Preaching the historical books
Expository Thoughts has a good post reflecting on a chapter in Preaching from the Old Testament. This has a lot to do with preaching in a way that honors God as the subject of the text.
From her perspective, these books should be preached from a theological and historical perspective, over against personalizing, moralizing, and/or allegorizing them. Let's take these one at a time…
First, I could not agree with Kaminski more when she states that "these books are not simply narrating history – they are telling a theological story that is communicated through narrative" (59). Thus, our sermons should not simply be recounting historical events within an outline designed to bring moral principles to our 21st-century audience. I have in mind here the multiple series of sermons I have heard throughout my life about leadership and building the walls from Nehemiah, not to mention abuses of such stories as David and Goliath. In light of such abuses, Kaminski is right to call for preaching that is careful to place the narrative within the "redemptive story" of the Bible.
As a helpful example of this, Kaminski uses the story of Jericho, of which she correctly surmises that the intent of the story is not that God has promised that the "walls" of our life will fall down. As she points out, to preach the story that way could possibly give false hope to those who hear it: What happens if their "walls" don't fall down? Are they not having enough faith? She rightly concludes:
While the story of Jericho clearly underscores the importance of faith, it is ultimately a story about God and his faithfulness. We can affirm that the God who was faithful to Joshua . . . is our God. (61)
We've all heard (or preached) messages like she describes: leadership lessons from Nehemiah, or how to handle the giants of life from David and Goliath. Kaminski shows a much better way.