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There is a story in the middle of the Old Testament about a young king who ascended to the throne at the age of 8. His father, and his father's father before him, were known as the worst kings of all time. Things such as faithfulness, personal integrity, sacrifice and generosity were completely absent when Little Josiah took to the throne to lead the nation of Judah. Yet young Josiah sensed things weren't right, and he knew God had given him the authority to do something about it. So this young king set about implementing a campaign of national reform. Not too shabby for a kid.

Josiah ordered that all of the places where pagan gods were worshiped be torn down. He passed laws that reflected his kingdom's heritage as a godly nation. He even developed a plan to remodel the Temple, which had been grossly misused and not cared for during the reign of his forefathers. And it was during the remodeling of the Temple that someone made an amazing discovery: They found the Book of the Law (today we call it the Bible)! Apparently, their one existing copy of the "Bible" had been misplaced, stuck in a closet or somewhere while dad and grandpa were making gods more to their taste. Can you imagine their surprise when they found it! But it begs the question: What in the world had they been doing in the Temple all those years without the Bible?

We must conclude that it's possible to hold a lot of religious services, committee meetings and community activities without the Bible. (Why anyone would want to do such things is difficult to understand, but there it is). I can only imagine how distant the people of Judah had become from following God. After all, how could they have followed God? They certainly did not know about His Word, much less where to locate it!

Upon discovering this great book, the young king led his nation into a period of repentance. But it proved too little too late. The people obeyed Josiah while he was alive. They went through the motions of putting away their idols and offering sacrifices and prayers to YHWH. But as soon as Josiah died, they went right back to their old ways. The people were still as far away from following God as they had ever been. In fact, the people couldn't even remember what it looked like to get it right anymore.

Ponder on that last sentence a moment, and then answer these questions: Where is your Bible? How often are you reading it? Are you following it? These are important questions to consider. In the same way Josiah's father and grandfather led Judah away from God, you yourself could be doing the same exact thing by not knowing where YOUR Bible is. Will those who look to you for spiritual guidance recognize the Bible's clear description from your example?

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Rev. Robert Templeton lives in Orangeburg.

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