Monday, June 20, 2016

Judges, Kings, and Party-Crashers

Judges 3:7 “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and the Asherahs.”

Kam: So the special people are in the special place, what happened next? Did the festivities start.

Narrator: The story gets less tidy at this point. Once they got to the special place, they followed most of God’s directions—well, some of God’s directions; and so the party with God started. But it wasn’t that good of a party.

Kam: Did they not have hats? Was there a problem with theme? Did they DJ play too much Dub step?

Narrator: Those are excellent ways to ruin a party? Dub step is awful. No, the Hebrew folks, who were called Israel by most peops, ruined the party when they invited other god’s and the parties got out of hand in all the worst ways, and then there’d be party crashers—the Philistines and the Canaanites usually.

Kam: Why invite other gods? Didn’t they remember how lame Egypt was with their other gods?

Narrator: They remembered a bit too much of Egypt, in some ways. They couldn’t get Egyptian ideas about partying out of them, and so other gods got invited, and party crashers came, and things got unfun. And so God would have to send people called judges to tell the party crashers to go home, and remind Israel about the One God rule. The first time was a dude name Othniel.

Random Israel person: I love partying with other gods—Baal and Asherah are great, so edgy. I love doing whatever I want to do, especially evil. WEEEEE!!!!

King Aram: Hey Israel: this is my party now. Go make me some nachos. Chop Chop.

Kam: Who’s Aram?

Narrator: A neighbor dude. Not really a good neighbor. Kind of a jerk really.

Othniel: Hey everybody—God told me that Baal and Asherah have to leave. Aram no one invited you. This isn’t your party. We’re not making you nachos. Get out.

Narrator: So Aram went home and the partying got back to being alright for awhile. But then Israel started doing whatever they wanted.

Kam: And they didn’t want to party with God?
Narrator: No, they still had a lot of ideas about partying from Egypt, and their neighbors too. The God party was a really new thing, so most ideas they got about the party from neighbors didn’t really mesh well. Those ideas were pretty bad, and usually ended with people treating each other pretty bad.

Kam: Who knew partying would be so freaking tough?

Narrator: Well, a little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Kam: What does that mean?

Narrator: It means we should get back to the story. Israel continued to suck at partying.

Random Israel Persn: Oh man—I love doing evil—it really spices up a party.

Eglon King of Moab: Hey Israel—this is my party now. Go make me some nachos. Also I want some grape soda. From now on nothing but grape soda. That’s what partying is about.

Random Israel Person: Grape soda is the worst. This party is lame. GAWD!!! Help us.

Narrator: So God sent a dude named Ehud, who took partying quite seriously.

Ehud: Hey Eglon—God heard you’re being a jerk and sent me to tell you something.

Eglon King of Moab: What’s that?

Ehud: Take you grape soda and lame gods home.

Narrator: Then Ehud punched Eglon right in his fat stupid stomach—his hand sunk in so far his hand almost got stuck, and made a slurping sound when he took it out. Everyone was super grossed out. Then things got back to norm for a while. But the Israel started doing whatever they wanted again.

Kam: Seems to be a pattern?

Narrator: Yes. I’m glad you’re paying attention. The story of God’s Party has a lot of patterns, and throw-backs to earlier stories.

Kam: Like Star Wars The Force Awakens and Star Wars a New Hope.

Narrator: Exactly like that! Ehud and Othniel are like mini-Moses’ in the same way Rey is like the new Luke, just like the First Order is a throw-back/remnant of the Empire; the lame party, and the crashers kept popping up and being eerily similar to one another.

Random Israel Person: Evil. It’s rad. WEEE!!!

Jabin King of Canaan: Hey, Israel—this is my party now. Make me some Nachos.

Narrator: Jabin was chased off by Debra, who sung a song about it.

Kam: Just like Miriam in the Exodus story.  The Return of the Diva. Awesome.

Narrator: Indeed! Then the Midianites crashed the party—Gideon told them to go home. Israel kept on doing whatever they wanted, the party kept getting crashed—and each time the crashers were sent-off, the party became less a party, more work.

