Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 131

The scriptures read are 2 Kings 10-12, Psalm 109 and Acts 24.

2 Kings 10. The bloody beginning of the reign of Jehu. I sometimes think that parts of the Old Testament like this are enacted parables for those folks who prefer a more macho God who kicks butt and takes names and is pure justice, uncontaminated with mercy. If you've ever wanted God to just get rid of all the bad guys, no exceptions, this is what it would look like. Piles of heads, rivers of blood. Not the peace of well-being but the peace of the grave. Or do you prefer the tack he takes with Jesus: a Kingdom of God, based on forgiveness and love and voluntarily becoming a citizen?

2 Kings 11. The boy king, hidden from the evil usurper. George R.R. Martin, Alexander Dumas, Thomas Malory, you owe the Bible some royalties.

2 Kings 12. Joash turns out to be not a bad king. He straightens out temple finances and makes sure the offerings given for its renovations actually go to that project. On the other hand, he loots the temple of all gold to give it to Hazael king of Aram to make him go away. In the end he is assassinated on a stroll, age 47. Sad end for the (once) boy king.

Psalm 109. Attributed to David, this psalm asks God to curse the psalmist's enemies with the same actions that they treat the writer. May they know what they do to others feels like, a very poetical justice indeed. After reading about David and all of the various kings' enemies and palace intrigues, you understand why the psalms dwell on prayers to God about enemies. Read about any ancient, medieval or Renaissance royal and you realize it is not always good to be king. It is a precarious perch. (Right, Mary, Queen of Scots?)

Acts 24. Paul gets to state his case before Felix. But as a politician, Felix just lets things go on and on without resolution. Paul is safe but not free. But he is getting to tell people, high and influential people, about Jesus.

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