Will God F*#k Us Over? Natch! (Psalms 71-79)

King David has stepped aside as Psalmster and Asaph has taken his place. Maybe he can breathe some life into the joint. I hope so because I’m bored, yo!  I’ve been finding it difficult to muster a single comment that sounds more engaged than, “That psalm was very interesting”.

But first – who was this Asaph guy anyways? I looked him up in Wikipedia. Apparently, he was the son of Berechiah, one of the Asaphites (and how is that pronounced exactly?) who were a bunch of musicians in Jerusalem temple. Like the biblical equivalent of the Partridge Family or the Jacksons (but probably with more sexual abuse).

Anyways, as Psalmster, Asaph goes on and on about how the wicked are going to get theirs in the end before posing the pointed question of: “Will God fuck us over?”. That’s me paraphrasing, natch. [Sidenote: Not so long ago, I was out on what I thought might have been a date and I could not stop saying “natch” to signal agreement. What’s wrong with me?] This is good. This is the kind of critical thinking that excites good teachers and annoys bad ones. Asaph asks, “Has God forgotten to be gracious?/Has his anger shut up his compassion?” (Psalms 77:9). Cuts right to the core on that one.

Unfortunately, that’s where the critical thinking ends. Asaph rehashes God’s treatment of Moses and his people to provide a context in which God doesn’t look all that bad. Remember the locusts and the frogs and the flies and all that jazz? Remember when he turned the rivers to blood and killed all the first-born in Egypt? C’mon, guys. That stuff was way worse. Sure God gets pissy sometimes but we don’t have it that bad. Hooray for God!

Admittedly, he has an anger problem. But just look at all the nice things he buys me! Isn’t this dining set to die for? 

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Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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An Orgy of Egos (Numbers 15-17)

God can’t be accused of being unclear; he expressly forbade doing absolutely anything on the sabbath. So when his people come across a stranger harmlessly picking up sticks on the sabbath, it’s reasonable that God commands them to stone him to death: “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp” (Num 15:35). Stone him with stones? Not rubber erasers? That makes sense.

In Numbers 16, the congregation gets ticked off that Moses and his brother Aaron have all the power. They cry, “You have gone too far! For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” (Num 16:3). Apparently, this comes right out of left field for Moses because he “[falls] on his face” (Num16:4). Faceplant! Moses, ever the sycophant, turns to God and asks what he should do. God says, “Separate yourselves from among the congregation, that I may consume them in a moment” (Num 16:21). I hope that this refers to some sort of rapture and not cannibalism (although I don’t think it counts as cannibalism technically if a deity eats a human).

As it turns out, God doesn’t eat the whiners. Instead – and this is much more spectacular in my opinion – he opens up the ground beneath their feet and the earth swallows them up in one big gulp. Tricky. That’s what God meant by “consume them in a moment”. Bet they didn’t see that one coming. Then God sends a plague along to finish off all the ones who got away. Between the trap-door trick and the plague God kills about fifteen thousand of his people. I can’t imagine that their rates of procreation can keep pace with this nonsense.

 

 

 

Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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