This Bible stuff sure is funny

15 Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer —Ehud , a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit[d] long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. 19 But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”
The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.
20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace[e] and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch[f]; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.
26 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.
28 “Follow me,” he ordered, “for the Lord has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands. ” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.

Reasons This is the Best:
1. It is affirming towards the underrepresented left-handed population
2. It is like five kinds of gross
3. “I have a message from God for you.” What a line.
4. Ehud just shuts the doors and strolls away like the BAMF he is
5. “They waited to the point of embarrassment” – funny and gross

No one ever preaches Judges. Which honestly makes sense, I mean, there are moms in your audience who won’t let their kids play such violent games as Frogger, and besides there’s not much of an insightful theological point to be made here. “The Hebrew word for “fat” can also be translated…” Yeah, no.

But it’s there, and how are we supposed to talk about all this graphic violence? And stuff? These stories are pretty entertaining [entirely apart from all that sticky love-your-enemies stuff], but ultimately the parts about God are fairly repetitive. Israelites abandon God, God lets them get punished, Israelites cry and say they’re sorry, God sends a judge to rescue them in the most spectacular possible way. Israelites abandon God, etc. etc.

I guess that’s the point. The repetitiveness (?) itself. God is faithful; the Israelites are unfaithful. Isn’t that ultimately the whole Old Testament? It’s not the most earth-shattering thing to blog preach, but this story is repeated so many times in the Bible, it might bear more repetition in church.

I think sometimes we act like God invented forgiveness when Jesus died. But we’re all constantly reliving the Israelites’ story; God is faithful, we are unfaithful. Isn’t there a lot of security in that? I’ll be the first to say that we can and should live up to our calling, just as the Israelites were really expected to do their best to keep the law and not worship other gods. And yet when they failed and repented, YHWH was delighted to take them back. Every. Time. It’s who he is.

Maybe I spend too much time debating Wesleyan and Calvinist views of humanity and fallenness with myself. Whether we mostly can or totally can’t be obedient in this life, it almost doesn’t matter in the context of this steady, loving God. He is always there, always growing us, always picking us back up. Infinitely patient and strong enough to save us from ourselves.

[to be continued probably.]

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1 Comment

  1. Amen. Beautifully written … which considering the whole blade-through-the-fat part, is quite the feat.

    For people who struggle with a sense of undeserving-ness, you offer a great reminder of where things actually stand.


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