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-A PROPHETESS WHO HELPED REVIVE A NATION-
2 Kings 22
Huldah was a well known and respected prophetess and had knowledge of God's Word. She probably would have been a member of the official royal court in Jerusalem.
She lived in a time of religious degradation, when the nation had become worshippers of pagan gods, gave human sacrifices and burnt incense to false idols and wooden images. The people had allowed temple prostitution, including worship of the sun, moon and the constellations in the heavens.
Huldah was widely known as a godly woman and highly trusted by her Nation of Judah who the sincere people of God relied upon for their new spiritual consciousness and practices to the One and Only Living God, the true God of their forefathers, the God of All creation.
Huldah the prophetess was married to Shallum, who was the keeper of the wardrobe of the royal and priestly robes. They lived in the Second Quarter, a newer section of Jerusalem which had developed as an expansion of the old city of Jerusalem. The Second Quarter was the first of Jerusalem's major expansions. This was needed for accommodation for the refuges of Northern Israel who fled from the Assyrian invasion.
The prophets Habakkuk, Jeremiah and Zephaniah were also active prophets of God during this time. These three male prophets had continually been calling upon the Nation to turn to God and obeying the Word of God was not a new issue for the Nation of Judah.
Huldah participated in the biggest spiritual revival of her Nation. This housewife is in the ranks among that of Deborah and Miriam as prophetesses for their Nation.
A situation arose that enabled God to speak to the Nation through Huldah. Josiah was eight years old when he became King of Judah, in approximately 648 B.C. In the eighteenth year of his reign, he decided that The Temple in Jerusalem should be repaired. As carpenters and masons were working, The High Priest Hilkiah, found The Book of God's Law and gave it to the Scribe. The Scroll containing the Covenantal Law found and read was the entire first five books of The Old Testament, written by Moses the Prophet (1446 B.C.) as revealed to him from God. After the Scribe read the entire Scroll he immediately took the Word of the Lord to the King. Upon knowing its contents King Josiah tore his clothes with grief.
The King heard the Word of God read for the first time. He had genuine remorse and desired confirmation of his plans before he proceeded with his plans for his kingdom, he realised how far the Nation had wandered from God.
Josiah's grief sprang from Judah's wrongdoing and from its guilt. This reaction was immediate at the reading of the law from the scroll that was found during the restoration work on the Temple. Apparently Judah's previous wicked kings destroyed copies that were not hidden.
King Josiah wanted to return to the ways of God as found in the Covenental Book of Law.
King Josiah sent the High Priest directly to Huldah's home, five officials in all to seek God's Will, for Huldah to attest the genuineness of the written scroll found, for her word was accepted by all as divinely revealed from God.
The High Priest consulted Huldah to inquire of the Lord, as to the meaning of God's Word and the scroll of the Law that had been found, as well as God's guidance for the King himself.
Obviously there was a very high regard for Huldah's integrity and authority as a woman of God.
It is interesting to note that the priests turned to a woman for God's Word when many men of God were also advisors to the King. This seems to nullify the idea that women cannot be of use in ministry, especially if no men are available. There were many female prophetesses of God throughout history.
God used Huldah to bear testimony of His Word and deliver His messages from Him to the High Priest and to the King of the Nation.
Huldah instructed these officials in the mind and will of God. The fact of being a woman and a wife was given no thought of prejudice at all. For throughout history, women had always prophesied, worked in the Temple and could take the same vows as the men.
It was most likely she had been consulted before by these officials and they had found the Word of God to be true in her and knew how to value her. She had their respect and confidence.
Huldah was faithful and obedient with her God-given spiritual gifts as she delivered the Word of God to the authorities of her Nation. Huldah prophesied national ruin because of such disobedience to the commandments of God as stated in the Scroll.
Huldah understood her responsibility. The High Priest and Scribe had sought her for God's Word of Wisdom to King Josiah. Her spiritual influence came from a spiritual lifestyle devoted to God and not merely the presence of a spiritual gift. Huldah confirmed from God what Josiah suspected, judgement was to come upon Judah.
