Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mean people stink

At least that's what the bumper sticker says. Actually it says something a little different, but you get the idea.

Sennacherib king of Assyria sent mean people to taunt Hezekiah king of Judah, and also the people of Jerusalem.

The field commander said to them, "Tell Hezekiah:
This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says:
... blah blah blah...
Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.
Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joab said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."

But the commander replied, "Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the men sitting on the wall -- who, like you, will have to eat their own filth and drink their own urine?"

Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand.
... blah blah blah...
Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand?"

2 Kings 18.19, 25-29, 33-35
This guy is not very nice. He is arrogant. He is crude. He's mean.

He's also totally wrong, both in claiming that "The Lord himself told" him to destroy Jerusalem, which is patently false, and in comparing the Lord to those false gods.

I've read this passage many times before, but sometimes I've thought, "Boy, is he ever in for a shock!" or things like that... basically focusing on what a big mistake this clown was making. He takes the name of the Lord in vain. He makes an insulting comparison. And he attacks a nation that the Lord will defend supernaturally.

But the thing I noticed this time around is that the guy also has a character defect: he's mean.

Do I sometimes face the temptation to act (or to be) mean? How well do I resist it? What do I need to resist it better? James's words come to mind: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."

posted 7/2

No comments: