The Bible may be a lot of things – but boring isn’t one of him. It is graphic and memorable.
In our Old Testament reading, Absalom is hanging by his hair from a tree. In a bizarre twist of the story, a great battle ends with the son of the king, Absalom, getting his hair stuck in a great oak as he is riding under it. Joab comes across him, fearing raising a hand to the king’s son. Finally he is convinced, and while his armor-bearers surround him, Joab thrusts three spears in the heart of Absalom, and they strike him and kill him. It is tragic, but certainly memorable.
Paul is also being hunted. The one who hunted Christians and killed them is now himself being hunted. 40 Jews take an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed Paul, and they go to the chief priests and elders to tell them of their plan. Paul’s sister warns him of the ambush.
The Bible is filled with battles, with death, with power-shifts. Almost always we see God’s deliverance at hand, or God choosing differently than we might expect. From Jacob and Esau, to Ruth and Naomi, to Jesus and Paul, we continually see a God at work who chooses the most unlikely of characters to carry his will forward.
These things are of great comfort to me. In a world that seems to have problems beyond my control – a government that seems intent on destroying itself, racial inequality and tensions everywhere, world hunger – God has chosen me as one of his agents of grace. I am certainly not the most qualified. I am not as smart or as charismatic as I would like to be, but God chose me anyway. And he chose you too.
Things certainly have come full circle. Who would have thought that God would entrust his kingdom to people like you and me? We don’t have that much power and influence. Or do we?
In God’s world, the mighty fall. The proud are humbled. The rich become poor. In God’s world, all things are made new by the king who gave his life for us all and died on a cross to save even the most lowly of people.
And with that, comes the good news that God has saved even us, and the freedom to live a life of service to others, continuing the ministry of turning things on their head.