Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 158: II Chron 23-25; Psalm 128; I Corinthians 3

A Game of Thrones
On the morning dog walk, my wife and I were talking about the day's readings, and she raised a parallel that I had missed to date. Between the popular premium cable mini-series and our current peregrinations in the histories of Israel and Judah before the exile, there is a lot in common between "Game of Thrones" and the reigns of the men and women who succeeded David and Solomon to rule the divided land and people chosen of God as a light to the nations.

The fall of the Queen-Mother Athaliah
The span of time across these chapter groupings in the second book of the Chronicles is decades, but in the narrative it feels like a quick succession of dramatic events. A king purges his enemies and uses political alliances to effect a consolidation of his rule. Another focuses on obtaining legitimacy via a religious revival. When one king is assassinated, his mother immediately orders the death of the entire royal family and seizes the throne. A high priest sees the writing on the wall and hides the last, living legitimate heir; and, after arranging for the entire priestly class' support he stages a reverse coup and via his regency of the child-king is able to draw the people back to the faith of their ancestors (and back into God's favor). Then, when the child-king grows up and the high priest grows old and dies, the priest's son is rejected and killed by the king who then indulges in the apostasy of some of his advisors and once again allows Judah to stray from the paths of righteousness his ancestor David asked of his heirs.

Toss in some battle scenes, and you have a summer blockbuster movie.

I am not attempting to sensationalize the biblical narrative. Still, it is notable that in our ongoing relationship with God through the ages the drama and impact of our struggle to find the right way to live within the bounds of God's love for us in community seems to lead us back to internecine drama akin to the wildest season finales we might see today on television. Let's not forget, though, that while mini-series are fiction, these tales abide at the heart's core of our walk through life as the people of God. These dramas stand as object lessons  of what happens when we strive for the justice and peace of faith in God...and the sour fruits that are harvested when we cultivate, if you will, the grapes of wrath.....

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