Still constructing texts from Texts, gleaning a tweet's-worth to carry us through the day, here's something of our to-and-fro. If you'd like to play - 07729056452.
Jg1-2 And the Israelites were doing so well.. Is 'Judges' a helpful title for these characters, how do we picture their contribution? 2v19..worse than before. What stop-gap sticky-plaster solutions do we try to stem sin's flow by? Rather than the inevitability of winding down, vicious and cruel cycles, the lows of which will propel us alaskawards.. rather let us seek and savour a present possible forgivefullness, as much as we oscillate, we may hope to know Christ better than our fathers?
Jg3-5 Loud but temporary leadership exacerbates the cyclicness of our cyclicly sinful lives... Peaking mountain top fervour with ugly war songs to a tribal god to troughs of worshipless indifference. Leadership leadership. How did Moses Joshua do differently in trying to woo faithless Israel from her sin?
Jg6-7 In a mockery of our rationalisms, best intentions and measured ambitions to do good, God here chooses to be known and celebrated through the seemingly imprudent impractical selection of one outnumbered and underqualified. God proceeds to humour and accomodate the doubting reluctant forgetful cowering coward's if-whys and if-thens, that in all He might be known as the sufficient one. The God-hypothesis in which we are adventuring offers to be qualified and proved by signs. In proving a God most other we should anticipate adventure. How?
Jg8 Forgivenesslessness & justify yourself. Forgivenesslessness & vengeance. & we? I can only think of how Jesus inverted subverted converted such a way as this: Turn the other cheek, pray for your enemies; remaking justice, remaking honour, remaking the interpersonal, remaking paradigms of masculinity. Remaking theism from superstition into faith's foulweather endurance, casual idolatry into purity of heart. It ends well.
Jg 9 Violence multiplies, always. Here I would parallel Ab's cruel striving for uncontested leadership to last night's Thessalonican discussion of the now-not-yet dimensions of 2Th2:3-4's lawless one. Paul issues apocalyptic warning because such striving proclivities, such aggressive hierarchies, and the insecurities of ill-wrought and unshared selfish leadership are ruinous in the now. Trees, ESVSB claims this happy quartet of parabolic plants is not an indictment of the institute of kingship. But. It strikes one that the trees would have been more fruitful left in an anarchist's agraria.. Left to produce wine pleasing to a God seemingly partial to a glass, a happy image. Here also we see the measure Ab used measured against him running over in the way of a cleanly consequentialist God of karma?
Jg10-11 Jephthah a hero of faith? His daughter the lesser-known Abraham's Isaac unsaved by faith, a happy ending hard to find. Because of foolish human promise? If your yes is yes & your no no, then be careful, very careful what you promise. We need stories of Isaacs & miracles to increase our faith. to know that with God all things are possible.. but also such stories of senseless tragedy. Were we better at telling these stories would there be less disillusionment, less church pain? Remembering this morning that God is not proud, he will have us even when he is our last resort.
Jg12-13 The slaughter of the lispless siblings: God in a long journeying-with has not dechosen this one so divided within itself and self-destructive. Now Samson. Out of the promise of the miraculous comes 'mission' and 'manner of life'. Such supernatural foundation is the necessary and sufficient for those that would be other than pew fodder, but happily such is the nature of all true new births: we each are ones untimely reborn and as such are enmissioned to such a life that demands/permits/enables that we be remannered. Stop doubting, Phil, and believe. Spirit of God rush upon us.
Jg 14-16 Questions splay out in many directions. If we allow the philistines to represent godlessness, samson still acts in & from deceit, disobedience, greed, lust, small-mindedness, pride & more. Wordplay as a weapon? Such are our heroes of Hebrews. The encouragement again that God uses such as these, we can never be too ugly or unwise to be beyond divine purposing. A warning also that being filled with the spirit does not make us automatically immune to bad & broken decisions. We should never follow even the Godly uncritically or unprayerfully & we should never defer our inalienable responsibility, even to God. Samson shrugging responsibility for his fire foxes rampage, but not as surrender submission. What is my responsibility & what is God's responsibility? Seek wisdom/wisdom comes from the Lord.
Jg17-18 What is kingship? Here Judges, it seems, is written as a cautionary tale by later kings defending kingship? What is kingship and why did/does evil prevail? In the not-yet of our now-and-not-yet, at all the scales at which we lead and are lead, and by all the necessary compromises we employ, falling short of genuine theocracy as we do, is there really an option other than anarchy or acknowledged and intentional kingship? A little lost for application as we near the climax of this lawless spiral.. we, do we, are we settled Levites ever? Priests for hire, sold-out second-besters? Could we be better lead?
Jg 19-21 At a stretch these last three chapters manifest something of sin's state as divided & divisive, the 'double-mindedness' of James 1:8. A sinful heart & its action wars against itself, as in the procrastination of ch19's beginning which I identify in myself – this a self-deception, a compartmentalisation, the deferral of responsibility, an escapist flight from reality. This dividedness playing out in the anger at injustice done where one is complicit, or more than complicit, in its enactment, the picture of this levite's anger at the abuse of the woman he himself 'sent outside' to be so abused an absurdity in its self-deception. And so the dividedness of Israel against itself, the body's civil-warring & the strange grief for their lost tribe at the end, seemingly dissociative in a lack of acknowledging that it was they who brought about these painful circumstances. Dividedness is deceit is darknes. & this may be a picture of my heart & actions. But Christ is the light of the world, all things will be brought into the light.