In thanksgiving… for the Word Received
In thanksgiving… for the Word Received (2 Kings 22)
Mr. Mark Einselen
As we continue to consider thankfulness in this devotional series, we turn to 2 Kings chapter 22. Today we will study it with a focus on “The Word received.”
This passage follows the account of how the boy king, Josiah, was preceded by two wicked kings of Judah (Manasseh and Amon). When Josiah ascended to the thrown at eight years old, he didn't have first-hand experience of what a good king looked like. The opening verses, however, state that he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. This should be encouraging for every first-generation Christian. The inheritance of God's grace is received by faith, not by human lineage.
As we will see, God's law was not commonly known at the time. Temple worship had continued, however, and the Jewish priesthood was still practicing in Jerusalem. Despite not being familiar with the law, Josiah acted on what he did know. He saw that the house of the Lord was in disrepair and set about providing for its restoration. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of us. It is wise to simply begin by getting our place of worship cleaned up.
While making architectural repairs, Hilkiah the high priest uncovered the Book of the Law. Whether it had been left in the dust by uninterested caretakers, hidden by those who wanted to safeguard it during previous turbulent generations, or cast aside by those who disregarded it, its discovery was unexpected.
King Josiah was immediately alerted of this great surprise. His outward response to the reading of it displayed his internal reaction. He tore his clothes to signify the tearing of his heart. His soul had been pierced with the message of the Law. This message was that mankind was fallen. Not just in a general sense, but in a deeply personal way. Josiah was fallen. The Law explained the deficiency we all have. Josiah understood the severity of his own sin. This belief led to action. He sent the high priest and other trusted officials to inquire of Huldah, a prophetess.
Huldah spoke assurances that God had heard Josiah's prayers, had seen his humbleness, and knew his heart was penitent. God would be merciful. Destruction would not come during Josiah's reign. 2 Kings 22 concludes here but Josiah went on to recognize his responsibility as a leader. He assembled the elders of Judah and made a covenant before all in Jerusalem.
The lessons for us today are innumerable. God's word presents a challenge to each modern reader. The Law tells us the same news it told Josiah: we are sinful. I am sinful. This is indeed a humbling truth to comprehend. Understanding it will bring our knees to the floor and tears to our eyes. For God's word does not simply tell us of our sin. It says God has come to us, to our world, and to our humanness. It tells us that God has mercy upon the penitent believer.
This message elicits a response from us. Will we submit ourselves to God's law? Will we entrust our salvation unto Him who is perfect? Will we proclaim this truth to those around us? To receive God's word is to graciously act on it in these ways. May we each joyfully do so and surrender ourselves to God's marvelous mercy.
Our traditional Anglican liturgy ingrains thankfulness in us as we collectively receive God's word. The next time we hear, “This is the word of the Lord” may we sincerely respond, “Thanks be to God.”
Mr. Mark Einselen
Junior Warden of the Anglican Church of the Ascension in Indianapolis, Indiana, a parish in the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word, a diocese in the Anglican Church in North America.
“Lord God, heavenly Father,
we most heartily thank you
that by your Word
you have brought us out of the darkness of error
into the light of your grace.
Mercifully help us to walk in that light,
guard us from all error and false doctrine
and grant that we may not become ungrateful
and despise and persecute your Word,
as your people did long ago,
but receive it with all our heart,
govern our lives according to it
and put all our trust in your grace
through the merit of your dear Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one true God, now and forever. ”
 Source: Veit Dietrich, d. 1549, Trinity 25 / Reformation
Source of this version: The Collects of Veit Dietrich in Contemporary English © 2016 Paul C. Stratman
This revision/translation of The Collects of Veit Dietrich is licensed by Paul C. Stratman under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.