The Reminder of the Law & the Warning of the Prophet

Today’s selected reading begins the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests which were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah kings of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first four chapters of this Old Testament prophetic book. When you come to the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find what is perhaps the only official narrative surrounding the specific call of a prophet in the Old Testament. We know from Scripture that in the year king Uzziah of Judah died Isaiah saw the LORD seated on the throne high and lifted up with His train filling the temple. As a direct result of this vision of the glory of God Isaiah would hear a voice asking “Who will go for us,” and would respond by simply saying, “Here am I, send me.” We know that Amos was a sheep herder and that the LORD took Amos from among the sheep and called him to be a prophet unto the people of God. We also know from the Old Testament book of Jonah the LORD called Jonah to go unto Nineveh which was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire, and preach judgment unto them. We also know of the Old Testament narrative of the prophet Ezekiel and how in addition to the LORD ordaining him to be a watchman unto the people of God he also experienced a tremendous vision of the glory of the living God . It’s quite astonishing and remarkable lot think about and consider the different interactions the LORD had with certain of His prophets, which would even include various Old Testament prophets such as Moses and Samuel. In order to truly understand the opening chapter and calling of Jeremiah it is absolutely necessary to consider the awesome reality of how the LORD appeared unto and called His servants. To stand before Him as His oracles, mouthpieces and messengers. Before we can truly understand the narrative surrounding the call of Jeremiah from among the priests which were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin it is absolutely imperative that we get a holistic understanding of how the LORD appeared to, and how the LORD called His servants to stand before Him as His messengers. We should indeed seek to consider these various interactions, for when the LORD called some of His servants the prophets He not only called them, and not only spoke unto them, but also appeared unto them and showed Him a degree and measure of Himself and His glory. With that in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in Scripture concerning mighty men of God such as Moses, Samuel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jonah, and even Amos:

“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midianites: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where on thou standest is holy ground. Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of the land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hittites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I am come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” (Exodus 3:1-15).

“And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; and ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; that the LORD called unto Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that you shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hid it not from me: God so do to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that He said unto thee. And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let Him do what seemeth Him good. And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD” (1 Samuel 3:1-21).

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the Temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people” (Isaiah 6:1-9).

“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and fire unfolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst there came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not went they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one st faith forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings” (Ezekiel 1:1-25).

“And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his lions even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downed, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

“And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiff hearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious houses. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat what I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe” (Ezekiel 2:1-10).

“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittati, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD” (Jonah 1:1-3).

Now you might be wondering why I would take the time to present unto you the words concerning the various callings and interactions the LORD had with certain of His servants the prophets, however, I am absolutely convinced that it is necessary to understand the appearance and manifestation of the LORD unto and among His servants when He called them to engage in a specific task. When you consider the narrative of Moses the servant of the LORD you will find the LORD appearing unto Moses out of the midst of a bush that burned and yet was not consumed, while upon considering the narrative of Samuel the prophet of the LORD, you will find the LORD calling unto him four times within a single night that He might speak unto him. It was only after Samuel had come unto Eli the priest the third time that Eli perceived and discerned that it was the LORD who called unto him, and instructed him to respond by saying, “Speak LORD; your servant heareth.” In the narrative of Isaiah the son of Amoz we find him seeing a vision of the glory of the LORD in the year that king Uzziah died, and seeing the LORD seated on a throne high and lifted up with his train filling the temple. What directly links these first three encounters and visions before the LORD together is the response Moses, Isaiah and Samuel gave when they heard the voice of the LORD—namely, “Here am I.” Permit me to pause right here and ask you two very important questions. The first question is whether or not you have heard the voice of the LORD speaking unto you and calling you by name. Have you truly and indeed heard the voice of the LORD speaking your name and calling unto you that He might bring you into that for which He has called you? What’s more, is how have you responded when you heard the voice of the LORD and discerned that it was truly Him who spoke unto and called you by name? Moses, Samuel and Isaiah all responded by declaring “Here am I,” and the prophet Isaiah added “Send me.” I sit here today and I find myself asking—not only whether or not you have responded by saying “Here am I,” but also responded by saying and asking the LORD to “Send me.” It is the declaration “Here am I” that suggests and speaks of availability, while it is the declaration and request to “Send me” that speaks of a willingness to go and do that which the LORD has called you to do. I am absolutely and completely convinced that not only have we been called to declare unto the LORD “Here am I,” thus suggesting and speaking of our availability and willingness to hear and listen to His voice, but we have also been called to respond to the LORD, saying, “Send me.” It is this declaration before and unto the LORD to send us that takes our availability and directly links and pairs it with a willingness to go.

