Scripture: 2 Kings 25:8-21
In Mark Twain’s novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, a regular man of the late 1800’s sustains a head injury from a crow bar “crusher” of a fellow worker and wakes underneath an oak tree in Camelot. Dropped into this other world he can only make sense of his new surroundings through the lens of his own experience. Retaining his knowledge of history, religion, politics and machinery he attempts to move backwards Camelot through changes toward democracy, capitalism and Protestantism. He cannot relate to their world because he believes their world is headed to a much better place. That is not the way they experience it.
In today’s devotional we “drop in” on a different era as our Bible story takes us to the looting of the temple and the end of earthly Davidic rule. Because we read this from our own religious experience, we know that this is not the end. We know that God is still in charge. We know that the God who led Israel out of slavery in Egypt will lead His people out of exile. We know that the God who is executing judgment through the Babylonians will provide redemption through His own Son. We know that the Davidic line is restored in the Kingdom of God. Through our lens that is a much better place, but this is not the way it would have been experienced.
Imagine yourself as an Israelite watching this event unfold. This is not only the dismantling of your homeland, it is the dismantling of your God. Religious identity and covenantal promise is being destroyed; everything that you had been taught is crashing down around you. While Christians see these events as the machinations of God toward a greater day and a greater way of being the people of God, you would perceive this as the end and a failure of the covenant. Judgment had come and God had left your people.
Admittedly, this is a strange place to “drop in” for devotions. There is spiritual significance in this event, but we need to experience it from a different vantage point. We cannot just look and say, “This is what 'backward Israel' needed. Jesus is coming!” We need to feel the loss, the death, the end that is present in the text. It is the way of Lent and the way of the cross.
Green Timbers ECC