Friday, April 12, 2013
The Bible Challenge: Day 102
The scriptures read are 1 Samuel 16-18, Psalm 85 and John 20.
1 Samuel 15. Saul goes up against the Amalekites but lets his men keep some plunder. That's the last straw and God rejects him as king. Samuel nevertheless grieves for Saul.
1 Samuel 16. God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem and anoint the next king. Samuel goes to a guy named Jesse with a lot of sons. But every one he presents, God rejects. Turns out Jesse didn't call his youngest in from the field, where he was shepherding the sheep. That's the one God wants. People judge based on externals; God looks at the heart. (There is a tradition that David was a ginger, though.)
As soon as the God's Spirit enters David, it leaves Saul. Saul gets depressed and one of his servants knows of this young harpist named...David. Saul likes him. So David plays his harp when Saul is in one of his depressive moods. Kinda ironic; kinda sad.
1 Samuel 17. A really big Philistine named Goliath (How big? About the size of this guy here) starts trash talking the Israelites. He offers to settle the whole matter between the two peoples if an Israelite will just go mano a mano with him. No takers.
David is bringing provisions to some of his brothers who are in the army. He hears Goliath's trash talk and is unimpressed. Some of the troops tell him whoever takes down Goliath gets a reward and the king's daughter, to boot. David is interested. Besides he's taken on bears and lions while protecting his sheep. He's even killed them bare-handed. Is David inflating his resume a tad? Is he bragging a bit?
Saul tells David why he can't go up against the giant but David is determined. Saul puts his armor on David but Saul's a big guy himself and David can't move in all that gear. He just takes his staff, sling and some stones. He's gonna need stones to go up against giant Goliath of Gath.
You know the rest. Zip! Bam! Chop! Goliath just got shorter. Saul asks Abner to get the info on this kid and his family.
Psalm 85. An appeal for God to forgive his people and restore the nation. Best lines: "Faithfulness and truth meet; justice and peace kiss. Truth springs up from the earth; justice looks down from heaven." Remember, justice and peace are often at odds. To obtain justice, you sometimes have to disrupt the carefully kept peace. To keep peace, justice is sometimes ignored. But in God's kingdom, the two come together.
John 20. John's account of the resurrection is not only the most detailed but is a beautifully told story. John ignores the other women and focuses on Mary of Magdala, a woman who was very ill when Jesus healed her (he cast 7 demons out of her). So Mary feels very indebted to Christ and is clearly very upset by the disappearance of his body.
Her grief is palpable and so is her joy. I like Peterson's translation of "Don't cling to me" rather than the traditional "Do not touch me." She is so happy she can't let go of him. He's saying, "I'm still here! Ease up."
P.S. Note the carefully constructed Biblical symmetry. A man and a woman in a garden, a new creation...ring any bells?
Another famous story: doubting Thomas. I don't think Thomas' problems were intellectual so much as emotional. He was the one who said, "Let's go to Jerusalem and die with him." I think he can't let himself believe that deeply again, not on the word of grief-crazed women and friends. Only when he sees Jesus, big as life, can the relief of belief come flooding back into his own life.