Tuesday, December 01, 2009

1 Kings 1:13-17

There's a little verse in Kings that struck me today. Here's my quick translation of 1 Kings 1:13-17 (Don't take this translation for more than it is, it's not an attempt at a great translation, I just want to get the point across):
Now, Hanah was praying in her heart, so her lips moved but she wasn't making any sound. Eli [the priest] saw her and took her for a drunkard. He said: "How long are you going to be making a drunk of yourself? Put your wine away!" She replied, "No my lord! My soul is distraught. I haven't had any alcohol at all! It is because I am so distraught that I have been pouring out my soul to God. Don't take your servant for a base woman, I have prayed for so long because I am have been injured so badly." Eli replied: "Go in peace. God will give you whatever you asked of him."
The reason I liked this verse so much when I read it today was because I can imagine myself in Eli's shoes. There I am: High Priest of Israel, sitting in my cool chair in God's living room, when I realize some drunk lady has been over there slobbering drunk drooling all over the golden lampstands for an hour now. I feel like I let it go long enough, let's be honest, she's starting to scare people away. So, I trudge out of my golden chair or whatever it is, and walk over to this bleary eyed woman and say "Hey! Y'old drunk. Wrap it up! How long are you going to sit there blabbing away like that?"

That's when I find out I'm a complete stuffed shirt tool-bag, and this lady is completely, emotionally, viscerated. Rather than coming across as a representative of God's love, rather than trying to help this poor injured woman, I re-victimized her with a snap judgement and a terse, self-righteous slap in the broken heart.

Knowing that I screwed up that bad, what do I do? Do I say, "I'm so sorry. I completely screwed up here, I thought you were... oh man. Sorry."

Nope. I buy her forgiveness by saying cheap and easy like, "Oh... well... God will give you whatever you've asked for."

And what's Hannah's response? (v. 18) "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Oh man... just when I thought I was home free, she goes and humbles herself to me! I'm the one that should be apologizing... geez. I better go back and sit in my chair and hope God doesn't send fire out from that burning cow over there to kill me right now.

In short, I read this little thing today, and it struck me how much like Eli I am. I love this little interaction. I have to play around with it some more, this is just my first response to reading it in Hebrew, but it's just so freaking human.

And, it's even more interesting to me right now that God ponies up to Eli's offer.

Of course, I'm reading myself way too deeply into this. I'm not saying that's what Eli was thinking or doing, just that I can see myself responding like Eli did, and my response would be ugly. Hopefully I'll learn something from that.

1 comment:

That's A Rapp said...

Sadly it is as though nothing has or ever will change. Even in Jesus' day, he was not accepted. He was emotional and righteously angry over many "ceremonial showy" things. Crazy when you think that she later took her toddler son to this same socially inept priest to stay with him. Talk about a woman of faith! Thank you for posting this Joshua, there is so much here to think about!