Posts Tagged ‘Judges’

Spin-Judge-Cycle

Posted: January 16, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible, Spirituality
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Judges closes in all the chaos it opened in (Judges 17-21). That is where one has to pause for a moment, exhale, and seriously let the words of these stories sink in. We have people purchasing salvation by buying priests/Levites; we have a crazy murdered hacking up a woman, and a war brewing. The bridge piece in chapter 19, verse 1 is simply, Israel did not have a king. Say what? It is tossed in as this deflect the blame comment that they had no control because they were not like other nations.

What is seen at a deeper hearing level beyond the violence? Dysfunctional family dynamics theory. I mean all these nations are sprung from shared ancestors of Israel. We also note high levels of misogyny, rape, and murder. It is a spiraling tale of inter-generational trauma and outcomes. This behaviour has been normalized. It has been normalized back to the days of slavery in Egypt when this is how they were treated as property. The wandering in the Desert was to be a time of healing and purging this from their community. What happened though, was it became normative, and is carried through into the cycle of the stories of Judges. There is relapse into the darkness and violence of what is normal, a fear of moving into what they are meant to be in the Promised Land.

Ever had a journey through the darkness like this in your own life? Coming out of trauma, addiction, or violence? Trying to assert the new you, but it becomes so much easier to go back to what is comfortable no matter how horrible? It is the story of co-dependence, addiction and pain within the stories of Judges.

It is about the yearning to have what they do not. Not being content in their now, but looking to others and going oooh we want that. And yes, for Hebrew Bible readers you know in the books of Samuel that come next this yearning to be like others is answered with a king given them.But I digress.

The stories of Judges, and the cycle presented can be looked at anthropologically, sociologically, paleo-seti, theologically, psychologically, historically and/or allegorically. What should be coming to the surface is to value who you are, and what you have. Do not seek validation outside of yourself. It is also a warning that we are not to accept violence against our selves, and to know that we have intrinsic value.

At the core, these stories send a simple message, Love YOU.

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We now enter the story of probably the most famous Judge. That being Samson, and of course, this bring with it the story of Delilah (Judges 13-16). It is a familiar story, following the cycle we have seen in Judges. The nation drifts, and needs to be brought back on track, although this reads more of a super hero or spy epic (or a pulpy hybrid). It has been the subject of movies and comics, I love what Grant Morrison did with the character in All-Star Superman (worth the read of the whole series):

Image result for Samson from superman

Now many would put aside the story of Samson as just fantastical. A baby born, while the mother abstained from vice, and his hair not be cut would be…well…a superman for his times. The goal being from conception to death that Samson would be a Nazirite, and what is a Nazirite? They are ones that are “consecrated” or “seperated” as prescribed in the Torah book of Numbers (6:2-21). This is the life being laid out for Samson before he was even born, talk about long-term planning or imagine legacy parenting of the wealthy.

Samson did not have a say in his destiny, but it was a destiny to save his people. To guide the way, to show a different path. Now the story itself is a back and forth covert tale, much like 2018’s The Kingfisher Secret about the subterfuge of Cold War era politics, and the USSR laying the work for a 2016 presidential sleeper agent (if nothing else the Trump White House has re-invigorated spy fiction). I can see Samson being this type of agent as he seeks out a bride from the enemy, to be able to move against them, that is the Philistines.

 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds [f]broke loose from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said:

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
Heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have slain a thousand men!”

17 And so it was, when he had finished speaking, that he threw the jawbone from his hand, and called that place [g]Ramath Lehi.

-Judges 15:14-17

After his victory, this Nazirite actually becomes a metaphor for the nation. He loses his way, not some may say it is a spoil of victory and some fantastical non-sense that someone would do this. But he goes to Delilah, a sex trade worker, and yes a spy. Now for those who think that this can be implausible, I remind Canadians under the Diefenbaker government of Gerda Munsinger and Deputy Minister of Defense Pierre Sevigny

Munsinger was an East German sex trade worker, and a spy, yes the Justice Minister said there had not been a security breach. Let’s be honest though in heater politics of the Cold War, and the cycle of Minority governments of Diefenbaker and Pearson would one openly and transparently admit this without spelling the end of their party? A crass joke of the time speaks volumes to what was “known but not proven”:

Gerda Munsinger took one screw and the whole cabinet fell apart.

