Friday, April 30, 2010

Whose side is he on, anyway?

"...the encounter [Joshua 5:13-15] might be understood as anticipating the ambiguity of the question of whether ‘God is on Israel’s side’ as a prologue to the stories of Jericho and Ai (and indeed the whole ‘conquest’), reflecting the stories of Rahab and Achan. God is neither straightforwardly for Israel (i.e., for Israel on Israel’s terms) nor straightforwardly against her enemies. Rather, as seen in the stories of Rahab and Achan, what matters is alignment with and obedience to YHWH; the right question is to ask whether one is ‘for YHWH’ or not, and not the other way around. The question that arises for the reader is not that of asking whether God is ‘on my/our side’, or a matter of trying to ‘co-opt’ God onto ‘my/our side’, but of asking whether I/we have ‘aligned’ myself/ourselves with God."—Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture, page 140

<idle musing>
Ain't that the truth! Would that a few political commentators (on both sides) would take this passage to heart!

On a more practical, daily living level, it is healthy to remember that we serve God, not the other way around. We can never manipulate God onto our side, no matter how many Bible verses we might quote, or how ever long we fast, or pray, or do whatever it is we are doing to try to manipulate God. It goes back to the quote from Byerly's article in The Faith of Jesus Christ, 'the opposite of faith is not works, it is religion” (for the extended quote, go here). The problem is, of course, that humanity is so good at religion and so poor at obedience.
</idle musing>

No comments: