2nd Chronicles 34:22-28; Huldah, the Prophetess (Josiah Part 4)

With the discovery of the Book of God’s Law, Josiah is smitten with fear for the nation, because judgement now appears to be imminent. In this hour of spiritual crisis he must have a word from God. Therefore, he despatches a commission of men, spiritual leaders in the nation, in search of a such a Word. The message eventually come from a woman simply named as Huldah the prophetess.

1: Her Spirituality

And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect.

2nd Chronicles 34:22

It is fascinating that neither the High Priest nor the Scribe could bring the King a Word from God. Instead they went to this woman; she was obviously ‘go to’ person, when God’s mind was sought.

In normal times the prophet was the spokesman for heaven. The High Priest interceded, the King ruled but the prophet declared God’s truth to the nation. The prophet was therefore the preacher. However, in these times there was no prophet. But there was a prophetess by the name of Huldah.

It is not usual for God to use women as his spokespersons. There are other examples though; Miriam and Deborah. It is generally believed that God raised up women for this work of prophesying when men were in short supply. That may well be true in this instance because Judah was recovering from a long period of spiritual decline, when the voice of the prophet was not heard in the land. Yet it seems that while there was never a female High Priest nor a lady Scribe there were, in the rarest of occasions, women who prophesied.

Huldah’s role was not public. She was known for her perceptiveness, her spirituality, her close communion with God. She was a uniquely gifted woman whom you could rely upon for sound advice. In my view this is what the Scriptures mean by her gift of prophecy. She had something which Hilkiah and Shaphan did not possess. Perhaps rather than criticising them for their failure to bring a word from God we should commend them for seeking out this gifted lady because of her godly spirit.

While God does have specific roles for the genders for public worship and for the leadership of the Church, our ladies continue to have so much to offer in terms of spirituality and sensitivity that we men overlook to our own peril and to the peril of the Church of Christ. Many a godly sister in Christ has given good advice to a pastor or a Church elder and when humbly and gratefully received, that word has proved to be of immense blessing.

While the Apostle Paul taught that leadership within the Church was male, he also identified roles for women. On several occasions he refers to the blessedness of that most happy and useful of married relationships, Aquila and Priscilla. Writing to the Philippians he commends the women who laboured with him in the Gospel (Philippians 4:3). Among the references to godly ladies in Paul’s writings, however, I find Phoebe to be the most interesting:

I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also…Written to the Romans from Corinthus, [and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.]

Romans 16:1-2 & End Note

Phoebe was a sister, a servant of God in Corinth, who had a role in succouring or comforting the people of God. She was entrusted with the carrying of the Epistle to the Romans across the many miles that separated Corinth from the imperial capital.

The particular commendation of Phoebe is that she had been a helper of many and of Paul himself. This specification of virtue is, no doubt, mentioned as the outstanding feature of Phoebe’s service to the Church and indicates that on account of which she was called a servant of the Church…Phoebe is one of the women memorialised in the New Testament by their devoted service to the Gospel whose honour is not to be tarnished by elevation to positions and functions inconsistent with the station they occupy in the economy of human relationships.

John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans

We are grateful for the service of the many Phoebe’s who like Huldah have brought many blessings.

2: Her Boldness

And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,

2nd Chronicles 34:23

This commission led by the High Priest had the royal seal of approval. This woman, however, was not in the least intimidated by an enquiry from the monarch. She was one who feared God and would relay the Word of God to a King, who was only a man. She was not impertinent, she was realistic. She did not elevate Josiah to a position, beyond his station in this world. He was only a man.

While people deserve their rightful place, in accordance with the manner in which society is ordered, when it comes to our position before God we are only men and women. In heaven, for example, there will be no rich men and poor men, no princes, kings, queens or presidents and prime ministers.., only sinners saved by grace alone. Within the Church we do not recognise people in accordance with their place in society nor do we give them preferential treatment on that account. If the Queen of England, if the Prime Minister or any other civic leader sits in the pew they must hear the Word without prejudice, we are all sinners before a holy God.

3: Her Confirmation

Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: 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 poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.

2nd Chronicles 34:24-25

Huldah confirmed what Josiah knew to be the truth…judgement was quickly coming upon Judah for the sins of the King’s father Amon and grandfather Manasseh. This was no empty threat, it was a Word which carried the approval of heaven, “Thus saith the Lord”.

Once again we are reminded that God does turn a blind eye to sin. He chastens his people and he brings the world to account for their transgressions of His law. The deep seated depravity of the world, especially the western world after all the godly influence that our nations have been exposed to, should cause us the deepest of anxiety.

4: Her Consolation

And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.

2nd Chronicles 34:26-28

In this day of certain wrath there were precious promises filled with encouragements for Josiah. There was a promise of peace in his lifetime because he enquired of God, he repented, he humbled himself before God. This promise would lead the King and the nation into the greatest of revivals. The temple would see high days of blessing because a young man cried unto the Lord.

We have no control over the past nor can we influence the future but we have a duty specifically fi this generation. If our nation is deserving of wrath and it is, let us pray that God in grace would suspend the judgement. Let us repent with tender hearts and pray that God would do a new thing in this generation, and revive His work.

That in wrath He would remember mercy.

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