Still think that Delilah is not a spy? And I do not believe she was coerced or forced, she was working Samson like one works an asset in a bad 1950’s spy novel. She got the national secret of the Kryptonite to beat the Superman after nights of passion and playing. Almost an ancient re-enactment of the Maxine Bernie 2008 security breach in Prime Minister Harper’s Government when Bernier left classified files at his girlfriend’s house.

This is the shell game like stakes the Philistines and Israel were playing, with the two key players being Samson and Delilah. A Cold War or War of Terror match set, dancing around mutually assured destruction. Unlike Gorbachev and Reagan though, there was no freeze and wall coming down.

Okay, there was walls that came down, but mutually assured destruction was not escaped for Samson and the Philistines on the path they had set.

What a story. Also though a time of reflection as we enter election cycles in Alberta and Canada. Who are we? Who do we want to be? Let the answers to these questions guide your heart. Do not get caught in the cycle of mutually assured destruction. Do not play games for power and esteem as Delilah and Samson, but keep to the core of what life is about.

Judge Cycle 5

Posted: January 14, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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As you work your way through the stories in Judges, it can begin to feel like a never ending loop of a bad run of Coronation Street, when the writers ran out of a bit of oomph. I mean, the cycle itself can be rather tedious, and I can hear the reader going, well how does this apply to today for surely we are not that dense or in a theocracy.

Yes and no.

It applies because it begins to tease out a change cycle. Truly, what is the Deuteronic history stories but a story of change and evolution of a collection of tribes. From slavery, to wanderings to establishing norms, to trying to figure out life within family dynamics (as it seems each nation is a cousin’s descendants). In any change cycle fear is a major thing, and that is why I believe there is this cycle issue in Judges (and today) for we do not want to leave what is comfortable for us. We see this in Ambilech’s story (Judges 9-10) where he appeals to the fear in change. Okay, let’s get real, change is a grief cycle, and as such we work through the stages of grief. Whether you are a Kubler-Ross fan, or a Senge, U Theory fan it is a journey:

Image result for kubler ross grief model

Image result for u theory

Throughout the journey of Judges, the message back to the tribes, to the person remains the same. Here are our constants, trust in that. Move forward in what we know is right, and what we know is wrong is to be cast aside whether it is old or new. It becomes a cycle, and yes, we must release the past eventually, but the processes of the past that only serve no purpose (like the old idiom don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater).

I would state that the moments of peace at the end of a Judge Cycle is the nation crystallizing or prototyping yet just not ready to step into performing. They cycle back to try again, it may take several runs, but each time something new is performing, something new is discovered that needs to be let go, as with Jephthah’s cycle of being a judge (Judges 11-12).

What I love is that it shows the challenge of accepting the new, the first line is that he is a son of a prostitute. Now, many in the ancient world or even today will not admit this profession exists due to patriarchy and oppression. But definitely in the ancient times without a man to “own” them, it is the route women were left with. Jephthah’s very birth was casting light on the darkness the tribes refusing to move forward in care and equality was doing to their own brethren.

It lays out the horrors turning away from the Law had wrecked on the tribes. So is this a statement for the need for legalism? No, for what is at the core of the Law, this is what needs to be remembered for even in the Torah it comes down to the Shema, which is boiled down to Love.

Are our actions in society out of love for one another?

Is it rooted in compassion and kindness? Knowing that we all are created with inherent worth, or have we simply commodified ourselves. The challenge of the Judge’s lineage in this story showing that someone had fallen into a societal label game and was cast aside. Do we do that today? With our medical codes? Diagnosis? Territorial-religious-economic stratification? Race? Gender? All become points of those on the in and the out.

