2 Kings 22:8-13

I consider myself a fairly emotional person. As a child, I watched a game show that required contestants to master a unique skill, then complete it perfectly in front of the studio audience to win big money. One contestant wanted to win the money to help with his family’s expenses. His assignment was to learn a complicated piano piece. He practiced and practiced until he could perform it flawlessly. The moment came for him to perform. Everything was going well until his finger got tripped up. He didn’t win. I sat on the couch sobbing. To this day I still get teary just thinking about how that man’s fingers stumbled over the keys. 

But as emotional as I can be, I’ve never been moved to the point of tearing my clothes like King Josiah does in today’s verses.

The priest Hilkiah has given the king’s secretary what many scholars believe was part of Deuteronomy, which sets forth the laws that God’s people are to follow. After hearing these laws, Josiah fears for his people. He knows they haven’t been following God’s instructions and are in danger of being punished. King Josiah, who does what is “right in the sight of the Lord” (22:2), hears the words of Scripture, is emotionally moved by it, and prepares to act on what he’s heard. 

Scripture has the power to elicit a variety of reactions from us. The creation story may lead us to feel awe and wonder. We may respond to Balaam’s talking donkey with laughter and confusion. We might join the shepherds in the fear and trembling that surrounds the pronouncement of the Savior’s birth. If we open ourselves to hearing God through Scripture, as Josiah does, and are ready to act on what we hear, we may find ourselves tearing our clothes in response.


When was the last time Scripture provoked a powerful response in you? 


God of the Word, may we hear your Scripture with open ears and open hearts. May we be willing to see where your message leads us and act on it. Amen.

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