Monday, November 23, 2015

Josiah Reform: 2 Kings 22

This passage is found in the Narrative Lectionary for Advent 1, year 2 (Most recently Nov 29, 2015).

Note:  My hope is to make this passage helpful for Advent 1 preaching.
My approach to this passage for Advent 1 will be to talk about the gift that is Advent.  By gift I do not mean some sort of rigid battle against Christmas in our church or homes for four weeks.  Rather by gift I mean the reminder and invitation to focus on Christ these coming weeks.  How can our home and house be a dwelling place of God?  I think a sharper Advent message about repentance is possible; this year I will focus on the gift of Advent, home devotions and worship of Christ.

בית ("bet" meaning "house": 22:4,5,6):  The word of the temple here is the house of God. We often call our churches houses of worship, but house of God?  The description, in both its "everyday-ness" but also its "holiness" is a fertile juxtaposition.  How can our church be a house of God?  How can our own homes be a house of God?  Part of Advent  is the grand theme of preparing our life for the second coming of Christ.  Perhaps a more realistic assignment is preparing our homes for company.  A happy middle -- preparing our homes to celebrate the first coming of Christ?!

חלדה ("Huldah", 22:14)  Just a reminder we have a prophetess here.  This like 600 BC and we have women speaking the truth to power.

נתנ ("nathan" meaning "give"; 22:5,8,9, 10)  This word can be tricky to spot, in spite of the fact that it is one the most common Hebrew words in the Bible.  The word is tricky first because linguistically "n"s tend to disappear when prefixes or suffixes get attached.  (This is true in English and Latin - con-operation becomes cooperate, e.g.)  This word is also tricky to spot because it is often translated in different ways (to avoid repetition of the word 'give').

In this passage, נתנ can mean "entrust" as in vs 5 when Josiah orders the money given (entrusted) to the supervisors and eventually workers.  It can also mean "present" when the priest is presented with the book of the Law (vs 10).  I think this gets at a lot having to do with money:  it is a gift that it also something with which we are entrusted.  It also gets at the law:  It is a gift, a present to us.

קרב ("qareb" meaning "tear", 22:11)  This is a traditional sign of repentance, also cited in Joel 2:13.  If one wanted to focus on repentance during Advent, this would be a great place to start.

A little bonus:
גדר ("gadar" meaning "build esp a wall" vs 22:6)  Used here to make a noun, in the form of the
"the one who..."  we have the word "the one who builds of a wall" or "mason."  This then is awesome in that the money is given over to the masons who help recover lost wisdom in the bowels of the temple.

A leadership bonus I:
When people have both skills and are entrusted by leadership, great things happen

Reforms and human covenants do not last forever.  They are still good.

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