A Bearer of Bad NewsHilkiah and those the king had sent with him went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter. She said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, ‘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…’”2 Chronicles 34:22-24
For context, read 2 Chronicles 34:22-28
Sometimes we are called to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ and sometimes we are called to speak difficult truths. Huldah was a prophetess who was called by God to be the bearer of bad news to King Josiah of Judah.
King Josiah was only 8 years old when he became the King of Judah and he reigned for 31 years. He was a righteous king who did right in the eyes of the LORD. He worked hard to abolish idolatry from the land. At one point during his reign, the high priest Hilkiah found the Book of Law that had been missing from the temple. Apparently, during a long stretch of evil kings, the Book of Law had gone missing inside the temple! How could they lose the very book they needed the most to live in obedience to the LORD? Imagine if the church you attend lost the Bible and no one in positions of leadership were actually reading the Scriptures! The people were not hearing the Word of God on a regular basis. No wonder the nation of Judah was so spiritually and morally lost!
After the law was found, it was read in the king’s presence and he tore his robes in despair. He knew that the LORD must be angry with them because the generations before had not been obedient to the laws of God found in the book. So Josiah sent his men to a prophet to seek answers from the LORD about the future of Israel and Judah.
The men could have consulted the prophets Jeremiah or Zephaniah but they didn’t. The king’s men consulted Huldah, a prophetess. She confirmed King Josiah’s fears that the LORD was indeed angry with Judah. All of the curses that were written about in the Book of the Law were destined for Judah. They had not been faithful to the LORD but had worshiped other gods. She prophesied that the anger of God would pour out on Judah and would not be quenched. She had to speak a difficult truth concerning a nation that Josiah had been trying so desperately to save. But the nation had not taken care to obey the laws of God. In fact, they ignored the law so much, they lost the book!
But Huldah’s message from the LORD was not all bad news. The second half of her prophecy was spoken directly about King Josiah himself. In verse 27
she said, “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. 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.” Just as Huldah prophesied, King Josiah died before Judah was exiled to Babylon. He did not have to witness his beloved nation fall into enemy hands.
Huldah did not shy away from the truth but faithfully shared God’s Word with those who were intended to hear it. Sisters, the WORD about women in the story of Huldah, the prophetess is that God has called us to share His Word with others and our gender does not exclude us from that calling. God may lead you to share Scripture to encourage others or to speak hard, but necessary truths. But we are always expected to stay faithful to the truth of His Word.ReflectHave you ever felt that God was calling you to share a difficult truth from His Word? Were you also able to offer biblical encouragement to that individual as well?PrayGod, give me the courage to share the truth of Your Word with others even when it’s hard to hear. Your Word is useful for correction, training, rebuking, and building up believers. Keep me faithful to Your truth. Amen.