Saturday, September 1, 2012

finding the law

Good afternoon friends,
I hope you're enjoying this beautiful holiday weekend. Our reading doesn't go with it, but it's worth remembering that Labor Day is a reminder of the hard work of generations who built this country and of those who struggled to win workers the right to safe working conditions. The struggle for justice is always a matter of faith.

The last few days we've been reading about Hezekiah, one of the good Kings of Judah. He was followed by Mannaseh and Uzzah, two bad kings, and then by the hero of today's story, Josiah. It gives us some indication of the spiritual state of Judah that the chief priest can "find" the "Book of the Law." Scholars believe this book may have been an early version of what we now know as Deuteronomy. As soon as Josiah hears the law read, he realizes the kingdom is in big trouble because they have fallen so far from God's calling. He begins exactly how we should always begin when we realize we're living in opposition to God: he repents.

Blessings on your repentance, reflection and recreation,


2 Kings 22:1-13
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. 2He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

3In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, 4“Go up to the high priest Hilkiah, and have him count the entire sum of the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people; 5let it be given into the hand of the workers who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; let them give it to the workers who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, 6that is, to the carpenters, to the builders, to the masons; and let them use it to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the house. 7But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”

8The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he read it. 9Then Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workers who have oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.” Shaphan then read it aloud to the king.

11When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12Then the king commanded the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah, saying, 13“Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

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