Everybody was doing whatever they want was getting to be pretty lame. Israel didn’t have a king, and the whole “judges” thing was kind of anarchy.

1 Samuel 3:11 “And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.”

Father: Well, we better do something. This party is pretty lame.

Son: They’re not even wearing the party hats we made them.

Spirit: And they keep on letting those party crashers in, or even inviting other gods in—and other gods lead to people being jerks.

Father: This keeps up, their gonna lose their special place and be stuck making nachos for someone else’s party a long way from home.

Spirit: We’d better step in.

Father: Samuel should be pretty useful for this stuff. He’s a good listener.

Kam: Like me?

Narrator: Yes Kam. Like you, only slightly more humble.

Kam: I can live with that. It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.

Narrator: So God went to talk with Samuel; who was hanging out with a priest named Eli.

Spirit: Hey Samuel!

Samuel: What is it Eli?

Eli: I didn’t say anything. Go back to sleep.

Spirit: Samuel!

Samuel: What is it Eli?

Eli: I didn’t say anything. It may be God. Sometimes he talks to people who are trying to sleep. If you hear the voice again, just tell him you’re listening.

Samuel: Why would God talk to me?

Eli: I don’t know? It’s late. Why do you ask me these types of questions late at night? I just want to sleep.

Samuel: Ok.

Spirit: Samuel!

Samuel: I’m listening. Is this God?

Father: Yeah.

Samuel: Rad!! I’m a HUGE fan.

Son: Hey man, we’re gonna do some cool stuff pretty soon.

Spirit: When that stuff happens, you’re gonna be our man on the ground. Explaining stuff to Israel.

Samuel: That sounds tough. Those guys can be super dense.

Father: We’ve noticed. Israel doesn’t listen very well. But you do. So we’re gonna talk to you, and you’re gonna talk to them.

Samuel: Oh. Well, alright.

Narrator: It was about that time Israel, thinking hard about how to be a blessing to the other nations, decided to go pick a fight with another nation: the Philistines.

Random Israel Person: Hey Philistines. Y’all smell like my grandpa’s house.

Philistines: Is that a bad thing? It’s kind of a reference we wouldn’t understand. It’s better to insult people with things that are common experience; so the person or persons you’re insulting recognize the reference and get the insult. The whole point of an insult is the other person knowing what you’re talking about. Like: “You smell like dog poop.” We all have dogs and know what that smells like.

Random Israel Person: Well, my grandpa’s house smells bad. He hasn’t kept up with the cleaning since my grandma died. It’s mildewy.

Philistines: We’re sorry to hear about your grandma. That’s too bad. Also, now we’re gonna fight.

Narrator: So the Philistines and Israel started fighting.

Random Israel Person: Let’s get the Ark of the Covenant—if we bring that, God will have to come out and fight with us, than the Philistines are toast.

Narrator: So Israel brought the Ark to the battle.  God didn’t like the whole sitch, and wasn’t gonna show-up cuz Israel brought the Ark.

Father: We don’t work like that.

Spirit: We’re not a genie popping out whenever you call us out of our little home.

Narrator: So the Philistines stole the ark. Then Ark was stolen back, then stolen again. Almost like capture the flag. A really lame, heretical version of capture the flag—with lot’s of hard to pronounce names.

Spirit: Samuel. Listen up.

Samuel: I’m listening.

Son: This game is dumb; and unhelpful with partying.

Father: Tell Israel to kick out the other gods, and promise to party just with us. Like we’ve been saying the whole time. And we’ll make it so the Philistines stop bugging them.

Samuel: Aight. Sounds good.

Narrator: So Samuel told the folks in Israel to do what the Lord said, Israel did it, and then God made some thunder and shooed the Philistines off, and Israel was pretty ok for awhile.

Kam: I’m guessing things got lame again?

Narrator: You’ve been paying attention. That’s very good.

1 Samuel 8:4-5 “So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; appoint a king to lead us, such as the other nations have.”

Narrator: Samuel was old. Israel was worried there wouldn’t be someone to keep the Philistines out of the party.

Random Israel Person: Samuel. You’re looking really really really old.