THE WILLINGNESS OF “SEND ME!” THE UNKOWN OF “SEND ME.” If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when examining the reality of “Send me,” it’s that more often than not when we respond to the LORD by declaring and asking Him to “Send me,” we do so without knowing where He will send us. We might very well respond to the LORD by asking Him to “Send me,” or “Send us,” and yet when it actually comes to knowing where He will send us, or even asking us what it is He wants us to do, we find ourselves being shocked and surprised when discovering what the LORD has in store for us. Moses responded to the LORD at the burning bush at Horeb in the wilderness by declaring “Here am I,” and immediately following this the LORD not only told him to take his sandals off for the place he was standing was holy ground, but also declared that He was going to send him back unto Egypt. What’s more, is that not only would the LORD send Moses back to the land of Egypt, but would ask him to return to a place he fled from forty years prior. What’s more, is that when Moses responded to the LORD, saying, “Here am I,” the LORD would send him into the land of Egypt to confront Pharaoh and demand that he let the people of God go. Pause for a moment and think about what Moses’ response meant for him within his life, for not only would he be eighty years old at the time the LORD appeared unto him, but the LORD would also send him back to that place he fled from forty years earlier, and unto Pharaoh to demand that He let the people of God go. What an absolutely incredible thought this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for Moses would be asked to confront the most powerful ruler of that day and generation, and demand that he let the people of God go. Moreover, Moses would be the instrument in the hand of God to execute the judgments and plagues upon the land of Egypt that would decimate and devastate the land, the crops, the herd and cattle, and even the homes of countless individuals within the land of Egypt. Ultimately, it would be a result of the demand to let the people of God go that the LORD of hosts would send His angel throughout the land of Egypt to strike down the firstborn—both of cattle and of man. Scripture even declares that on that night there was not a single home where there was not one dead, and that the LORD would enter into and execute judgment against the gods of the land of Egypt.

There is something truly powerful about responding to the LORD and declaring “Here am I,” for such a statement and declaration reveals unto the LORD that we are ready, that we are available, and that we are listening. By declaring unto the LORD, saying, “Here am I,” we are emphatically declaring unto the LORD that we are available to hear and to listen to Him speak, while responding to the LORD, saying “Send me,” suggests the reality that we are available for the LORD to send us wherever He wants us to go, and to do whatever He wants us to do. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for how we respond to the LORD is a direct manifestation and revelation of our heart. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close and careful attention to this, for when we speak to and respond to the LORD we are actually demonstrating and showing the nature and condition of our heart. Moses, Samuel and Isaiah all responded to the LORD, saying “Here am I,” while the LORD never specifically called Isaiah by name. The LORD called Moses and Samuel by name, with the LORD calling Samuel’s name a total of five times. What I so love about the interaction between the LORD and Samuel is that each time Samuel heard his name called he responded, saying, “Here am I.” When Moses heard his name called, he too responded by saying the same words. Forgive me for asking this question again, but when was the last time you emphatically declared unto the LORD, and truly from the depths of your heart and soul meant it when you said “Here am I?” I sit here today and I am convinced there are men and women who have heard their names being called and spoken by the LORD, and they have responded by saying, “Here am I,” yet when the LORD actually began speaking unto them and revealing His heart and His mind, they either stopped listening, blatantly ignored the voice of the LORD, or simply and altogether rejected that which the LORD had spoken unto them. There is something truly powerful about responding to the LORD and saying “Here am I,” as it’s almost if when the LORD hears it He hears an invitation for Him to speak freely unto us and that we are listening.

