Thursday, December 26, 2013

The give and take of the Old Testament

Reading through the Old Testament there is one word that keeps getting repeated "give".
The LORD gave Israel the land. A search reveals 170 times that "give" and "land" appears in the same verse in the Old Testament. Israel never earned the promised land.

Yet, today I noted a striking contrast in 1 Samuel 8:10-18. Israel demands a king to rule over them, just like the other nations. Samuel warns them:
“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.... 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves...
God is so different from earthly human rulers. The natural tendency of the latter is to use power and office to take from the people rather give to them. This is in contrast to the ultimate Servant King.

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