What is the truth? Something we have known for thousands of years. We are all in this together, all the same, and it is when we stray from love and create false labels that we are hit with war, famine, and death. When hate overtakes love.

And no, it is not a quick transition or change. For in change as it involves the ickiness of life, and those dastardly emotions. It is about being present, and understanding that things will not be as they have always been amen amen. Rather it is knowing whether in the transition is it healthy or not? Does it honour our shared humanity or not? Are we able to let go, and let in what is being formed?

After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.

11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

-Judges 12:8-15 (English Standard Version)

And a few more cycles of inquisition, fighting back against the letting in, holding on to that which needs to be let go of. For what is the stories of Judges, but the stories of individuals and groups wrestling with the answer to the hardest question in life:

Who am I (We)?


We enter into the stories of Gideon (Hebrew name meaning destroyer one who has a stump for one hand). His challenge was the Middianites, who are linked to Abraham and Keturah’s son Midian.  For the modern reader the term Gideon probably brings to mind hotel room Bibles or New Testaments in Grade 5, by Gideon’s International. An  evangelical Christian organization of men in good standing in an evangelical or protestant church over 21 years of age. They state they take their name Gideon as follows (from their Wiki page):

Gideon was a man who was willing to do exactly what God wanted him to do, regardless of his own judgment as to the plans or results. Humility, faith, and obedience were his great elements of character. This is the standard that The Gideons International is trying to establish in all its members, each man to be ready to do God’s will at any time, at any place, and in any way that the Holy Spirit leads.

As we enter a new cycle of Judges…say it with me about what happened with Israel?

They screwed up!

(Judges 6:1-11)

So what happens? That’s right, a calling goes out…

Gideon.

(Judges 6:11-27)

A messenger comes, and through cooking, and food, and flame Gideon sees what he is meant to do. A direction is given to supplant the worship of Baal, by destroying and replacing with a worship of YHWH. It is interesting as this unfolds and you read the words in verse 11-27 how it can read like a science fiction story and makes one ponder the validity of a Paleo-Seti theology for this story.

 When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” 32 Therefore on that day Gideon[c] was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.

33 Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.

-Judges 6:28-35 (English Standard Version)

Interesting, it was an attacked designed to weaken moral of the enemy. You see, it was showing superiority of their God over another. Or perhaps their alien fleet backing them, ala Cold War geo-politics where one was backed by one super power or the next. Could this be the same thing? As the challenge is laid down, but does not appear to be met to bring Gideon forward, in fact a message is sent out why to further challenge the leadership.

Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.”38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

-Judges 6:36-40 (English Standard Version)

One would think that the messengers could speak directly to Gideon, or any of the people in their language, as we have seen in previous passages. Gideon takes a risk in “putting his God to the test” at a time when the almighty was testy. What it appears is an almost first contact like scenario, where one is finding ways to bridge communication and safety gaps between the cultures and species. Where the universal translator is faulty, but there is still a desire to continue discussion and planning as allies.

As we enter into the next part of the story, it can be seen as miraculous, the few beating the many (though historically a well outmanned group what is usually seen is at most a holding force until re-enforcements), what is seen is a direct promise (Judges 7) to have their back. That is a promise of victory, how is this possible?

In Paleo-Seti theology it is Gideon’s army being backed by alien technology. This can be seen in Star Trek episodes ala “A Private Little War” that saw the Klingons arming one side of a conflict, so that the Federation had to do the same (a balance of power). Is this a plausibility and possibility within the context of Judges? We had seen in written of in the Christian Testament, with the concept of the Elohim being the driving alien species in the emergence of homo sapiens, and the driving force being the contacts between alien and earth.