Samuel: Thanks.

Random Israel Person: We want to have a king.

Samuel: You mean like Pharaoh. I seem to remember that being problematic.

Random Israel Person: Whatever. Just find a king. Kings are super in these days. All the other nations are doing it. Come on Samuel. Be cool. For once in your life, just be cool.

Samuel: I’ll talk to God about this. But I think it’s a stupid idea, and won’t solve the bigger problem of you yokels not knowing how to party.

Narrator: So Samuel went to talk to God.

Samuel: So, uhhh God. Israel wants a king.

Father: BAH!

Son: Alright. Well, tell them we’ll give them a king. I’m pretty sure we can work that into the party planning—another layer to the theme. 

Spirit: But make sure to warn them. Kings will get super rich off taxes, and claim lots of rights.

Son: Kings will take their sons fight in wars.

Father: Kings will get lots of chariots. Big armies. Take nice land, donkeys, livestock, food, money… They’re takers.

Spirit: Kings end up acting like Pharaoh. With kings folks will trust in chariots and armies more than us.

Father: That’ll make partying with us tougher… could end up wrecking things, and peops being forced to serve nachos at other peoples parties…

Son: like Egypt days…. But ok. Give the people what they want.

Kam: Why would God be ok with a king? Seems to be counter-productive.

Narrator: Well, God is pretty clever, and thinks ahead. The king-theme, the whole God’s-anointed-special-person (or messiah) idea would become central to God’s Party, and his big reveal/kick-off.

Kam: Sounds complicated.

Narrator: Big stories are complicated. Samuel went and told Israel. He warned them that Kings have a tendency to go bad; they tend towards taking more than their share. But Israel wanted a king—they wanted that nice warm safe feeling that comes with giant armies. So Samuel went to find a king.

Samuel: I don’t even know what I’m looking for. God just told me the guy will be taller than the other guys. I don’t get God’s directions sometimes.

Saul: Hey old man, I lost some donkeys. Have you seen any wandering around here.

Samuel: Nope I haven’t seen any donkeys. Funny, I’m looking for something to. I need to find a tall dude.

Saul: I’m tall. It’s like my best quality.

Samuel: So you are. You’re gonna be the new king.

Saul: But what about the donkeys.

Samuel: They’ll turn-up.

Narrator: Saul was as moody as he was tall.

Kam: Moody like you before coffee, or moody like Anakin Skywalker?

Narrator: More like Anakin—a brooding moodiness. Saul’s kingship in Israel had mixed reviews, but he was mostly a bad king. Most of what he did was fight with Philistines. Towards the end he started trying to kill David—who was a super talented, strapping young lad, whom God had chosen to be the next king. Saul didn’t succeed in his efforts to kill David.  

2 Samuel 5:1-2 “All the tribes of Israel came to David and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel, and you shall become their ruler.”

Narrator: David became king. He moved the capital to Jerusalem. He moved the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. He kicked the Philistines out. Things went well for David.

Kam: Seems like the King thing is working out pretty well.

Narrator: David’s King-ship got off to a great start. God was super stoked about David—he was a very talented partier—dancing and singing, and artsy. David had skills.

Father: So this David guy. . .

Spirit: He’s doing pretty well.

Son: Dude’s got a lot of energy, it’s a nice change of pace.

Father: I agree, he’s the good kind of moody. Feels a lot.

Son: He’s pretty adorbs.

Father: I was thinking this whole king business could be used for some good.

Spirit: I agree. We could rif on it.

Son: Make it something real awesome down the line.

Father: Exactly.

Spirit: Of course they’re gonna screw-it up.

Son: Well obviously.

Father: But like… down the line… this anointed-one-king-stuff will be real helpful in the future.

Narrator: So the Lord invited some folks over for a little ceremony—a second covenant thing.

Kam: Like Abraham. The pattern continues.

Narrator: Yup Yup.

Father: David, you and your kids are going to be a special fam to us.

Son: They’re gonna be a key to the covenant promise stuff we talked about with Abraham.

Spirit: What we’re saying is that you and your family will always have a kingdom.

Father: FOR—EV—ER.