When and as you consider the narrative of the call of the prophet Jeremiah you will find that Jeremiah—much like John the Baptist—was born into the line of priests. What’s more, is that if you read the narrative of Ezekiel you will find that Ezekiel was among those priests which were carried away as captives unto the land of the Chaldeans. It’s truly something interesting and unique to think about the fact that when Ezekiel was carried away captive into the land of the Chaldeans he was a priest of the LORD, and had undoubtedly served as such in the land of Judah prior to captivity and exile. When, however, he was carried away into captivity and exile the LORD would appear unto him and how him visions of God. It would be while Ezekiel the priest was in the land of the Chaldeans that he would see visions of God, and it would be there where the LORD would ordain and appoint him to be a prophet and watchman unto the children of Israel. It’s actually quite astounding to think about and consider the fact that the LORD would take Ezekiel from a priest in the land of captivity and exile, and would ordain and appoint him to be a prophet and watchman, while the LORD would both call and ordain Jeremiah and John the Baptist to be prophets before Him unto His people in their generation. John the Baptist was born unto Zecharias and Elizabeth, and Zecharias would be a priest who would minister unto and before the LORD. What’s more, is that it would be while Zecharias was fulfilling his appointment and ministry as priest of the LORD that the angel Gabriel would appear unto him and speak of he and his wife having a child who would be the prophet of the most High. I find it absolutely and utterly fascinating to think about the fact that when the LORD was looking for a prophet during the reigns of Josiah and the kings that would come after him he looked among the priests which were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, while when He was looking for a prophet to go before the most High the LORD looked among the priests who ministered within the Temple of the LORD. It is truly something worth considering when you think about the fact that the LORD would take John the Baptist—not only from the womb, but also from among the priests in Judaea and Jerusalem—to stand before Him as the messenger who would go before the Lord, and during the days of Josiah the LORD would look among the priests in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. Within Scripture there was one priest whom the LORD would call to be a prophet, while the LORD would literally take and remove two others from stepping into that role and office as priest of the LORD that they might be a prophet of the LORD.

What makes the calling and appointment of Jeremiah so incredibly unique is when you consider the fact that he was called during the days of the reign of the final righteous king who would sit upon the throne of David. If you study the history of the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem from the time of David himself until the time of the captivity—fourteen generations in total—you will find that there were indeed righteous kings who sat on the throne, which would include Hezekiah, Asa, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Jehoshaphat. With that being said, however, it would be Josiah who would be the final righteous king to sit upon the throne of David and would launch a campaign of holiness and cleansing in the midst of the land. What is quite interesting when you think about the narrative of Josiah king of Judah and Jeremiah the prophet of the LORD is that Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and it was in the thirteenth year of his reign Jeremiah the prophet would begin prophesying according to the word of the LORD. If you study the progression of events concerning Jeremiah and Josiah you will find that Jeremiah began prophesying according to the word of the LORD during the thirteenth year of his reign, while it would be in the eighteenth year of his reign we find and read of the book of the Law being found in the Temple after Josiah sent individuals into the Temple to repair it. It would be during the days of Josiah and Jeremiah where there would be this wonderful combination and marriage of the word of the LORD, as well as the cleansing of the land. In all reality, I would dare say that at the same time the nation and land was being cleansed by the actions of Josiah it was also being washed by the word of the LORD which was being proclaimed through the prophet Jeremiah. Stop for a moment and think about the absolutely awesome reality that there would come this powerful collision between the book of the Law being found in the Temple of the LORD, Josiah calling the people to enter into covenant with the LORD, Josiah launching a campaign of holiness and cleansing in the midst of the land, as well as the prophetic word of the LORD being proclaimed through Jeremiah. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for it brings us face to face with the dual witness that was present during those days.

We know and understand from the opening verses of the prophetic book of Jeremiah that the word of the LORD came to him during the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. What’s more, is the word of the LORD would also come during the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, and would continue unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, and unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month. As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the opening verses of the prophetic book of Jeremiah I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the reality that Jeremiah would prophesy from the days and time of the cleansing of the land to the days and time of captivity. When we think about the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah we must recognize and understand that it would come during the days of the last righteous king of Israel, and would come during times of cleansing, as well as during the times of captivity. In all reality, it is something worth thinking about and considering when you think about the reality that Jeremiah would not only witness national cleansing in the midst of the land as Josiah turned his heart fully and completely unto the LORD, and he would also see the captivity of the people of God. Stop and think about what it must have been like for Jeremiah the prophet to witness the bold actions of Josiah the king of Judah who would launch a powerful campaign of holiness in the midst of the land, and how he would also witness and behold the captivity of the people of God. Jeremiah would watch as Josiah would turn his heart fully, wholly and completely unto the LORD, and Jeremiah would watch as Josiah would go throughout the land bringing cleansing and holiness within and throughout it. In fact, you will read in Scripture that when Josiah died and went the way of his fathers and of all the earth, Jeremiah the prophet would actually weep over him and his death. Perhaps Jeremiah knew what lie ahead for the southern kingdom of Judah after the death of Josiah, and he wept—not only over the death of Josiah as the last righteous king to sit upon the throne of David, but also knowing what his sons would do in the midst of the land. Jeremiah would watch as Josiah would rule and govern the kingdom of Judah with righteousness, with justice, with holiness, and with equity, and when Josiah died, it would mark a tremendous turn and transition within the nation and kingdom of Judah.