Image result for gideon made an ephodIt was a battle that dragged on, but with a small army, and superior technology Gideon was victorious. So much so that he was elevated in the hearts and minds of the Nation as not only a hero, but a leader. (Judges 8) One who could be seen as falling victim to his own hype, as he got the spoils of victory the golden earrings, which were then melted into an Ephod, a type of vestment worn by the highest priests, his was made of solid gold. As is noted in Paleo-Seti theology, the design of the vestments of the Temple times, were designed using the best of ancient world materials to provide safety from radiation in/around space vessels. The fact that Gideon crafted this type of garment can be seen as raising a level of protection, Image result for gideon made an ephodbut also due to the value of the garment showing that Gideon has surrendered a bit into his own elevated hype. For the vestment is crafted to place him above the high priest, into an almost King like space for the people.

It is one to ponder, hence Gideon slipping into this before his death, if this is why the people surrendered to the Baalist that were in retreat. Perhaps not trusting the Elohim would step in again?

Just some points to ponder from a different point of view.

 

Judge Cycle 3

Posted: January 12, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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When the student is ready, the teacher will be revealed.

-Ancient Proverb

I believe I was pastoring for youth and children at Campbell-Stone United when we did an exploration of women in the Bible, it was the first time the kick-ass story of Deborah emerged onto my radar. For the uninitiated, think of her as Wonder Woman in the Hebrew Bible. It was the cycle time of screwing up again, when the nation needed help. She was a prophetess that is one that speaks the truth. A prophetess, like a prophet, points out what is unjust in the society, and what needs to happen to get back on track for the community. For an individual it can be akin to a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist or a medical doctor pointing out what needs to change for a healthier you, and then laying out the path (Judges 4).

Nothing like a tent peg path:

21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died.

-Judges 4:21 (English Standard Version)

It is truly a time in the stories of Judges that shows the equality of creation. For reflection, one should see that the patriarchal misogyny that continues to rear its head in religion is contrary to the divine plan. To ensure such, there is a Psalm performed of the story, for those keeping track this would hover around the 152 Psalm in the Hebrew Bible, the second outside of Psalms.

Judges 5:

Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:

“That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
that the people offered themselves willingly,
bless the Lord!

“Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
to the Lord I will sing;
I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.

“Lord, when you went out from Seir,
when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled
and the heavens dropped,
yes, the clouds dropped water.
The mountains quaked before the Lord,
even Sinai before the Lord,[a] the God of Israel.

“In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned,
and travelers kept to the byways.
The villagers ceased in Israel;
they ceased to be until I arose;
I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.
When new gods were chosen,
then war was in the gates.
Was shield or spear to be seen
among forty thousand in Israel?
My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
who offered themselves willingly among the people.
Bless the Lord.

10 “Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys,
you who sit on rich carpets[b]
and you who walk by the way.
11 To the sound of musicians[c] at the watering places,
there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the Lord,
the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel.

“Then down to the gates marched the people of the Lord.

12 “Awake, awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, break out in a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
O son of Abinoam.
13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
the people of the Lord marched down for me against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim their root they marched down into the valley,[d]
following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen;
from Machir marched down the commanders,
and from Zebulun those who bear the lieutenant’s[e] staff;
15 the princes of Issachar came with Deborah,
and Issachar faithful to Barak;
into the valley they rushed at his heels.
Among the clans of Reuben
there were great searchings of heart.
16 Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds,
to hear the whistling for the flocks?
Among the clans of Reuben
there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
and Dan, why did he stay with the ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
staying by his landings.
18 Zebulun is a people who risked their lives to the death;
Naphtali, too, on the heights of the field.

19 “The kings came, they fought;
then fought the kings of Canaan,
at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
they got no spoils of silver.
20 From heaven the stars fought,
from their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent Kishon swept them away,
the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
March on, my soul, with might!

22 “Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs
with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.

23 “Curse Meroz, says the angel of the Lord,
curse its inhabitants thoroughly,
because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

24 “Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
25 He asked for water and she gave him milk;
she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.
26 She sent her hand to the tent peg
and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
she struck Sisera;
she crushed his head;
she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 Between her feet
he sank, he fell, he lay still;
between her feet
he sank, he fell;
where he sank,
there he fell—dead.

