Monday, November 30, 2009

86: When God Speaks, He Sounds Like Man

1 Samuel 1-3
Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life. - God, 1 Samuel 2:33

As usual, these sections begin with a woman (this time Hannah) who cannot have children. Hannah makes a deal, that if God gives her a child she will "give him to the Lord for all the days of his life". Great, I'm sure he'll appreciate that. So much for not bargaining with God. I wonder how many children I would have to dedicate to God for him to make me have a child. Now that would be miraculous.

When she finally does have a child (the bible says it didn't immediately happen, maybe God had to think about the deal for awhile) she names him Samuel and gives him to Eli, a priest. Eli has wicked sons. They eat meat offerings before the fat is burned. How dare they! If that's wicked, then what is destroying entire civilizations and killing women and children? Oh, that's God.

Eli goes to his sons and tells them to behave. They won't listen to him. That's not especially surprising, but what is surprising is why the bible says they wont listen to him:
His sons, however, did not listen to their father's rebuke, for it was the Lord's will to put them to death.
Why is God able to take away people's free will for some things and not others? And why does he only take away people's free will so he can kill them?

Because they won't listen (God won't let them), God says that they will no longer be priests, and he will find someone else to take their place. Hmm, I wonder who that could be? God is punishing them for something he himself has done to them. Great.

Chapter 3 is titled "The Lord Calls Samuel". Though it probably should be titled "Eli Calls Samuel". The chapter starts out by saying that visions of God were rare in those days. They're pretty rare (read: non-existant) these days as well.

God (supposedly) calls Samuel. Instead of Samuel asking who the hell is talking to him, he immediately goes to Eli and asks what he wants. Either Eli sounds exactly like God, or it's Eli talking. This happens two more times, each time Eli denies that he's said anything. Finally, Eli tells him to go into the other room and lie down and God will talk to him some more. Yeah, right. God can't talk in the same room with Eli, and the person talking sounds exactly like Eli? I smell bullshit. "God" tells Samuel that the house of Eli will never be atoned for because of the sins of Eli's sons.

When Samuel comes into the other room Eli makes him repeat his conversation with God lest God deal with Samuel harshly. Why wouldn't God just talk to both of them if he wanted both of them to hear the conversation? Now Eli doesn't even have to pretend he doesn't know what was said in Samuel's conversation with "God".

Samuel becomes widely known as a prophet. I'm eager to see if God speaks to Samuel when Eli isn't around.

*News*
Can you imagine a science teacher convicted of murder being allowed out of his cell once a week to tell the other inmates about science? Me neither. But if a convicted murderer wants to get out of his cell once a week to minister, that's perfectly fine.

Howard Thompson Jr. has sued his prison and won the right to continue his "ministry". What if his religion said he couldn't be imprisoned at all? Do we have to respect that religion too? I think, if you murder someone, some of your rights should be taken away. That's how punishment works.

I'm not saying he can't have a bible, and believe in Jesus, or Allah, or Santa. But why should he get special permissions (to preach publicly) that the other prisoners are not afforded?

(via The Baltimore Sun)

1 comment:

  1. The Need for a King

    With the closing of the book of Judges, the tribes have almost destroyed themselves. Anarchy, civil war, and immorality prevailed when there was no king—hence the refrain, “There was no king in Israel. Everybody did that which was right in his own eyes.” However, the book of judges showed also that when a human individual started to function like a king he was most often corrupt and not concerned with righteousness, justice, and equity. Furthermore, a dynastic kingship (i.e. Gideon then his son-Abimelech) was disastrous. Following the plot line started in Gen 3, the seed of the serpent seems to continually be winning over the seed of the woman.

    The books of 1 & 2 Samuel now will begin to address the “need for a king” and the beginning of the Israelite monarchy. Initially, Samuel would be the judge who came closest to reigning over all Israel. Samuel does begin to redirect the sad period of the judges into a different direction. He like Samson was the offspring of a barren woman. He like Samson was “dedicated” to the Lord. Samuel’s mother Hannah, unlike Samson’s mother, is humble and meek and seems to know the Lord. Thus Hannah is exalted (1 Sam 2). Samuel, like Samson, starts off not knowing the Lord (i.e. the comedic story about “Who said that?”). But Samuel blossoms into the fountain head of the prophets like Moses who would receive the word of God (which was rare in those days) and pass it on to the kings.

    Hannah’s Song (chapter 2) and David’s Songs (2 Sam 22-23) form the bookends of the message of 1 & 2 Samuel. That message, in answer to the people’s need for a king, is that God would establish His rule by a special “anointed” one (Hebrew: “Messiah”) that He alone will exalt (2 Sam 2:10).

    Yet each human “anointed one” in 1 & 2 Samuel will inevitably fail to bring in God’s Kingdom on earth and establish a reign characterized by justice, equity, and righteousness. David and Solomon for a time seem to come the “closest.”

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