David: Thanks. You’re the best!

Narrator: And David continued kicking butt. He finally cleared the whole dance floor—all of the special place that God had promised Abraham was safe for partying. The covenant stuff was working. The Party was taking shape. David himself loved to cut-a-rug, as they say—and once danced in-front of all Israel because he was so stoked on God’s party. Things were coming together. It was about time for the party to go out to all the other people, not just Israel.

David: Things are going great. I’m gonna take a moment to relax. I know I should be out with the army now, but I needs me some ME time. Joab!

Joab: Yeah David.

David: I’m gonna stick around the palace today. You go out to the army. Cover for me. I’m going to set my hammock up on the roof and catch a few z’s.

Joab: OK. But the fellas were really looking forward to seeing you. You know you’re their favorite.

David: Oh, they’ll like you just as much. Look at that smile. Who couldn’t love you? Now go on, I need to chilax.

Narrator: So David went up to the roof. Looking around he saw real pretty lady, and he decided to not do the hammock thing, and instead pitch some woo to the lovely lady.

Kam: What does that mean? Sounds like David was just being a creeper.

Narrator: David was being a creeper. Pitching woo is an nice way of saying David got real firm in his romanticizing of the pretty lady.

Kam: That sounds really creepy. Really bad.

Narrrator: It was really creepy. It was really bad, and it got worse.

David: Hello there! What’s your name?

Bathsheba: Bathsheba.

David: Huh. That’s not as pretty a name as I expected.

Bathsheba: You’re quite the charmer.

David: Hey, come up here and sleep with me.

Bathsheba: I’m married.

David: I’m the king.

Narrator: So David slept with Bathsheba. She got super preggers. David felt bad, because it was kind of an extremely awful thing he did.

Kam: Sounds like David is really sucking at the Party thing. Statutory rape is a really bad party foul.

Narrator: Yup. The story of God’s party has some really dark moments. And this is definitely one of them. David tried to cover up his awfulness by getting Bathsheba’s husband Uriah the Hittite back, so he could sleep with her and think the baby was his.

Kam: What’s a Hittite?

Narrator: Some one from north of Israel.

Kam: So, like someone from one of the nations that Israel is supposed to bless.

Narrator: Yup.

Kam: And David, the special person to the special people in the special place sleeps with Uriah’s wife. That’s a crap blessing.

Narrator: Yup. So David of course tried to cover it up.

David: HEY JOAB!

Narrator: He was yelling, because Joab was out with the army—you know, where David should have been.

Joab: WHAT?




Narrator: So Joab sent Uriah back.

David: So Uriah, how’s the wife?

Uriah: I haven’t seen her. I don’t feel like it’s appropes since the other army peops can’t see their wives.

David: Oh. Well, I’ll send some wine over, and some musicians. Set the mood. You know, so you and the little lady can have some special time.

Uriah: Oh, don’t do that. I’m just gonna sleep out here in the yard.

David: Oh.

Kam: What a creeper!

Narrator: David came up with another plan.

Kam: A plan to try and make up for being a complete creeper.

Narrator: Not exactly.

David: HEY JOAB.

Joab: YEAH?



David: I KNOW.

Narrator: So Uriah went back to the army and got killed. David took Bathsheba as a wife, that first baby died. Later, the Bathsheba had a kid named Solomon. David’s family got real messed up. Brothers loved sisters in the wrong and creepy way. Brothers killed brother. Son’s tried to kill their father. Things got wack. Things unraveled pretty quick. And when Solomon became king—he ended-up being exactly what Samuel and God had talked about. Solomon had crazy amounts of everything from wives to chariots. Israel wasn’t partying in any special way, they partied just the same as all other peops.

1 Kings 10:26 “Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem.

Kam: Well, that’s not a particularly hopeful place to end the story.

Narrator: You have to keep in mind God’s promise to David. God doesn’t forget promises, even when the people he promised stuff too get super super lame. God’s promises are bigger than people’s lameness; because God loves to party—and God is quite a powerful, clever, and nice person—he’ll make the party happen.

Kam: That’s a much nicer place to stop the story.

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