The word of the LORD would come unto Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah during the thirteenth year of Josiah king of Judah, and would come five years before the book of the Law of the LORD would be found in the Temple. Oh, I find it absolutely amazing that at one point during the days of Josiah there would be this powerful marriage of the word of the LORD through the mouth of Jeremiah with the words which were found in the book of the Law of Moses, and even the witness of Josiah’s cleansing and campaign of holiness within and throughout the land. I find it truly captivating to think about and consider the fact that there would be the twin and two-fold witness of the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah, and the book of the Law of Moses which would be found in the Temple of the LORD. What so amazes and inspires me about the days of the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah is that the word of the LORD would come through his mouth at the same time the words of the book of the Law would be read in the hearing of Josiah king of Judah, and at the same time Josiah would read the words of the book of the covenant in the hearing of the people of God. At one point within the southern kingdom of Judah we find the two-fold hammer of God’s word in the midst of His people, as the people would encounter the word of the LORD through Jeremiah, and the Law through the words of Moses. What an absolutely wonderful and incredible witness it is to think about the fact that during the days of Josiah you will find the words of Moses representing the Law and the words of Jeremiah representing the voice of the prophets speaking directly unto the people. Jeremiah would begin prophesying in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah king of Judah, and five years after he began speaking according to the word of the LORD the book of the Law would be found in the Temple—almost as if it was an additional witness unto the people of Judah, and even as a confirmation of the words which proceeded forth from the lips and mouth of Jeremiah. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings concerning the days of Josiah when the book of the Law of Moses was found in the Temple:

“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Goscath. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: and let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house, unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully. And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s saying, Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not heartened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her. And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book of which the king of Judah hath read: because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I alas have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the veil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again” (2 Kings 22:1-20).

“And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant” (2 Kings 23:1-3).

What I so absolutely love and appreciate when reading the words found in these two chapters is that during this particular time—not only do you have the book of the Law being found in the midst of the land of Judah, but at the same time you find the word of the LORD being proclaimed through and by the mouth of Jeremiah. What an absolutely wonderful and incredible witness it is to think about and consider how during the days of Josiah king of Judah the word of the LORD and the Law of Moses were both speaking before and unto the people of God calling them to return unto Him. The word of the LORD would be like a hammer during the days of Jeremiah, and would be like a refiners fire that would purge and consume the people, and at one point in time the word of the LORD would work in perfect harmony and communion in the midst of the people of God. The more I think about and consider this truth the more I am convinced that there is a great need for this two-fold witness within any generation—the two-fold witness of the word of the LORD and the words found in the Law of Moses—as the LORD not only reminds the people of what He has spoken, but also speaks unto them right where they are during that generation. The words which were found in the book of the Law of Moses would remind the people of what the LORD had spoken and commanded them through His servant Moses, while the word which would proceed forth from the mouth of Jeremiah would confirm unto them that which the LORD desired to speak unto them during those days and within that generation. Essentially you might be able to say that the word of the LORD which came forth from the mouth of Jeremiah was a powerful invitation and reminder unto the people of God to not only hear what was being spoken during those days, but also to hear what the LORD had spoken through his servant Moses. It is quite clear that during the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah king of Judah the word of the LORD and the book of the Law would have this agreement and partnership in the midst of the people of God as the Spirit of the LORD was calling and inviting them to a place of return before the LORD. Perhaps the single greatest message that would be found within the book of the Law of Moses, as well as the word of the LORD which would come through Jeremiah would be this message of return—not only returning unto the LORD, but also returning unto the words which were found in the book of the Law. In fact, more often than not you will find the prophet Jeremiah calling and inviting the people to return unto the LORD, and to forsake the evil of their ways that they might find repentance and restoration in the sight of the living God.

