I have been thinking about the creation scenario I shared in the last post.
And I forgot one thing.
When that first human belly laugh echoed out into space, and the angels stopped mid-step and smiled benignly, "Its just the human God made" they said to one another, "today is Naming Day. ***And He gave them His sense of humor.***"
That's how the conversation should have been written. Because we are made in the image of our Creator.
God has a sense of humor. I see it everywhere.
And I find it particularly in the Bible and Hebrew humor.
We gentiles say "Man proposes, God disposes."
Hebrew humor says, "Man plans. God laughs."
It's surprising, given how we gentiles look at Hebrew history. Not much humor, we say, in the Old Testament.
My friend, that's just because you are not looking for it. We have created in our minds a stingy, unforgiving Father in the old testament, always harping on laws laws laws - which could not be farther from the truth.
The laws He gave were for protection. He wanted to protect His special children from the evils and illness rampant in the people that surrounded them.
He said, outright, "if you keep these laws, you will suffer none of these diseases I put on the gentliles."
Because the gentiles were promiscuous, their religions were harsh (putting your newborn baby into the arms of a molten hot idol and watch as it screams and dies? You wonder why God wiped them out?) If they worshiped only Him, which is His due, they wouldn't be forced to do such things to prove their love of their "god.". (echoes of this as Muslim mothers encourage their children to blow themselves up for Allah. Allah is a moon god, not "another name for God.") They also exponentially reduced chances of communicable diseases They had no contact with blood. They didn't eat pork which had a parasite that formed cysts in muscles and brains. Or bottom feeders (catfish and shrimp) They didn't have contact with blood, which carried zillions of things - even their wife's blood. They covered their waste. And they weren't promiscuous, so no STD's. They had rudimentary hygiene, which no one else had. All because of a "harsh" God.
Now, pick up your Bible and look for humor. I find it particularly in Esther - which is now a Hebrew celebration called Purim, or "lots", based on Hamaan casting lots to find out the most favorable day to wipe out the Jewish race.. The kids dress up in costumes and go to synagogue to have Esther read to them
What's funny you say. It's a bleak story that doesn't even mention God.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh you silly gentile! God gave you a sense of humor!! (not as good as a Hebrew's, but it's there!) Nourish it!
To the Hebrew, God was in everything! Everything! (an attribute we would do well to adopt as our own!) So of course He is in Esther (Whose Hebrew name is Hadassah). Can't you see His fingerprints? It never entered the Hebrew mind that God wasn't behind this!
Haughty Hamaan, because one man wouldn't bow, wants to wipe out the whole race. He forces his servants to build, in one night, a gallows 3 stories high. The Bible doesn't say this, but I think it would be hilarious if all that building noise is what kept the king up that night...to read something boring like...ohhhhh, the annals of the kingdom for instance, to bore him to sleep... Where he finds (drum roll) Mordecai's act of loyalty. And decides to reward him.
But he can't think of a reward. hmmm. that's strange. He's a king. doesn't he reward lots of folks? But not this day. So he says, "who's in the courtyard?"
And lo and behold, none other but the villain, Hamaan (on Purim, as this book is read in the synagogue, all the kids have noisemakers. Every time Hamaan's name is mentioned, they hiss and rattle their noisemakers and stomp their feet to drown out the very sound of his name.! I loooooooove it!)
And why is Hamaan in the court? to ask the king for the life of the very one the king wants to reward. Hamaan can see it in his mind's eye: he'd say "Okingliveforever there's this guy that buuuuuuuugs me, and I was gonna ask if I could have him killed."
The king says, "sure, you want me to torture him or what?"
"Ummm let me think." Tapping chin, looking at the ceiling "Oh! I've got it! Let's stake him on a gallows. Which someone happened to build last night. In my front yard. 90 feet high so everyone in the city can see it."
