Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bible Personages I wanna meet in heaven

Of course there is Jesus. I definitely want to meet him in all his glorious wonderfulness in heaven. The apostle Paul as well. I like the way he was so human and the way he whined in all his epistles. I like Daniel too. Daniel was so stalwart. And Moses. Moses is one of my absolute faves. I adore his patience, his writing style, his spiritual understanding that the blessing often goes to the one who doesn't deserve it. Also Samuel, who really is just unswerving (for the most part) and Elijah. Elijah's showdown with the prophets of Baal then his virtual nervous breakdown as he fled. Yeah, I love those guys.

But I gotta say I also want to meet some folks other Christians might not want to meet.

I want to meet Lot's wife. She had to flee her home and leave behind her married daughters and their husbands. Lot tarried, she tarried. Why did they tarry? The English Bible isn't clear. Either she had 4 daughters, -- two married and two unmarried-- or two betrothed daughters. The angels told them to take the "daughters who are with you in your house" and because someone was tarrying (Not only Lot and his wife), the angels had to drag Lot and his wife and two unmarried daughters out of town. After the destruction of Sodom Lot couldn't deal with it and drank to forget his sorrows. But Mrs Lot was probably luckier.. she died when she looked back. Christians like to think God was so angry with her he looked down specifically and spitefully turned her into a pillar of salt. The meaning of pillar of salt is disputed. For instance, it could mean the same as our word "petrified" to be turned to stone. Could she have lived any longer with the memory of dead children and possibly dead grandchildren? In the rapture, (if we're lucky enough to be removed from earth), how will we not be able to look back at unsaved children and grandchildren. Remember, Lot's wife. But why do we want to see her as looking back because she lusted for the evils of Sodom?

I want to meet Michal. Caught between loyalty to a father she loved and a husband she loved. Then married off to a man who loved her while her husband picked up other wives along the way. Then yanked from that loving husband and brought back to be just one of many wives. Then spitefully not given children from her husband because she and he had marriage difficulties. Then having the seven sons she adopted and raised being killed by David.

I want to meet Prince Shechem, who was more noble than all his people and who seduced a girl he loved and  -- unlike David's son, Amnon-- loved her even more after the seduction and got destroyed for that love. He and Absalom are prototypes of wonderful wounded princes... great characters, great noble lost princes.

I want to meet Job's wife. Wives of prophets certainly have a tough time. God was gracious in killing Ezekiel's wife and sparing Ezekiel and his wife all sorts of grief...but Job's wife had to endure seeing her sons and daughters murdered, had to endure being comfortless while Job at least had his comforters, had to endure the parental loss of children and temptations to die.


I want to meet Hagar. Who knows when she got stuck with lying Abraham and classist Sarah who refused to "have her son be equal to that of a slave woman"? I want to meet her son Ishmael (and his stepbrothers Midian et al) who was rejected and sent out into the wilderness by his father. What a devastation that is! Even if God has promised to help, there is the woundedness of rejection. No wonder the supposed decendants of Ishmael have such an issue with the descendants of Jacob. She's the first single mother in the Bible and God placed her there for a reason: so that abandoned single mothers will know that Thou God See me.

I want to meet Saul. Because he was so pitifully weak and incapable of leaning on God. Because God put him in a position that God should not have put him in. Just like Jehu. Because all that power went to his head. Just like Jehu. How many preachers nowadays have been blessed with great ministries who should not have been so blessed? How many people have received great wealth who should not have received great wealth because it has destroyed them and their children!

I want to meet Absalom. Seeing his sister raped and his father useless to do anything about it. I understand his bitterness. I understand how bitterness and hurt can take over a person and I won't be angry at Absalom for that. He lived in a time before the holy spirit worked in all men to heal them. But even now, Christians have to deal with injustice and fall into unforgiveness and bitterness.

I have no doubt at all that these folks are all friends in heaven. Hagar, Keturah, and Sarah probably pal around together.  David and Michal probably have picnics every once in a while. But I'd like these scapegoated characters to include me in their little circle, knowing I was a friend to them even while they were dead for ages, that I wanted folks to honor their lives and not have kneejerk disdain toward them.

I want to meet the Samaritan woman at the well who was so rejected she had to go to the well alone in the middle of the day, who was divorced five times -- why? because she was mouthy? because she couldn't have children? why? I want to meet her because even after she had brought Jesus to the people in her village, the people still had to put her in her place and say, "We believe not because you told us but because we see with our own eyes."

I want to meet Demas who loved this present world and who forsook Paul. It didn't say he forsook the faith, but that he forsook Paul. Did he grieve after that? Or did he think he should have stayed in prison and accepted suffering for Christ? The third turncoat (after Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter) and we don't know what happened with him after. Did he come like Esau crying for his birthright?

I want to meet Delilah, who loved her man and also her family and had to choose to save her family by betraying her man. Whether she is Israelite or Phillistine, I don't care. Such a threat, such a choice. It's difficult..and what would I have done if I were in her position?

I want to meet Orpah, who turned back and didn't follow Naomi as Ruth did. Because she had little hope and didn't fully understand the blessing that could have come to her. I won't judge her for not having the light Ruth did. I like to believe that something of Israel's God remained with her when she returned to Moab, that in some ways she affected those around her.

Yes, I want to meet Esau too. So many, so many.

And I suspect God loves them as much as I do. We Christians are trained to think God hated and still hates them. So many Bible studies lacking in compassion where we are trained to hate Bible personages and to have no compassion for people like them in the real world. But how could a God who loves outcasts, the wounded, the rejected, not love these people we Christians are so trained to dislike?
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