Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. (2 Kings 22:8)
Cancel Culture Among The Jews
Ahaz was the 12th king of Judah after the division of the kingdom following the death of Solomon. Half of the kings before Ahaz had ruled seeking to serve the Lord, but Ahaz followed the ways of the northern kings of Israel. He offered his son as a burnt offering following all the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out from before the children of Israel. After sixteen years, his son, Hezekiah, took his place, ruling for 29 years seeking the Lord. What followed next spiraled the southern tribes into fifty-five years of immorality, decadence, and wickedness almost unparalleled in Israel’s history. Manasseh did evil in the sight of the Lord like the nations around him, including human sacrifice, Baal worship, idols in the Temple and courts, witchcraft, and he did much evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carved image of Asherah in the House of God. The record says that Hezekiah shed very much innocent blood till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another. His son, Amon, was twenty-two years old when he became king and, like his father, did evil in the sight of the Lord. At the age of twenty-four, his servants killed him in his own house. His son Josiah began to reign at the age of eight.
In the eighteenth year of king Josiah, Hilkiah, the high priest, made a startling discovery. Josiah did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and during a renovation of the Temple, Hilkiah found the book of the Law in the house of the Lord. The scribe Shaphan read the words of the book to King Josiah, and upon hearing its words, the king tore his clothes. Josiah began one of the most important reformations towards true worship and, for a time, brought respite to the people of God. It seems remarkable the people of God would be surprised to find the Book of the Law but earlier, when kings like Ahaz, Manasseh, and Amon defiled the Temple, they removed the Ark of the Covenant and the Book of the Law. Shaphan, the scribe, read the book as if it were the first time he had knowledge of the book. Even King Josiah reacted like a man who had never heard the words of the book. Both men acted as if it were a new thing. The nation of Israel had canceled the word of God, embracing the culture of immorality, sensuality, materialism, and personal rights.
The results of the “cancel culture” have been profound in every generation. There is a refusal to accept anything that may speak against the norms of culture. In the days of Israel as a divided nation, the anthem of cancellation was the national cry of those who despised the word of God. Kings like Manasseh filled the land with homosexuality, gender equality without distinctions, transgenderism, drunkenness, corruption, the murder of innocents, abuse of the elderly, and suppression of those who stand for truth and righteousness. The word of God was canceled, and the people suffered because of it. Nothing could be done to destroy the word, but the land experienced a drought of spiritual enlightenment as the word of God was canceled.
Recently, Dr. Seuss has faced harsh critics of the cancel culture. This comes in the face of racial bias seeking elevating one group, denouncing criticism of sexual preferences, hatred for those in authority, and a general distrust for religion. The cancellation of Dr. Seuss is systemic to what is coming over the horizon when government officials begin to cancel those who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not going to happen on the shores of Russia or Iran but the country that has long held dear the rights of individuals to preach the unchangeable message of God’s love and the clear eternal truth of His wrath. There may not be much that will drive back the forces of Satan seeking to imprison the preaching of righteousness, but more a test to see how resolved the souls of the faithful will be to keep preaching the truth.
It is not out of bounds to consider a day when someone finds a Bible in this land and reads it for the first time. There is no doubt the country’s leadership has not read the Bible or believes in the wrath of God. The irony is found in man’s failed wisdom that seeks to cancel what cannot be taken away. God’s word is settled in Heaven. Will the Lord take His word away from this country and give it to a people like the Nicaraguans who hunger for truth so that His word can be spread throughout the world? Is there a day coming when missionaries from a foreign land will come to America to teach the gospel to a people who canceled the word? Dr. Seuss is only the tremor of what is coming.