In the basement of our house, when I was a kid, was a big wooden box my dad had made where the toy’s that were once my brother and my favorites were stored. Every once and awhile, bored with more recent acquisitions, we would dig through the box and unearth artifacts of past military campaigns, construction projects and other past events. It was almost like getting new ones, but even better because they had memories attached to them. In fact, if you haven’t gone through the box or boxes where your old toys are stored, you should try it. It’s a lot of fun.
King Josiah, as you recall, got rid of all the statues of the false gods (idols) that had made their way into his kingdom during the reign of his father and grandfather. Also, he resolved to restore and repair the temple of the one true God of Israel. It was in bad shape and would require the help of all sorts of construction workers and their tools. Now keep in mind, this occurred many, many years ago and there were no bulldozers or power equipment, only hand tools like shovels, hammers and chisels. But before any work could begin the temple needed a good cleaning. Over the years the temple had become more like your basement or garage, a place where stuff you don’t use anymore or seldom use is stored and often forgotten, until you need it again.
One day while cleaning out the junk that had been stored inside the temple, one of the workers discovered something very exciting indeed. They had no idea how long their discovery had been lost, but I’m sure it was dusty, dirty and looked nothing like it used to. It could have easily been thrown away with the rest of the trash, but God had something else in mind. After they examined it carefully they discovered that what they had found was a book, but not any book, but the most important book of all! Now keep in mind that books back then didn’t look like books today, they looked more like a roll of paper towels and instead of turning pages, you unrolled them. They were called a scroll. Now what they had discovered was the Book of Moses, the book that contained part of what we call the bible. Today there are millions of copies of the bible all over the world, in fact you probably have one in your house right now, but back then, this was the only one copy in the whole world. Imagine, if it had been thrown away with the rest of the trash, we wouldn’t have much of what we call the bible to read, today. But God wouldn’t allow the story of Him and His people to be discarded for eternity, instead it was God’s plan to protect and preserve it, even for you and me. Yes, God had you and me in mind when he didn’t allow His story to be destroyed. But if the Book of Moses is so important and valuable, how and why was it tossed into a pile trash?
In the Book of Moses there is a list of rules that all of us are to obey, if we wish to please God, they are called the Ten Commandments. The list had been given to Moses many years before by God and was to be passed on to all future generations. I’m sure there are things and ideas that have been told or given to you from either your grandfather or great grandfather, or maybe your grandmother or great grandmother. Now that you know or have them, you can someday pass them on to your children in much the same way. When my father died, I gave my sons and daughter special things that once belonged to him with the expectation that they would value them and keep them for their children. There was a coin collection, old guns, pictures even jewelry but even more important are the stories and memories about Grandpa Jim.
Well, this list of rules given by God has always caused problems for people and still does today. In fact, they’re a problem for you and me, as well. The list includes things like, do not steal, do not lie and a real tough one; do not tell lies about other people. The real tough one, for Josiah’s father and grandfather, was not to worship other god’s except the one true God of Israel. That’s the one they couldn’t keep and the one that caused the most of their problems. The god’s of Israel’s neighbors had no problem with stealing, killing and lying, but why? Because their gods were made up, pretend, and the rules they passed along to their children were not to please the one true God, only themselves. Their most important rule was that they themselves made the rules and not God.
I can remember when I was a kid, my parents would often give me rules that I didn’t like and sometimes when they weren’t looking, I would disobey and do what I was told not to do. More often than not, I would get caught and then punished. The rules my parents made for my brother and I weren’t unfair, although we often felt they were. They were rules made for the purpose of keeping me safe and to help us recognize and understand right and wrong. It is the same with God’s rules and why it’s good to read them and remember them. They can be found in The Book of Moses; Exodus, chapter twenty and Deuteronomy, chapter five.
- You shall have no other gods besides me (the real God).
- You shall not make for yourself an idol (something to worship besides God).
- You shall not misuse God’s name.
- Remember the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and keep it holy (go to church and make Sunday special).
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not be unfaithful (keep your promises).
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not lie or lie about other people.
- You shall not want or desire what doesn’t belong to you.
Home Project: Get several pieces of paper and copy the Ten Commandments onto them or have your mom or dad help you if you can’t write yet. Maybe you can draw a picture on them as well. Roll them up to make a scroll and then tie a ribbon or string around them to keep them rolled up. Tie a bow like you do when tying your shoes. Your scrolls will be just like the ones Josiah’s helpers found in the temple.