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The Missing Book

New Words
Fortuneteller. A person who tells other people what will happen to them. Fortunetellers use spirits to help them know what will happen. God does want His people to use other spirits.
Idol. An object that is worshiped. Some people believe that gods live in idols.
Scribe. A person who made his living by writing.
Sin. A sin is anything we think, do, or say that God does not want us to think, do, or say.
Slave. A worker who is owned by the one he works for.
Worship. We worship when we pray to, bow to, or honor God. Some people worship false gods.

Many things change when a child's father dies. Josiah's life changed more than other children's lives. He was the oldest son of a king. He became king when his father died. He was only eight years old.

Josiah's father was a bad man. He was not as bad as the boy's grandfather. Josiah's grandfather was the worst king God's people ever had. He worshiped many false gods. He asked evil spirits to show him what to do. He also killed many people unfairly. Most of the people followed Josiah's grandfather in doing wrong. Their sins were very bad. God said he would punish them all. The people must become slaves in another country.

Josiah's grandfather was sorry for his sins. He turned to God. God forgave him. God still said he would punish the people who did not turn to him. The grandfather lived to be old.

Josiah's father did not turn to God. He did not live to be old. He was only 24 when he died and left his little son to be king.

Josiah began to worship the living God eight years later. The teenage king worshiped only God. He did not worship false gods. He did not go to fortunetellers. He tried to be fair with his people. He tried to please God, but he did not really know what God wanted. He did not have the Law of God to show him the way.

The king worshiped God, but the people still worshiped false gods. They made places of worship everywhere. They put up idols and god-poles everywhere. They were not good to each other. Josiah worshiped God for four years. Then, he tried to help his people do right too. He sent out his workers. They broke the idols. They broke the places of worship. They cut down the god-poles. They made it hard to worship false gods.

Josiah's father and grandfather did not care much about God. The house of God was a large building. It was beautiful. It cost much money. These kings did not take care of it. Josiah told the religious leaders to fix the house of God. They hired workers. The workers fixed the house of God. They cleaned it.

One day, the workers found a book in the house of God. The books of those days were made of animal skins. The skins were fastened together. They formed long strips. Writers called scribes wrote on the strips. Then, they rolled up the strips. All books were made by hand. There were not very many books.

The book the workers found was the Law of God. There were not even very many books of the Law of God. The highest religious leader did not have one. The king did not have one. This book was very special.

The Law of God is now part of the Bible. It is the first five books of the Bible. Most of the Bible had not been written yet in Josiah's days.

The workers took the book to the religious leader. The leader's name was Hilkiah.

Hilkiah called for a scribe. Scribes could do more than write. They were also very good readers. The scribe's name was Shaphan. Shaphan read the book to Hilkiah. The book told what God wanted His people to do. It told them what not to do. There were many laws. The Ten Commandments are the best known laws. Here are those ten laws. 1) Only worship God. 2) Do not make idols. 3) Do not use God's name foolishly. 4) Make the seventh day of each week holy. 5) Respect your father and mother. 6) Do not kill other people. 7) Do not be unfaithful to your husband or wife. 8) Do not steal. 9) Do not lie about your neighbor. 10) Do not want things that belong to other people. There were other laws telling people how to be holy. There were laws telling people how to worship. There were laws telling people to be good to each other. God also said he would punish people who broke His law.

The religious leader and the scribe took the book to King Josiah. Hilkiah said, “We have found a book in the house of God.”

Shaphan read the book to the king. The king already tried to obey God. He did not know some parts of the Law of God. His people did not try to obey the Law of God. They worshiped other gods. They made idols. They were not good to each other. They broke other parts of the Law of God also. The law said these people must be punished. It did not only say the king should punish them. It said God would punish them.

Josiah began to cry. He tore his clothes. He was sorry he broke the Law of God. He was sorry his people broke the Law of God. He sent some workers to ask God about His broken law.

People who wanted to hear from God went to a prophet. Prophets were people God talked to. God told the prophets what he wanted people to know. The prophet in Josiah's city was a woman. Her name was Huldah. She lived in the second part of the city. King Josiah sent his workers and the religious leader to Huldah.

Huldah did not have good news. She said, “God says he will punish this city. All the punishments he gave in the law will come here. The people have sinned. They have broken God's law. It is too late. They must be punished.”

Huldah also had words for Josiah. She said, “Tell the man who sent you what God says. God says: 'You cried when you learned you and your people had broken my law. You tore your clothes. You were sorry. I will not punish you. I will wait to punish these people until after you die.'”

Josiah tried to help his people. He made them all come to him. He asked the scribes to read the Law of God to them. Then, he asked the people to make a promise. They all promised to obey the Law of God. It was an important day. Now God would wait longer to punish them. Josiah sent his workers to break more idols.

Josiah went to war when he was 39 years old. He did not have to go to war. He went to help another king fight. He died in that war.

An enemy army came after Josiah was dead. The army took many people as slaves. They burned the city with fire. They burned the house of God. It was a sad day for God's people. They had to live in a far-away country many years. What God said to Josiah came true. God did what he said he would do. He also took care of the people who were faithful to him.

God still takes care of people who are faithful to him. Are you faithful?

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