My Come, Follow Me studies took me to 2 Kings 17-25 in a lesson titled “He Trusted in the Lord God of Israel.” The lesson was introduced with the following information:
Despite the prophet Elisha’s impressive ministry, the spirituality of the Northern Kingdom of Israel kept declining. Wicked kings promoted idolatry, and war and apostasy abounded. Finally the Assyrian Empire conquered and scattered the ten tribes of Israel.
Meanwhile, the Southern Kingdom of Judah wasn’t doing much better; idolatry was also widespread there. But amid all this spiritual decay, the scriptural accounts mention two righteous kings who, for a time, turned their people back to the Lord. One was Hezekiah. During his reign, the Assyrians, fresh from their victory in the north, conquered much of the south. But Hezekiah and his people showed faith in the Lord, who delivered Jerusalem in a miraculous way. Later, after another period of apostasy, Josiah began to reign. Inspired in part by a rediscovery of the book of the law, Josiah brought reforms that revived the religious life of many of his people.
What do we learn from these two bright spots in the otherwise dark years of Judah’s history? Among other things, you might ponder the power of faith and of the word of God in your life. Like Israel and Judah, we all make both good and bad choices. And when we sense that reforms are needed in our lives, perhaps the examples of Hezekiah and Josiah can inspire us to “trust in the Lord our God” (2 Kings 18:22). July 11–17. 2 Kings 17–25: “He Trusted in the Lord God of Israel” (churchofjesuschrist.org)
King Hezekiah put his trust in the Lord during several challenging times. In turn, the Lord sustained him in the difficulties. King Josiah learned that the scriptures help us turn our hearts to the Lord. President Spencer W. Kimball spoke about King Josiah as follows:
The story of King Josiah in the Old Testament is a most profitable one to “liken … unto [our]selves.” (1 Nephi 19:24.) To me, it is one of the finest stories in all of the scriptures.
Josiah was only eight years old when he began to reign in Judah, and although his immediate progenitors were extremely wicked, the scriptures tell us that “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.” (2 Kings 22:2.) This is all the more surprising when we learn that by that time (just two generations before the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.) the written law of Moses had been lost and was virtually unknown, even among the priests of the temple!
But in the eighteenth year of his reign, Josiah directed that the temple be repaired. At that time Hilkiah, the high priest, found the book of the law, which Moses had placed in the ark of the covenant, and delivered it to King Josiah.
When the book of the law was read to Josiah, he “rent his clothes” and wept before the Lord.
“Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us,” he said, “because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” (2 Kings 22:13.)
The king then read the book before all the people, and at that time they all made a covenant to obey all the Lord’s commandments “with all their heart and all their soul.” (2 Kings 23:3.) Then Josiah proceeded to clean up the kingdom of Judah, removing all the idols, the groves, the high places, and all the abominations that had accumulated during the reign of his fathers, defiling the land and its people….
“And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.” [2 Kings 23:25.] I feel strongly that we must all of us return to the scriptures just as King Josiah did and let them work mightily within us, impelling us to an unwavering determination to serve the Lord. ( (, 59–68) Chapter 6: Discovering the Scriptures for Ourselves (churchofjesuschrist.org)
King Josiah learned to feast upon the scriptures and taught his people to do so. Then they made a covenant to obey the Lord’s commandments “with all their heart and all their soul”
(2 Kings 23:3). Elder Takashi Wada of the Seventy taught the importance of feasting upon the word of God. Feasting upon the Words of Christ (churchofjesuschrist.org)
The blessings of feasting upon the words of Christ are powerful and life changing. There are three in particular I would like to invite you to apply in your life.
First, the words of Christ can help us “increase [our] spiritual capacity to receive revelation” (Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 96) and safely guide us through our life. Mormon teaches that the words of Christ have “a great tendency to lead the people to do that which [is] just” and that they are more powerful than anything “the sword” can accomplish (Alma 31:5). … Our prophet, Russell M. Nelson, has taught us that “in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” 96). Needed revelation will come as we try the “virtue of the word,” and that word will be more powerful than anything else we could try or imagine.
Second, when we struggle with our own identity and lack of self-esteem, the “pleasing word of God” (Jacob 2:8) in the scriptures will help us know who we really are and give us strength beyond our own. Recognizing my identity as God’s child was one of the sweetest moments I have ever experienced. In my early teenage years, I did not know anything about the teachings of the Savior. When I first read the New Testament, the words of Christ truly healed my wounded soul. I realized I was not alone and that I am a child of God. As I recognized my true identity before God, I realized my infinite potential through Christ’s Atonement….
Third, we can lift the lives of others through the words of Christ. Just as Enos had his own time and place where the words of Christ touched his heart, the Lord will do His part to touch the hearts of those with whom we wish to share the gospel. Many of us may have felt discouraged when we tried to invite someone to hear the gospel because our desired result did not follow. Regardless of the outcome, the Lord invites us to open our mouth and share the gospel message with others.
I am grateful to all those who introduced me to scripture study and encouraged me to make the word of God a part of my daily life. I know that I have stayed closer to the Spirit and more in turn to His promptings when I am diligent in my scripture study.