One of the things I find to be so intriguing when I consider the narrative of Jeremiah and Josiah—the one who would reign as king over the kingdom of Judah, and the other who prophesied according to the word of the LORD—is that although the people would have the words written in the book of the Law in their midst, and although they would have the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah, that which the LORD had spoken of and foretold through His servant Moses would indeed come to pass and come to fruition. Josiah heard the words which were found in the book of the Law, rent his clothes, and then sent certain individuals unto the prophetess to inquire of the LORD. The prophetess would declare unto Josiah through these individuals that the LORD would indeed and would in fact bring judgment, devastation and destruction upon that place, and that it could and would not be averted or thwarted. With that being said, however, the prophetess would also declare unto these messengers of Josiah that he would not see the evil which would come upon the land during his days, but would be gathered together unto and with his fathers. This is is absolutely astonishing when you take the time to think about it, for even though Josiah heard that the judgment of the LORD would and could not be averted or thwarted he would still read the words found in the book of the Law of Moses in the hearing of all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and would still enter into covenant before the LORD. Josiah knew and understood that the judgment, the destruction, the devastation and calamity the LORD purposed to bring against Jerusalem and Judah would still take place, and yet Josiah purposed within himself—not only to read the words of the book of the Law in the hearing of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and would not only call the people to enter into covenant with them, but would also engage himself in a truly wonderful and powerful campaign of holiness and cleansing in the midst of the land. Perhaps it is possible that Josiah thought that he might be able to avert the judgment and destruction the LORD had purposed against that place, and sought to completely and utterly drive out and destroy all the idolatry, all the iniquity, and all the immorality that was found in the midst of the land.

I cannot escape the awesome and powerful reality that during the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah the word of the LORD and the book of the Law of Moses were both powerful witnesses in the midst of the people of God, as the Spirit of the LORD was calling the people to remember the words which had been spoken centuries earlier in the wilderness through Moses, as well as through Jeremiah. During the days of Josiah the book of the Law would be found in the midst of the land of Judah, and in the Temple. How absolutely powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that out of all places the book of the Law would be found it would be found in the Temple of the LORD, and would be brought forth out of the Temple and would first be read and heard by the king of the nation. I firmly believe there is something truly powerful and prophetic about this, for one of the greatest needs within this generation is for the book of the Law to once more be found in the Temple of the LORD, and brought forth from the house of the LORD and read in the hearing of the leaders and rulers of the nation. Oh I can’t help but think about what it must have been like during this time as at the same time the prophet Jeremiah was prophesying according to the word of the LORD, the LORD would allow the book of the Law to be found in the Temple—and not only would He allow it to be found in the Temple, but He would allow that word to be brought forth unto the very throne of David, and ultimately before and unto the people. The book of the Law would be found in the Temple and house of the LORD and would be brought before the throne of David, as the LORD was calling the king to walk in His statutes and commands as David his father had done. It’s interesting and worth noting that the author of the book of Second Kings writes of Josiah that he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and that he turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. Josiah—this king who did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father—would sit upon the throne of his father David, and would find the book of the Law being brought unto the throne of David in the midst of Jerusalem. WHEN THE BOOK OF THE LAW COMES TO THE THRONE OF DAVID! WHEN MOSES APPEARS BEFORE THE THRONE OF DAVID! How truly astonishing it is to think about and consider that when the book of the Law was found in the Temple it was brought forth from the place of the glory of the LORD and brought into the place of the government of the LORD. WHEN THE LAW IS BROUGHT FROM THE PLACE OF GLORY TO THE PLACE OF GOVERNMENT!

The idea that the words contained and written within the book of the Law of Moses coming from the place of the glory and being brought into the place of government is actually one that is absolutely and utterly captivating when you think about the fact that the book of the Law of Moses—the very Law of God—was found in the place of glory, and it was brought into the place of government. Essentially the message which the Spirit of the LORD was highlighting was the need for the Law of God to restored unto the place of government within and over the nation—a place which had been on a decline after Hezekiah died and went the way of his fathers. When the book of the Law was found in the Temple of the LORD and brought unto the throne of David it was a powerful prophetic declaration from the throne of heaven that the Law of God needed to be restored in the place of government within and over the nation. If this isn’t a truly wonderful prophetic message that is being sounded within this generation, I honestly don’t know what is. There is a tremendous and unmistakable need for the Law of the LORD to be restored unto and into the place of government within and over the nation, and those who lead, those who rule, and those who govern this nation desperately need to be brought under and in alignment with that Law. We know for a fact that Josiah did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and that he walked in all the way of David his father, and yet there was still a powerful need for the Law of the LORD to be restored unto the place of the throne, and in the place of government. What I have to say is thank God there was one seated on the throne who was humble enough to hear the words which were found in the book of the Law of Moses and to respond by rending his clothes and inquiring of God through the prophetess Huldah. It wasn’t enough for the book of the Law to be found in the Temple of the LORD and to be brought into and read in the presence of the king, but a response to that Law was also needed. I would dare say that the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah helped foster within Josiah the king of Judah a humility and meekness that would be absolutely critical and vital when hearing the words which were recorded in the book of the Law of Moses. When you read the narrative of Josiah the king of Israel you will find that it was during the thirteenth year of his reign the prophet Jeremiah began prophesying according to the word of the LORD. This would signify and suggest that for five years leading up to the discovery of the Law of the LORD in the Temple both the nation and kingdom of Judah, as well as Josiah were under the word of the LORD through His servant Jeremiah.

