Tuesday, December 22, 2009

108: Nevermore

1 Kings 15-17
The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. - 1 Kings 17:6

Most of this section is just a list of kings that ruled Israel. I'll probably spare you and not go into much detail on most of these, this section isn't very exciting. All these paragraphs end with "As for the other events of [king]'s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?". I guess we'll never know.

Abijah becomes king for a short time. He was bad and worshiped false idols. He has a war with Jeroboam (who was still king of Judah at the time) and gets killed.

Asa then becomes king of Israel. He follows all of God's commands. The first thing he does is gets rid of the male shrine prostitutes. Not the female shrine prostitutes, of course, those are perfectly ok.

Then we have Nadab. Another bad one. He kills all of Jeroboam's family (maybe Jeroboam himself?).

I'll just list the rest, they're all bad and they don't do anything very exciting. Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab (the worst of them all).

Elijah goes to Ahab and says that there will be no rain in the land unless he says so. Elijah then runs away to hide. Ravens then start bringing him bread and meat. This seems like some strange Disney movie.

Later Elijah goes to stay with a poor woman. She only has a small container of flour and a small container of oil. Elijah tells her to use it, and no matter how much she uses it never runs out. The woman's son then becomes ill and dies.

Elijah carries the dead son upstairs and lays him on the bed. He prays for God to bring the boy back to life and the boy lives. It's a zombie! Run!

Yesterday we had a story about shoplifting bibles. Today we have a story about a priest telling his congregation that it's ok to shoplift. Coincidence? (Probably)

Father Tim Jones said this to his congregation:
My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.

I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses, but from national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

When people are released from prison, or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks and weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.

We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime.
What?! First and most obvious, what happened to thou shall not steal? Second, is he actually giving advice on the best places to steal things from?

I really want a new car. I don't have the money. Obviously the only option is for me to steal it. And as long as I steal it from a large car dealership it will be perfectly ok with Father Tim Jones.

(via BBC News)

1 comment:

  1. Bryan,

    The “theft-condoning” priest should read the 10 commandments and then let the poor steal from him or better yet organize a charity for the poor. This is abject foolishness and the priest should be let go.

    Regarding the Elijah narrative:

    Eli-jah means “my God” (Eli) is “Yahweh” (Yah/jah is short for Yahweh). The “devolution” of the northern kingdom, Israel, is no surprise. Jeroboam started down the path of idolatry in 1 Kings 12-13. And, all the kings since him have been “bad” with Ahab being the worst of the bunch so far. At the end of this way/path is Yahweh, the roaring lion, who will enforce His covenant with them.

    Ahab intermarries with a woman, Jezebel, who is from the Mecca of Baalism—Phoenicia. Ahab and Jezebel replace or at least mix “Yahwehism alone” with “Baalism.” As a violation of the covenant, Yahweh, raises up a “prophet-like Moses,” a covenant enforcer, whose name is “MY GOD IS YAHWEH”—Elijah, in order to point the king and the people back to the covenant.

    A little background information will help make this story come alive. The god Baal is the “storm” god. Why does this story have to do with rain? Yahweh will strike at the heart of this system geographically (sending Elijah to Sidon—a primary city in Phoenicia) and ideologically (withhold the storms/rain).

    Elijah is basically a fugitive because Ahab and Jezebel have issued an edict that all the prophets of Yahweh are to be killed. We don’t find this out until the next chapter. But Yahweh sends Elijah to Sidon, Phoenicia and there in a widow’s house in the geographical Mecca of Baalism, Yahweh does what apparently Baal cannot—sustains the widow and brings life from death. The account is peppered with the phrase “As Yahweh lives” in ironic contrast to the dead/non-existent Baal. The “signs” of the Elijah establish him as a true prophet/man of God like Moses and the foreign woman recognizes this and believes.

    The account is also peppered with “according to the Word of Yahweh”—an echo of I Kings 13 and the covenant He established with His people. Elijah essentially “lives" by the Word of God. We will see the covenant aspect and “living" not by bread and drink alone but "according to the word of God” come to forefront again in the next chapter when Elijah runs down to Mt Horeb/Sinai in fear for his life. Mt. Horeb/Sinai is where Moses, the covenant mediator, established the covenant.



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