28 “Out of the window she peered,
the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice:
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
29 Her wisest princesses answer,
indeed, she answers herself,
30 ‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?—
A womb or two for every man;
spoil of dyed materials for Sisera,
spoil of dyed materials embroidered,
two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’

31 “So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!
But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”

And the land had rest for forty years.

A beautiful song that points out the peace that comes for another generational cycle. What is interesting though, that the story and song of Deborah shows is that we must always be aware that aid, healing, and new life can come from unexpected places. No one would have believed that Jael would be the hero to turn the tide, or that Deborah would know what she is doing.

But here we are, in our modern world still struggling with a faux duality, a misuse that only certain folks can facilitate healing or guidance or leadership. The ancient stories remind us that gifts will emerge in the ones that need to have them. The right people at the right moment will be there, but we need to be able to recognize it. For our own journey, we need to be willing.

Need to be willing to risk. To step outside of our normal role, and to be…


It is amazing how the stories in Judges can sooo illustrate Gremlin-Saboteur work. It is the challenge as I have written about many times, rooting into yourself for that voice (s) that are tearing you down. Acting as the invaders in the land that chapter 3 opens with:

Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods

-Judges 3:1-6 (English Standard Version)

One can descend into an argument around the veracity and historicity of the stories in Judges. But when one is looking at post-exilic or during exile time, these ancient stories are there to reassure those in bondage that there is a way out. A pathway back to the Holy, it uses war language, because if they are historic it probably was war, if not, it is a metaphor that one understood in exorcising demons from yourself. The battle. The fact that your God is superior to the other God because, well, your nation one the war.

I point this as a story that speaks to the internal battle for wholeness and authenticity, because the enemy (demon) is named. Just like when we deny the Gremlin within us, we name it, we create its image, we write out the lies that it tells that we believed or did keep us safe, a thanksgiving for that period (an honouring and an honesty about what was truly happening); then making the decision to win the war, destroy the Gremlin.

In a way, in the short term work, what is seen is a life coach in the form of the short judge exercises in getting Israel back on track to their whole beings:

7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

-Judges 3:7-11 (English Standard Version)

The coach was in. The coach was asking the powerful questions to seek out the true self. In this story, it is a battle to root out and destroy that which was holding back. In a coaching session, the powerful questions will help you drill down away from fluff, to what your actual goal may be, what you are actually seeking, or rooting out the Gremlin that is holding you back.

I also love, how it points out that there is a time when the work is happening, and there is peace. Peace does not always mean static, it means we are doing what is working for that time to keep us healthy and moving forward, but life is a long game and new experiences bring new challenges. Those new challenges bring new supports into our lives:

 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms. 14 And the people of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

15 Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 And Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit[a]in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his clothes. 17 And he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 And when Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute. 19 But he himself turned back at the idols near Gilgal and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he commanded, “Silence.” And all his attendants went out from his presence. 20 And Ehud came to him as he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. 21 And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22 And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out. 23 Then Ehud went out into the porch[b] and closed the doors of the roof chamber behind him and locked them.

24 When he had gone, the servants came, and when they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, “Surely he is relieving himself in the closet of the cool chamber.” 25 And they waited till they were embarrassed. But when he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber, they took the key and opened them, and there lay their lord dead on the floor.

26 Ehud escaped while they delayed, and he passed beyond the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived, he sounded the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. Then the people of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was their leader. 28 And he said to them, “Follow after me, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites and did not allow anyone to pass over.29 And they killed at that time about 10,000 of the Moabites, all strong, able-bodied men; not a man escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years

-Judges 3:12-30 (English Standard Version)

Survival. Gold. Riches. Prestige. Fame. These are all stumbling blocks that can take one out of affirming their true self, and into the realm of denial. It can create cycles of self-harm, perhaps addiction, or other behaviours or illnesses that mask one’s descent into the shadow self. When our body is out of tune with our whole being, when we are living in dissonance between our values, physical life, emotional life, and spiritual being it has huge effect upon us. It creates a bad holistic system as we are disjointed, it is like driving a high way in a Red River Cart, or perhaps a vehicle unbalanced with 2 of 4 tires being spare donuts.

