2 Kings 22; 2 Chron. 34
Being the wife of the king’s wardrobe keeper isn’t too strenuous, and we live in a good house in the Second District of Jerusalem, but there are definitely days when I’d like to be an ordinary housewife instead of a prophetess. Oh, I know, I follow in the footsteps of the great judge Deborah, but it can be so hard, when frightened men approach, and ask the terrible question, “Huldah, what does the Lord say?”
They never seem to ask it during times of peace or joy, but they want a hopeful answer during every calamity. Then, when I tell them God’s truth, the result is usually not good. Either they refuse to act on the answer, or, too often, they’re unwilling to believe words from God do arrive through a woman, and shout insults at me in my own house.
Last week, I was interrupted during my attempt to take pomegranate juice spots out of the sleeve of the cupbearer’s best robe. My husband Shallum opened the door, and a delegation filed in. Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan the king’s secretary, and Asaiah the king’s attendant approached.
To spare them their throat-clearing embarrassment, and foot-shuffling, I went straight to the point. “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, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read.’”
The men went pale, and stepped back, but I wasn’t finished. God wanted them to know why, and I had to tell them. “Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and provoked me to anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.”
The words struck deep, and Shaphan, the king’s secretary passed a hand over his face. His son, Ahikam, took another half step back as though he would flee, but running from me would be as useless as attempting to hide from the destruction, when it comes.
I suppose they were hoping that God would commend our zealous young king, but I also had to deny them that. “Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what was spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring upon this place.’”
There was nothing for them to do but take my words back to the king. My husband came home from the palace today, and said that King Josiah will continue to worship the Lord. The king ordered the systematic demolishment of every pagan high place in the country, from the horses and chariot of the sun in the Temple itself to the notorious one at Bethel. Teams of men dump rubble into the Kidron valley. There were graves near those high places, and Josiah has commanded the bones be dug up and strewn on the ground and burned on the altars.
It is sad that God has ordained that this work done in young Josiah’s reign will not be enough to save the nation from its future, but perhaps the king is comforted in knowing that he will not see the coming destruction. After the battle with Jabin the Canaanite and Sisera, Deborah composed a song. I am no musician, and there will be no victory for Judah. I may live to see the desolation I prophesied.
Shallum does not mention it, but I think that he and I take much less pleasure in maintaining and embellishing the royal wardrobe. Still, we do the work honorably. Every morning, I rise, and wish that God would give me something beautiful and hopeful to say about the Messiah, but that does not happen.
Heidi Dru Kortman DTM
God's gifts and call are irrevocable.
Heidi Dru Kortman, a CWG Apprentice graduate, ACFW member since 2004, and Word Weaver member has published devotionals in various newsletters, and a collected volume of devotionals. Her poetry, flash fiction, and short stories have appeared in small magazines, and a website. She is applying herself to the task of writing smoothly polished fiction.