For five years the nation and kingdom of Judah would be under the prophetic word of the LORD which was spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah, and after five years of hearing the word of the LORD the book of the Law of Moses would be found—almost as if it was an additional confirmation concerning the word and message which was proclaimed by this ancient Hebrew prophet. Both the king and the kingdom had heard and listened to the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah, and now they were being confronted with the words found and recorded in the book of the Law of Moses as it would first come unto the king and the throne, and would then come unto the people. I would dare say that the book of the Law of Moses stood and served as a powerful witness, a powerful testimony and a powerful confirmation of the words which Jeremiah was speaking in the hearing of the people of Judah. The very fact that the Law had been found and essentially rediscovered signified and suggested a powerful invitation for the people and nation to return unto the LORD, and to return unto Him through and according to what He had spoken through His servant Moses. When the book of the Law was read in the hearing of Moses it was as though Moses himself were standing before the king and declaring the law and words of the LORD during the days of Jeremiah. This would essentially serve as a powerful witness to the prophetic word which Jeremiah proclaimed during those days, as Jeremiah would have been prophesying for five years. After five years hearing and being under the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah and hearing the word of the LORD the nation and kingdom of Judah—beginning and starting with the king and the throne—would now be confronted with the Law of Moses. It was almost as if through the book of the Law of Moses there was a call to return to the Law of Moses, but also a powerful indictment unto previous generations that they were warned through and by the servant of the LORD, and they chose to ignore the words and warning which he proclaimed in their hearing. We must understand and recognize that when the book of the Law was found in the Temple of the LORD and brought unto the throne of David it was a powerful message of returning to the Law and returning to the LORD. We know for a fact that Josiah did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and I am convinced that the finding of the Law of the LORD was not only a response to the righteousness of Josiah, but also a confirmation of the prophetic word which Jeremiah proclaimed during those days.

The more I read and consider the call of Jeremiah the more I find it absolutely remarkable, for this ancient Hebrew prophet would come on to the scene during the thirteenth year of the reign of a king who did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and would prophesy the word of the LORD for five years unto both king and kingdom alike. Jeremiah would burst forth on to the scene like a wrecking ball out of the land of Benjamin after encountering the word of the LORD coming unto him. Scripture records how the word of the LORD would come unto Jeremiah emphatically declaring that before He formed him in the belly He knew him, and before he came forth out of the womb He sanctified him and ordained him a prophet unto the nations. When Jeremiah responded to the LORD in a similar manner as Moses did speaking of his being a child, the LORD declared unto him that he was to go wherever He sent him, and would speak whatsoever He commanded. Moreover, the LORD emphatically declared unto Jeremiah that he was not to be afraid of the faces of those he would interact with, for He would be with him to deliver him. Moreover, the LORD would put forth His hand—this being the second time the LORD would place His hands on Jeremiah—and would touch his mouth. After touching his mouth He declared unto him that He put His words in his mouth and set him over the nations and over kingdoms to root out, to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. What so amazes me about the words found in this declaration is that when Josiah was twenty-one years of age the LORD spoke unto Jeremiah and not only declared that He formed him in his mother’s womb, but the LORD also placed His hand upon Jeremiah and touched his mouth declaring that He was with him to deliver him, and that He put His words in his mouth. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is that there was a twenty-one year old king sitting upon the throne of David, and the LORD appeared unto Jeremiah in the land of Benjamin among the priests raising him up and ordaining him to be a prophet unto the nations. How truly awesome and powerful it is that Jeremiah would be ordained as a prophet unto the nations, and for five years he would prophesy the word of the LORD before the book of the Law of Moses was found in the Temple of the LORD. For five years Jeremiah would prophesy the word of the LORD unto Josiah and the kingdom of Judah preparing and making them ready for that moment when the book of the Law of the LORD would not only be found in the Temple, but would be brought unto the place of the throne, and would ultimately be brought before the people of God themselves.