Has there been a time when you know you are not being true to yourself?

This is the story of Ehud’s emerging as a judge. Israel was not being true to who they were. They had sold out to what was the here and now. The short cut to who they believed they were meant to be, not wanting to do the work to ensure all came along healthily and were cared for. The fast pace of change that loses many along the way, causes pain, and in the end it may look glorious, but it is like a Jenga tower balancing on the precipice of the bottom centre block.

Ehud is the judge of deep soul work or psychotherapy for the person, the one that helps you delve back into your true valued self and deal with the B.S. that has torn you down.

After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.

-Judges 3:31 (English Standard Version)

In case you need a refresher in relapse of the old life that was tearing you apart, here comes the sponsor Judge Shamgar, to aid you in cleaning up the new soul sludge.

This is the first three judges (life coaches, spiritual directors, sponsors, therapists) in discovering and renewing the authentic you when you slip back into the gremlin voices.

The stories of Judges remind us, that life is a process. It is about the process not perfection, for when we do reach the goal, we need to still believe in who we are.

 

Judge Cycle 1

Posted: January 10, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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As the Book of Joshua closes with the death of Moses successor, the people enter the land of Canaan. And what is dis you ask? The land of Canaan is cursed. It is believed Ham, son of Noah, went there and married a descendant of Cain. Okay, fancy old school names so who are Ham and Cain? Cain was the first murderer, marked to walk the earth and receive no harm forevermore. Ham, he was Noah’s second born, and after the flood got his Dad drunk and anally raped him, and was thusly cursed. An aside, as it was believed that ancients who lived in Africa were of darker skin (surprise!) texts such as these cursing in Judges and the Canaan were and have been used to shore up religious beliefs for such things as slavery, apartheid and white supremacy, which is simply bad theology.

The book of Judges continues the blood shed in the Hebrew Bible. It is tales of war, conquest, showing one’s God as supreme to another nations God. It mean that there was barbaric actions (though today, we simply use better more destructive-deadly technology and our “gods” may be ethereal or ideological). So yes, there was this genocidal type writing as nations fell, and were subsumed (Judges 1). It was why the original Exodus 10 Commandments stated no God before me, but then in this Deuteronic history it had shifted to No God but me.

The narrative shifts from battle cries of victory to sinking into the abyss (Judges 2:1-16). They have been brought through the dark times of slavery (one can read it metaphysically as addiction, illness, whatever separates you from your true self as the people of Israel were under the Pharaoh). They have gone through the wilderness journey to purge away that which separates them from God, with God going with them and providing daily. A great story, and allegory for our own transfiguration journey. They have come to the cusp of claiming their true selves, or as the ancient stories stated it, the Promised Land, redeeming the false cursed and affirming the divine within if you will.

And the response is a relapse.

Back to affirming the false self.

Recycling that which separates from our true nature, but is comfortable, letting the gremlins reign.

Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

-Judges 2:16 (English Standard Version)

We have created our own Baals in this life. The complete and utter inept concept of independence. That what I do only effects me, and I have all I need to work myself out of anything. What bullocks. We are an interdependent cosmos. An interconnected ecology and biosphere. Yes, we are also an interdependent species that needs people to play parts to ensure all aspects of society flourish.That is as we enter into our true self, our whole self, living our authentic vocational calling…then we are resonating properly with our divine self.

The judges were there to guide a nation. Few will come to speak into our lives in the same way to aid us in getting back to our true nature (Judges 2:16-23).  It is a cycle, but is that not the cycle of the pilgrimage to the heart of the sacred for ourselves? Each life milestone we have those mentors that guide us through? We have those that speak into our lives to aid us in going through this recycle to go deeper into the authentic us? Each step being something new is born?

Who are the judges in your own life?

Those that aid you into a new you.