Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gifts of Patience and Compassion

   Everyone knows the story of Moses.  His image with the Ten Commandments engraved in tablets have been painted by artist of different nations and generations.  However, it is not a commonly known fact that God had to do the tablet writing twice because Moses broke the first pair.  God did not reprimand Moses for breaking the tablets.  

   “As soon as Moses got near the camp and saw the calf and the dances, his anger began to blaze, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.” (Exodus 32:19

   “Then God said to Moses: “Carve out for yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that appeared on the first tablets, which you shattered.”  (Exodus 34:1)     

   Who has not heard of Jonah, the prophet who was swallowed by a whale?  He was commanded to preach a warning to Nineveh.  He took off to sea to avoid the assigned task.  Then after he finally delivered the message to Nineveh and the people turned back from their evil ways Jonah was displeased that God did not destroy Nineveh as per his warning.  God explained his justice to Jonah patiently with an example.  “You felt sorry for the bottle-gourd plant, which you did not work for, nor did you make it grow; …Should I not also feel sorry for Nineveh the great city, in which there are more than 120,000 men …?” (Jonah 4:11)

(18th century,
Kizhi Monastery, Russia)
   The Prophet Elisha was teased by some boys about his lack of hair.  The boys were punished severely.  This incident shows God’s disapproval of verbal abuse and bullying.  

   “He went up from there to Bethel. As he was going along the way, some young boys came out from the city and began to jeer at him, and they kept saying to him: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”  Finally he turned around and looked at them and cursed them in the name of God. Then two she-bears came out of the forest and tore 42 of the children to pieces.”  (2 Kings 2:23-24)

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