There’s not always an explanation for our suffering
Humans love patterns. This has led to both crazy superstitions along with many useful discoveries. Pestilence is not a new thing. Sometimes it is a direct punishment of God (eg Num 25, 1 Chron 21). Other times it was a sign of significant events – like AD 70 in Luke 21:11. But are such events always sent by God for a purpose?
Looking at social media in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic can often be a thankless task, particularly reading things written by other Christians. One thing that crops up a lot is the reference to bats within the Kosher laws in Leviticus 11.13-19:
These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, and the kite and the falcon in its kind, every raven in its kind, and the ostrich and the owl and the sea gull and the hawk in its kind, and the little owl and the cormorant and the great owl, and the white owl and the pelican and the carrion vulture, and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat.
I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that these verses get quoted when rumours frequently circulate that the source of SARS-CoV-2 is from bat soup. It’s well known that cultures in the far East are much more relaxed about eating animals that we in the West wouldn’t want to eat. Add to that many rumours that eating a bat started this whole thing off, potentially killing hundreds of thousands of people, and it seems to be fair game to quote verses from the law of Moses that forbid eating such creatures. It’s surely game, set and match.
As we engage in reading the Bible, we cannot avoid speaking of kingdoms or empires. Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Greeks, not to mention the Israelite monarchy itself. Although we may happen to live in democratic countries, not within powerful empires of old, we may still be governed in many ways by some sort of imperial power, for instance that of capitalist economics.1
It’s easy for people who consider themselves chosen to forget the basic principles of justice and and mercy
When we think of prophets, it is common to see them primarily in terms of those who make predictions. This is however only part of the story. A common way in which to remember the purpose of prophecy is to see them as forth-tellers, rather than foretellers. A prophet certainly would predict doom, or future restoration, but this was usually in the context of berating the nation for failing to adhere to the terms of the covenant with God. When we look at it this way, one prophet certainly comes to mind, and that is Amos. Continue reading “Let justice roll down like waters”