Martin Luther’s Reformation began in his own heart when he read with new eyes the scripture “The righteous will live by faith” in Romans 1:17 and he finally understood that his good works wouldn’t save him. His interpretation sparked the Protestant Reformation on October 31, 1517. And today happens to be the 500th Anniversary of that event. But do you know who was first to authoritatively validate a written document as God’s Word and whose interpretation resulted in the reformation of an entire nation?
One of my favorite biblical sheroes is the woman prophet Huldah found in 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34. I love to write and speak about her because most people have never heard of her. If you grew up in Sunday School, you probably heard part of the story of good King Josiah as I did. He’s the one who ordered that the temple in Jerusalem be cleaned and restored after the destruction of the previous wicked generations. In the process, a scroll was uncovered in the rubble. After it was read to the king, he sent the high priest and four other men in search of the true meaning of the words on that scroll. (Biblical scholars today believe it was probably the scroll of Deuteronomy explaining God’s law.)
The scripture then tells us that the high priest and these four other men went to the woman prophet Huldah, the wife of one of the king’s servants, to learn what the scroll meant. I don’t know about you, but I never heard that part of the story in Sunday School! (which begs the question, why not?!) Interestingly, there were other prophets in Jerusalem at the time (around 625 BCE) who could’ve been consulted including Jeremiah and Zephaniah, yet the high priest–and maybe even the king himself–chose to consult Huldah instead for an authoritative answer.
Huldah’s influential reputation was surely a result of her diligent study of God’s written word. This story shows God choosing Huldah to be the first person to authenticate a document as God’s written word, making her the person who began the centuries-long process of determining which books would be included in the Bible that Luther would hold in his hand 2,000 years later!
Huldah, the wife of one of the king’s servants, was a woman prophet among well-known men prophets in Jerusalem, AND YET, God chose HER authoritative discernment to identify and communicate God’s truth. The result was that even though her interpretation brought bad news to King Josiah, he was moved to call the nation of Judah back to God.
If you want to be a confident leader like Huldah or Luther, you must have a passion for studying God’s Word. There is no other way to develop God’s gift of discernment.
Join the conversation: Add your thoughts or answer this question, What is a verse that has reformed your thinking?