When you have a problem, who do you turn to? Who do you go to for spiritual wisdom? Why do you go to that particular person?
In today’s episode of All God’s Women we look at Huldah, a prophetess who was sought out by a king for her wisdom and insight.
Huldah’s story takes place in 2 Kings chapter 22. At the beginning of the chapter we’re introduced to King Josiah. He was a child king, appointed to the position when he was a mere 8-years-old, but he was a good king who did what was right and walked in the ways of the Lord.
In 2 Chronicles 34 we learn that when Josiah was 16-years-old, he sought the God of his ancestors. When he was 20, he got rid of the high places and carved images, tore down Baal altars, and chopped down Asherah poles.
When he was 26-years -old, he took to cleaning out the temple and repairing it. In the process, Hilkiah, the high priest, uncovered the missing Book of the Law, an ancient scroll from the time of Moses. Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, the scribe, and Shaphan shared it with King Josiah.
When the king heard the words, he tore his clothes then commanded Hilkiah, Shaphan, and other priests and servants to inquire of the Lord for him and gather an understanding of all that the book was talking about.
And here’s where it gets interesting. These men of God and government officials took the book to Huldah, a prophetess and wife of Shallum, keeper of the king’s wardrobe. They could have gone straight to the Lord themselves. They could have gone to the prophets Jeremiah or Zephaniah, but instead they went to a woman, a prophetess, for her input.
Huldah’s response began with, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel.” She then told them that just as Josiah had read, God would bring calamity on their land and its inhabitants because they had forsaken God, burned incense to other Gods, and provoked Him to anger with the works of their hands. But because Josiah’s heart was tender and he humbled himself before the Lord when he heard God’s word, the Lord would gather him to his grave in peace and he would not personally see all the calamity that would come.
After hearing her words, Josiah gathered together the elders, priests, prophets, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, from the youngest to the oldest, and read to them the complete Book of the Law.
“And the king stood by the 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 his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.”
The king went on to clear out from the sanctuary all the articles made for Baal, Asherah, and other idols. He burned them in a field outside the city and carried the ashes to Bethel. He got rid of the idolatrous priests that previous kings had appointed. He continued on to the high places east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption and brought out the Asherah pole from the temple and burned it. He tore down the houses of the male prostitutes that were in the Lord’s temple, in which the women were weaving tapestries for Asherah.
He brought out all the priests from the cities of Judah and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense. He destroyed Topheth so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech. He got rid of the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun.
He tore down altars built by former kings and he destroyed all the high places.
When he was done, he brought back the celebration of The Passover, since it had not been observed since the days of the judges.
After that, he got rid of mediums, spiritualists, and household idols and images.
Josiah abolished all the idols from the land of Israel, and had all the Israel people serve the LORD their God. As long as he was alive, they followed the LORD, the God of their ancestors.
What an amazing testimony of a king striving to honor and obey God. And how special that God used a woman to help stir him to action.
When King Josiah went in search for a word from the Lord, he called together his high priest and top officials, and they in turn went to Huldah. Why? Why didn’t they inquire of the Lord themselves? Why didn’t they go to other prophets? What was it about Huldah that led them to her?
We know very little about Huldah other than she was married to the keeper of the wardrobe and she lived in the area of town where the college was located. She could have been a professor, or some think she headed an academy. Perhaps she taught classes for women. Since she is recognized as a prophetess, we can assume she was used to people coming to her seeking wisdom and advice from the Lord. But she wasn’t someone who would expect to have the king’s officials knocking on her door, soliciting her judgement.
And yet, when they came, she was ready. It could not have been easy to deliver such words of doom, but she freely shared what the Lord revealed to her.
As I read about all the corruption in the days of Josiah and Huldah, it sounds, unfortunately, all too familiar. Doesn’t the world of their day sound an awful lot like today?
Have we not lost sight of God’s law? Have we not filled our churches with traditions and practices from the world? Do we not have high places that we call spiritual, but that are far removed from true godly worship? Are we not sacrificing our sons and daughters? Do we not have church leaders who are corrupt and leading their congregations astray?
In a world where God’s people have lost sight of Him, where do we stand?
If a young leader today was seeking after God and searching for someone to speak truth and wisdom, would your name come to their mind? Would they know that they could come to you and everything you said would be straight from the Lord?
God speaks through women. He can speak through you. Are the words you’re uttering leading others towards Him or leading them astray? Can others trust you to speak the truth, even when the truth is hard to hear?
Are you willing to stand for old fashioned, godly truth of our risen Savior in a world that has forsaken Him?
Lord God, we come to You humbled by this reminder of how far we’ve drifted away from You. Forgive us for losing sight of You and getting caught up in the world’s false doctrines. Even when we’re at church, so often we’re following worldly practices that have nothing to do with true worship of You. Sometimes it’s unclear who is a true child of God and who is just playacting. May we always go to You for wisdom rather than blindly following those who may be lost. Lord, work in our hearts. Open our eyes to the truth so that we might take action and clean out the evil, corruption, and idol worship that is going on around us. Give us the courage to speak the truth, even when the truth is hard to hear. Use us to impact the lives of those around us. Do a mighty work through us. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Backstory – 2 Kings 22:1-13, 2 Chronicles 34:1-21
Her Role – 2 Kings 22:14-20, 2 Chronicles 34:22-28
Resolution – 2 Kings 23:1-30, 2 Chronicles 34:29-33
Bible Study Review
- Where did Huldah live?
- Who was her husband?
- What did she say about the book of the law?
Thoughts to Ponder
- Why did Hilkiah go to Huldah?
- What did she preface her words with?
- How did her words impact the people of Jerusalem?
- Do people think of you when they are looking for godly wisdom?
- Are you willing to speak the truth even when the truth is hard to hear?
- Are you a bold witness for God?
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