Bible in a Year – Day 111: Swagger Wagon
Swagger. That’s the word used in sports to describe a team or individual that has a special winning attitude – a sense that they can’t be beaten. Inevitably, when a team is making a championship run, commentators and columnists will start using the word swagger. A team with swagger can stand up to adversity. A team with swagger can summon unbelievable strength and skill at will. A team with swagger can play way better than the sum of their parts. Swagger is part of the equation of winning in any sport.
So, too, it must be with prophets. Reading these passages about Elijah and Elisha, I’m struck by the swagger that these two had. In fact, it’s startling and almost offensive just how confident these men are. Not only are they confident in the words they speak, but they are so confident in their mission that they seem to nonchalantly bring death and destruction on those who oppose them. When I read a story like Elisha being teased by a group of boys, calling down a curse on them, and watching two bears come out of the woods and maul them, it makes me wonder if this guy had a little too much swagger.
Yet, when you dig a little deeper into these stories, you realize that the swagger that Elijah and Elisha had was not of the self-confident, arrogant variety. Instead, their swagger was derived from a profound sense that God had called them to something. They had an uphill battle – to restore respect, honor and reverence for God among the leaders and people. They had been called to help people understand that there is one true God and that he is to be respected.
It stands to reason, then, that if you disrespect the ones sent by God, that you are disrespecting the one who sent them. And so, God deals with those who disrespect Elijah and Elisha. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but God knows that entire generations can be saved through the death of a few. In some ways, this is God’s “last ditch MO” – where he goes when all else fails. Destruction for the sake of salvation. Whether it’s destroying a few boys, fifty men, whole cities or even flooding the entire earth, God is willing to go to extreme measures to wake his people up.
And, lest we think God’s destruction is too harsh or is an act of selfishness, we must remember that his ultimate act of destruction was the destruction of himself, in the form of Jesus, for the sake of the salvation of the world.
- Holy Spirit – The Missing Piece of God
- Les Misérables and The Kingdom of God
- Bible in a Year – Day 364: Payback
- Bible in a Year – Day 359: A Personal Visit
- Bible in a Year – Day 357: True of False
- Bible in a Year – Day 353: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing
- Bible in a Year – Day 352: How About Jew?
- Bible in a Year – Day 347: One More Time!
- Bible in a Year – Day 344: Dreams, Dreams
- Bible in a Year – Day 342: Two Fruits