I am absolutely and utterly captivated with and by the fact that Jeremiah would prophesy the word of the LORD unto the southern kingdom of Judah, and would do so for five years before the LORD would raise up an additional witness through the Law of Moses. During the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah the word of the LORD through Jeremiah would be flowing and moving within the land, and the Law of Moses would be raised up together and side by side with that prophetic word. Stop for a moment and consider the fact that in addition to this there would be a third witness in the midst of the land as evidenced through Josiah’s campaign to cleanse the land. It would be after calling the people into covenant with the LORD Josiah would begin cleansing the land—first beginning with the Temple of the LORD. What makes this quite astonishing is when you think about the fact that the Law of the LORD was found in the Temple of the LORD, and immediately after the Law of the LORD was found it would not only expose the idolatry within the midst of it, but would also cause it to be brought forth and destroyed. It’s quite intriguing to think about the fact that the book of the Law of the LORD would be in the Temple of the LORD together with the idolatrous images and false gods which had been set up in the midst of it, and once the book of the Law had been brought forth it would expose the idolatry that had been so pervasive in the Temple of the LORD, as well as in the land itself. This must needs be recognized and understood, for when the book of the Law of the LORD is rediscovered and brought into the forefront it exposes all the idolatry that has been so pervasive—not only within a nation, but also within the church, and even within our homes and our hearts. The book of the Law of the LORD was rediscovered and found during the days of Jeremiah the prophet, and together the word of the LORD and the Law of Moses would convict, challenge, indict and the southern kingdom of Judah with its idolatry, it’s immorality and iniquity. What a powerful witness it is to think about and consider the word of the LORD and the Law of Moses working together in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah to speak to the king who sat upon the throne, the priests and prophets alike, as well as the people which were alive and present during those generations. It is truly something spectacular to consider how at the same time during the reign of Josiah king of Judah the word of the LORD and the Law of the LORD were working simultaneously in the midst of the nation, and how the two seemed to work in tandem with each other challenging and convicting the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it worth pointing out that when you find the word of the LORD coming unto Jeremiah a second time within the first and opening chapter the LORD asked him a very specific question. Upon reading the words which are presented to you in the eleventh verse you will find the word of the LORD coming unto Jeremiah a second time asking him what he saw—to which he responded by declaring that he saw the rod of an almond tree. The word of the LORD would come unto Jeremiah a third time with this third time Jeremiah again being asked what he saw—to which he responded by declaring that he saw a seething pot with the face thereof toward the north. It’s important to note that Jeremiah would spend much of the time the word of the LORD came unto him declaring and prophesying concerning the devastation, the destruction and the judgment that would come out of the north. Jeremiah saw according to the word of the LORD catastrophe and calamity coming out of the north, and he spent much of the time the word of the LORD came to him prophesying and speaking concerning this judgment which would come upon the southern kingdom of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. Eventually and ultimately the day and time would come when Jeremiah would see that which he had prophesied and spoken of come to pass during the days of future kings that would come after Josiah. It would be during the final eighteen years of the reign of Josiah Jeremiah would witness righteousness upon the throne and obedience within the heart of Josiah the king of Judah, however, upon the death of Josiah we find two kings coming after him—both of which would forsake the God of their father, and both who would do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. One of the greatest things we find concerning the prophetic book of Jeremiah is that through the words which are found in the book of the Law of Moses we find Moses warning concerning the judgment, the devastation and destruction that would come upon the people of God, while Jeremiah would build upon that narrative and that reality and emphatically declare that the LORD would bring unto and upon the nation and kingdom that which He warned about generations earlier through His servant Moses. If there is one thing I would leave you with as this writing comes to a close it’s the tremendous truth surrounding the word of the LORD coming unto Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah king of Judah, and eventually the book of the Law of Moses would be found in the Temple of the LORD and remind the people of all that Moses had commanded, spoken and warned of. The prophetic witness of the word of the LORD and the witness of the Law of Moses worked in tandem with each other reminding the people of what God had already spoken, and pointing ahead to the LORD enacting and fulfilling that which He had warned His people of through His servant Moses.

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