Friday, January 13
It’s amazing, when you love a book or a movie how much you can pour over it to soak it all in. In nerd culture, of which I am most decidedly a part, people discuss and debate and argue over things we find in the stuff we like. There are always questions as a matter of taste (changing something from book to movie form and how books have a 99.999% chance of being better). In the universes we love, there are strange theories. (Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars is a Sith Lord, or so some people say). There are even theories for Children’s Films (I personally believe that the Troll’s cursed Prince Hans into his betrayal of Anna in Disney’s Frozen.) While you may think these are dumb or take them super serious, they all hold something in common. The people who make up fan theories have poured over the source material so they don’t miss anything.
It’s hard to do this when we are reading through the Bible in a year, but the same thing happens in Scripture. When you know a general idea of the whole story, little details pop up that are fascinating. Notice that the children of the cursed Ham happen to be Egypt, a nation of oppressors, and Canaan, the ones God commanded the Israelites to kill. (Gen. 11) Today’s reading does the same thing. These verses are Psalm 108:7-9. I know I have tended to read them like this: “I will divide up [bad person/place], I will apportion [bad place]… Judah [I know that good place] is my scepter, [bad place?] is my wash basin.” You get the idea. But that is a sad way to read it. Don’t miss what God is trying to tell us.
—Shechem was a terrible man who did a terrible thing to a woman in Israel. (Gen. 34) God gave victory to the sons of Jacob over Shechem. God is saying I will divide up and give to my holy ones the land/wealth of the evil.
— The people of Succoth did not help Gideon, the valiant warrior of God. God gave victory to Gideon in multiple ways, one being humiliating the princes of Succoth and killing the men of their towns. (Judges 8) God will grant victory to his people over their enemies.
— By referencing Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah, God is saying that Both the Northern and the South Kingdoms are his. If David wrote this psalm, then it is a condemnation on the Northern tribes for breaking away from the rulers in Judah.
— Moab tried to stop Israel from dwelling in the Land God had promised to them and God struck them down. Edom also refused to allow Israelites to travel through their land.
— The Philistines (descendants of Egypt, according to Gen. 10) were what seems to be the arch-rivals of Israel’s claim on their ancient Land.
Just getting a small amount of information opens up so much about the text of the Bible. The truth is that it is good to read fast and cover a lot of material, but it is also good to read slowly and deeply and soak it in. Don’t let one overshadow the other, because if you read a lot it will help you read deeply. So, the next time you come to a list of names, or a bunch of cities, or weird visions, DON’T SKIP IT. Who knows what God expects you to find?
(Photo credit: http://www.psalmsquotes.com/psalm-107-14-quote.htm)