34. Paradoxes and Juxtapositions

You may have noticed that I’ve slowed down posting my posts. This is so that my Bible reading can catch up to the quilt blocks. I’ve raced through Joshua, Judges, and Ruth in order to reach the book of Samuel and this next block:

David and Goliath Quilt Block

Please don’t look too closely. I’ve said more than once that Y-seams aren’t my favorite. And besides, it’ll quilt out.

I’m in that region of the Bible that involves a lot of violence. As I’m plowing through the pages, the Israelites are plundering through the promised land. I’m reading accounts of bloody massacres, horrific tortures, and unspeakable abuses happening one after the other. I feel a bit uncomfortable trying to discuss this with you and then tying in the pleasant part, the quilting. The two are too juxtaposed.

God told Joshua that the promised land had to be purged of all Canaanites. In my last post, I talked about how Joshua did his part and conquered the kingdoms. He then portioned out the promised land among the twelve tribes. It was now up to them to go to their new homelands and finish the job. Some did, but more didn’t. They allowed the Canaanites to stay, and over time, infect them with their idolatries and sins.

God had required 100%, and the Israelites gave him maybe 85%. That’s a solid B; and any parent would be happy to see this grade on little junior’s report card. But God’s law doesn’t work that way. The Israelites were severely punished and by the time I got through the book of Ruth they had been enslaved by their enemies more than once. These enemies, by the way, could have been destroyed back when God was doing the heavy lifting for His children in battle. But no, His children grew lazy and wishy washy when it came to working out the plan. They had settled for a “B” when God required an A+.

It was the Philistines who were battling the tribe of Judah, and winning, when David stepped up to take on Goliath in chapter 17. Young David had the same clarity of mind that Joshua and Moses shared. He told Goliath that he came in the name of the Lord, and it was the Lord who would deliver Goliath into his hand. You know how it turns out for Goliath. It seems as if the Israelites are heading towards being back on track.

The paradox of the loving God I serve and the punishing God of these Old Testament books is not lost on me. Suffice it to say that this is where I’m relieved to be a confessional Christian. I don’t need to explain Him, or understand it all myself. What I do understand is God has made the way for us to achieve our A+ through His son, as long as we allow him 100% access. I’m glad I’m living in the age of and the state of grace. Like David, I can trust that God fights, and wins, the battle for us.

It’ll all quilt out.

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