That's how everything was supposed to play out. So when the king asks him that question about honoring someone, Hamaan, whose world revolves around, hmmmmm let's see ....OH! I've got it! Hamaan! Thinks, "who else would the king like to honor, but me!" And he paints this amazing scenario in his own mind: king's donkey (donkeys were the animals that only kings rode -appropriate, no?) King's robe (which may have been ermine and spun gold but would never have been washed so perhaps a tad smelly) and a nobleman proclaiming "this is how the king rolls." Or, um, in bible language "This is how it's done for the one the King wishes to honor"
The King says "Good idea! I knew I could count on you Haam', go do that for Mordecai, the Jew"
Oy vey! or maybe just OY! (He was, after all, a gentile.)
So out goes Hamaan and, of course, does what the king ordered him to do.
Now, Hamaan didn't keep his hatred of Mordecai a secret. Didn't even try. And so folks knew if you didn't bow before him he would wipe out not just you but every single relative of yours he could find.
The whoooooooooooooooooole town knew this. They also knew he was proud, self-worshipping, and condescending to others.
Can't you just see Hamaan leading this donkey, with Mordecai riding nobly above, and Hamaan loudly proclaiming "thus it is done for the one the King wants to honor" - and every person Hamaan sees is smiling from ear to ear or turning away a second to stifle a guffaw. That handy phrase "hoist on his own petard" comes to mind.
Meanwhile, in the synagogue, all the kids burst into laughter.
Then, as salve upon an open wound, the Queen invites the king and Hamaan - ONLY Hamaan - to dinner. Oooooo Hooooo Hoooooooo, am I hot stuff, Hamaan thinks. (which also the whole town knows - he's always thought he was hot stuff, and gossip about kings and villains spreads like wildfire..)
So here comes the banquet. After dinner, Esther has a moment of nervousness, and asks everybody back for the next night.
Hamaan has more to brag about.
The next night, Esther says, "OSweetiePieliveforever, something is rotten in Denmark (oops sorry wrong story)... OKingliveforever you have a rat in your bosom. This guy is trying to get you to wipe out my people. If he just wanted to enslave us I wouldn't say anything, but he wants to kill everyone of your loyal tax-paying servants. Including me, your favorite Sweetheart and queen. And by the way, my name is Hadassah - and Mordecai is my uncle. "
The king bellows "Who would have the cojones ...uh ...Who would DARE to do such a thing to you? WHO????"
"This rat here, Hamaan!" (wild cheering erupts in the synagogue, noisemakers galore)
The King stomps into the garden to cool off.
The brilliant Hamaan has an accident in his pants and falls upon the Queen's couch, to beg for his life .(Yeah, they ate on couches. icky, huh?)
Just at that precise moment, the king returns, sees Hamaan on top of the queen and gets the wrong idea.
"And now you're gonna ravish my queen right in front of me?!!"
Now, stop and think for a moment. People of Hamaan's persuasion whose whole world revolves around themselves - and thus, necessarily. the world of everyone around them, unfortunate souls - usually do not treat their -or anyone else's - servants kindly.
The king's servants have been putting up with this schmuck forever, and now are watching this go down with (dignified) glee. When Hamaan fell on the queen's couch, the head servant whispered to his assistant "go get an executioner's hood - this is getting good". So when the kings bellows and the word "ravish" comes out of his mouth, the servant says, " Okingliveforever, Hamaan is the one who built the gallows in his front yard that kept you awake last night, and he built it for Mordecai, who saved your life!"
The king says, " Oh really? Anybody got an executioner's hood?"
"Okingliveforever, I just happen to have one right" - whoosh - "here behind my back! What a coincidence, huh?"
And the servant's stuff the hood over Hamaan's face and whisk him away, to be hanged on his own gallows, with his 7 sons (the perfect number for his perfect life) - they were hanged because they were in cohoots with their dad - snotty begets snotty. (in those days in this place they didn't actually hang them. First they killed him, then they pushed their bodies thru the pointed stake at the top of what they called a gallows. eeeeeuwwww. and this one was 90 feet high. I think it wasn't only the Jews who were relieved that Hamaan was done for.)