Huldah's standing and reputation are confirmed by the fact she was consulted for God's opinion and answer to King Josiah's predicament he had found set before the Nation and she was believed.
King Josiah set out to restore true worship throughout Judah, ridding the nation of pagan idolatry, for once hearing God's Word, he knew the Nation was far from obedient bringing judgement unless there was sincere repentance and a turning toward God.
King Josiah pulled down all pagan altars and removed idol worship. In accordance with the scriptural standards that were read publicly, the pagan cult articles were taken outside Jerusalem and burned, their ashes subsequently constituted a public denunciation of all idolatry. Levitical priests were called from their duties at the various high pagan places throughout Judah and were rendered unfit to officiate in the temple services and they were put on a status with those priests who had bodily defects. The pagan high places of worship were desecrated so that centres of such worship would no longer be maintained. Likewise the pagan altar that was situated at one of Jerusalem's own gates was torn down.
Reforms were thorough. All areas sacred to pagan rites, were desecrated. The horses dedicated to the sun, were disposed of and their chariots burned. Likewise the altars used in astral worship located on the roof of the upper room of The Temple. This action fulfilled the words of the unknown prophet of God to Judah. The former northern kingdom also felt the spiritual renewal as it expanded over the border.
Passover was held in strict accordance with the law. Accordingly, the Passover was celebrated in Jerusalem, the likes of which had not been seen since the years of Samuel, the prophet. (1100 B.C.) Not only was it observed as the law prescribed, but it was celebrated by all Judah and those left remaining in Israel.
The King, Official leaders and the people openly declared to keep the Covenant with God once more and pledged that they would sincerely serve Him.
Although judgement had to come to Judah, God's Words spoken through Huldah were encouraging to the people for they turned away from the pagan ways and rediscovered the Truths of God. The judgement on Judah was delayed.
Huldah's prophetic message and the public reading of God's Word had brought about a spiritual refreshing, resulting in the godly changes throughout the nation. The people recovered the lost truths of Scripture.
All the reforms including the reinstatement of Passover and other religious festivals and ceremonies were based on the information Huldah gave to the King.
Usually God's call to the prophetic ministry is a lonely role, but God never left His people without special guidance. The people were to recognise a true prophet and the false diviners.
Women as well as men are called to the work of a prophet. A true prophet only speaks in the Lord's Name and the words of the Lord do actually happen. In the Old Testament Prophets and prophetesses confronted or counselled a king or a nation to call them back to God in times of apostasy. Not many were heeded but Huldah's was. God's covenant with Israel was if they rejected Him, His blessing and protection would leave them.
Huldah was available for those who wished to inquire of God's Will, inspite of the Nation's backsliden state there were still among them sincere men and women of God. She did not hide her gift for herself, and was used to working with men. She knew as a women she had no need to compete with men, she knew and believed God could use her in His plan and purposes.
Huldah's spiritual influence was far-reaching and directed the destiny of many people.
She was committed to The Word of God, and was distinguished from most of her country's people at a time in history when she was needed of God. The whole Nation was changed by The Word of The Living God.
King Josiah made a public binding agreement to obey all that was commanded in God's Law and the people followed King Josiah's example.
Huldah was God's authoritative agent for God's Word to the highest leader in the land. God freely selects His servants to carry out His Will, rich or poor, male or female, king or slave, it is not a major issue to God to use a female.
Huldah had quickness of mind and ability to rightly discern the true things of God. She was used by God to pronounce and speak His judgement and prophesies, which began one of the greatest national revivals in history.
She is an example of respectful, trustworthy living for wise and effective spiritual ministry.
Huldah was not afraid to act in a time of great apostasy. Just like every other woman of her time, she was a housewife but her spiritual gift did not counteract with her marriage in anyway. She was able to combine the caring of her husband with her responsibility to her King and Nation.
The entire nation was re-impassioned in faithfulness to God because of this devout woman.
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