I remember praying out loud with one of my little boys asking God to develop the fruits of the Spirit. As I prayed I listed them individually. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I also used the term long-suffering, which some translations use for patience. He stopped me mid-prayer, “What is long-suffering?” I responded, “It’s the ability to forebear or endure something well.” Immediately, he exclaimed, “Oh, I don’t have that one. Wait a minute. I don’t think I have any of these.” We closed our eyes and continued praying.
I chuckled as I thought back on this memory. But God brought to mind a story from the Bible that really impacted me several years ago. It’s found in 2 Chronicles chapter 34. In the 18th year of the reign of King Josiah, who took the throne at the mere age of 8, Hilkiah, the priest, found the Book of the Law.
The Law was read to the King. When he heard the Law, he tore his clothes. He grieved over the fact that their fathers had not kept the word of the Lord. Following the reading, Huldah, a prophet, prophesied.
In verses 24-28 we read, ”
24 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people—all the curses written in the book that has been read in the presence of the king of Judah. 25 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all that their hands have made, my anger will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched.’ 26 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 27 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. 28 Now I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.’”
So they took her answer back to the king.”
I don’t know how this passage speaks to you, but in 2015 God woke me with the word Hilkiah. I didn’t know who Hilkiah was and began searching the Bible until I found this story. For weeks and months between 2015 and 2016 God gave me many dreams and showed me themes of judgement and repentance. Through this season, the names Hilkiah and Josiah would run through my mind. God wanted me to see something in this portion of His Word.
We are sitting in the center of a pandemic right now. I trust God is doing amazing, miraculous work. But I also believe it’s time for the bride to be ready. To light the lamps. To take inventory of our lives, to get about His business.
As this relates to our own homes, where we are basically self-quarantined, let’s begin reading aloud His Word. When Josiah heard the Word, it grieved Him. The truth exposed the wickedness. As I prayed with my little boy, it was the reciting of God’s Word that brought the realization He lacked fruits of the Spirit.
The Word is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword. The truth will penetrate, which may hurt deeply, but with it comes healing and restoration.
Maybe in this season where the world is sitting on pause, we take one simple action step that may be the most important step we take during these slowed down days. Open up the Bible. Read it out loud.