings 15:34
Jotham did right in the sight of the Lord according to Uzziah, but those pesky high places were still not removed. The people continued sacrificing in high places.
Hezekiah – II Kings 18:3
Hezekiah did right according to all that David his father did, which is the first one of this list that gets that mention. He removed the high places, braking down the images, and cutting down the groves. He broke into pieces the serpent that Moses made, which people had begun to worship. Hezekiah trusted God so that there was no king like him before or after. Because of this, God gave him 15 more years of life when he thought he would die!
Josiah – II Kings 22:2
Josiah did that which was right, not turning to the right or left. He commissioned work on the temple, and when he found the Word of God, Josiah repented and God spared Judah while he was king. He cleaned out the temple, banished the sodomites, defiled unholy altars, and broke down idols. He held a Passover of which it was said that there was no such Passover held in the days of the judges or all the kings of Israel/Judah.
Who in your life has set a standard to follow? Parents, preachers, Sunday School teachers? Did they show a good example? Looking back at these examples, we know they weren’t perfect, but are you following godly examples?