2 Kings 22:14-17
Someone tells you, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” Which do you want to hear first? I imagine the majority of us prefers hearing the good news and ignoring the fact that the bad news exists. Unfortunately, that bad news sometimes shows up and smacks us right across the face, as it does with King Josiah’s advisors.
After seeing the king’s guttural reaction to the book of the law, I imagine Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah hoped that the prophet Huldah would give them, if not good, at least tolerable news to take back to the king. Maybe Huldah would tell them God would forgive their transgressions if the people of Judah followed the law from here on out. Maybe she would tell them they had to suffer a small, symbolic punishment for their bad behavior. Instead, Huldah gives them the worst news they could hear: I will indeed bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants…my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched (vv. 16-17).
As upset as Josiah’s men are upon hearing the bad news, I picture Huldah was more so. Huldah’s role as a prophet meant proclaiming God’s words to the people. Sometimes prophets would tell what the future held, sometimes they would warn about the consequences of certain actions, and sometimes, like Huldah does here, they announce imminent destruction. Regardless of what news they had to deliver, the prophets used their voices to share God’s words.
Like Huldah, we must share hard truths at times. Christ’s followers are called to speak disheartening words with compassion and sensitivity because bad news reminds us that we are a broken people, and Christ reminds us that a loving God is ready to heal our brokenness.
Remember a time you had to tell someone bad news. How did you feel and what did you learn? Would you deliver the news differently if you could?
God, sometimes you need us to speak hard truths. Give us the strength to do so with compassion and sincerity. Amen.