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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 110 (Sad Songs of Zion)

[reaction to OYB's Dec. 17-20 readings]

Minor prophets in today's readings include Nahum (anti-Nineveh); Habakkuk (anti-Babylon); Zephaniah (anti-world); and Haggai (pro-Temple rebuild). I describe the first three as "anti" because they basically contain poetic verse envision the destruction by God of the indicated entity. I found this from Habakkuk interesting. He described Babylon thusly:
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
7 They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
9 they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”
How much differently would those occupied by U.S. forces describe us? Even dow to a people whose own strength is their god, it seems like it may fit us. I think the dispair associated with being the target of such forces explains much of the deep longing for a God of righteous anger to come and settle scores. The psalmist put it more gently with,
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
One of my favorite songs from Godspell uses this Psalm. On the Willows.

It is really interesting coming back to Revelation after having read the rest of the Bible so recently. I made a run at Revelation a few years ago. The link sends you to my posts on it and the later posts on other end times scriptures. I basically concluded it just didn't speak to me. But now, I first off see it as something of a triumph of the art form. The imagery is even more compelling than that in Ezekiel. Also, the prediction isn't about individual nations, but about the whole world. You destroy our temple and hunt us down? Fine, says the Revelator, our God will take over the whole world! I don't know, some points for chutzpah, yes?

Here is what I read this morning from Revelation.

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