Friday, January 27, 2006

unsettling at best

in the matter of uriah the hittite, i've heard nothing.

but today's reading brought this to my attention:
Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured this royal city. He sent messengers to David with the word: "I have fought against Rabbah and have taken the water-city. Therefore, assemble the rest of the soldiers, join the siege against the city and capture it, lest it be I that capture the city and it be credited to me."(ii samuel 12:26-29)

whoa! what utter selflessness on behalf of Joab. come capture the city before it is credited to me. this word makes my head spin. to willingly lay down the victory and hold the spoils out for an offering to the king is something i had never even imagined.

this blessing comes upon the heels of the firstborn of david and bathsheba dying.

the thing that keeps me reading the bible is that there is always fresh revelation. it is never day old bread.

the passage continues:
So David assembled the rest of the soldiers and went to Rabbah. When he had fought against it and captured it, he took the crown from Milcom's head. It weighed a talent, of gold and precious stones; it was placed on David's head. He brought out immense booty from the city, and also led away the inhabitants, whom he assigned to work with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, or put to work at the brickmold. This is what he did to all the Ammonite cities. David and all the soldiers then returned to Jerusalem. (vv. 29-31)

i must confess, i have thought more about securing the spoils of victory than offering them up as a sacrifice. i fought this battle. i besieged the city. and now you want the credit? how many times have i heard that line in church? i've said that line in church and been irked by it. it never even occurred to me that there could be another way of looking at it.

just when i think i understand, i begin to follow the path God is taking me. i am becoming familiar with the terrain, He lays another one like this on me. and i shudder in disbelief.

this deeply unsettling passage reminds me of the higher order of the Kingdom. the upsidedownness of it all.

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