King Josiah and his son, king Jehoiakim (cf. Jer. 36:1), reacted to the reading of God’s Word in two vastly different ways:
Josiah – “And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes” (2 Kings 22:11).
Jehoiakim – “Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (Jer. 36:22-23).
God took note of their differing responses:
Josiah – “But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD” (2 Kings 22:18-19)
Jehoiakim – “Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words” (Jer. 36:24).
God dealt with each king according to how he responded to His Word:
Josiah – “Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again” (2 Kings 22:20).
Jehoiakim – “And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not” (Jer. 36:29-31).
God notes how we respond to His Word and will deal with us accordingly. Let us be like Josiah in receiving the Word of God.