Now a moment of seriousness.
The Jewish people, in every generation, has had a madman who hated them and wanted to kill the whole race. Hitler was not an original. And did you know he had Jewish ancestry? According to his policies, he should have been the first to be eliminated in his new guidelines. People look down on the Jews, freeze them out of country clubs and anything else they can freeze them out of. Their humor is often self-depracating. It is a wry kind of humor and I find it delightful. When people say "But you are the chosen people," they often say "Why doesn't God choose someone else for awhile?" (I actually had this conversation with a Jewish friend - and, sure enough, that's what he said.)
Things said and done during the holocaust are actually in the Word, where it talks about there being only one from a family, or one from a whole city that survives. Yet survive they have. Mark Twain once said, "If you want to see a living miracle, look at the Jew."
He went to Israel as he notes in his Travels and he described it in quotes from the Word, as a desolate place with no trees, rocky and arid.
I can't help but think the humor God put into the Jew got them through some grim days.
Then ? God ignored them for 2000 years. Unfortunately, the "Christians" did not, with pogroms and eradication and eviction from country after country. The Inquisition, the Crusades - where "holy" knights, who were promised heaven if they died in battle (sound familiar?) tried to see how many Jewish babies they could fit on a sword. Atrocity after atrocity. There is a reason the Jew doesn't trust the Christian.
And now God has brought them Home, and is dealing with them once again, His covenant with them, which over and over again He declared to be an eternal covenant that depended not on their behavior, but on God alone, is still in effect. Our God is NOT a covenant breaker! The land Twain described no longer exists. It is alive with trees, fruit, flowers, people who laugh and dance and sing and are recognizing their Messiah in huge numbers, with many Messianic congregations. God told them the desert would blossom like a rose, and you can go to Israel and see that prophecy in living color. They supply Europe with over 75% of the cut flowers imported. They supply the world with food, not just their own people. Look on your supermarket shelves and you will find jams and jellies and crackers and delicacies that were made in Israel. Almost every advance in medicine and computers has come from Israel, Every October Christians from all over the world gather for Shavuot (the feast of the ingathering) to show their support for Israel in a parade where they march on foot through the streets of Jerusalem.
And why not? We owe them everything :our Messiah, Jesus, Who was crucified by our sin. NONE OTHER. On a Roman Cross. By Roman soldiers.
You really ought to go there. It will turn the Bible from black and white to living color. Once you've been there, you will never be the same.
For the first time in history, an ancient people, forced to wander from their home for 2000 years, came back and revived their native tongue, which had not been spoken in every day language (it was like Latin - used formally but not as a daily language) for 2000 years and is now a living, every day language once more.
The Balfour declaration, which is what started the deep thirst for their homeland, was ratified to give them not only where Israel is today - (there was no country of Jordan at that time.) All the land that Jordan includes was supposed to be part of Israel. The British, however, anti-Semitic to the last( they exported every Jew long before Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare had never met a Jew - there weren't any in England. I so love the mercy speech he put in the Merchant's mouth! It continues to amaze me, even tho , at the end of the play and with a sword at his throat, the Jew is forced to "become a Christian" - which is something that happened over and over during the Spanish Inquisition) the Brits decided that was too much land to give to a Jew and chopped it down to indefensible borders - less than 8 miles wide at one point - and then supplied the 8 arab countries with weapons - to start a war with them the day their country was ratified by the UN. They couldn't even speak to each other because some spoke Yiddish, Some Latvian and Polish - they had no common language, and commanders often could not communicate with their troops. Time after time, God provided miracles of protection for them - the odds were almost literally one in a million - a million arabs for every Jew - and the Jews had few rifles, no tanks, paltry amounts of ammunition. They have been attacked 6 times, maligned by countless, and still, they survive. That's all they really want: to survive, to raise their children in peace.
Did you know that Israel is smaller than Rhode Island? Even today, an IDF jet takes less than 60 seconds to fly across the country. And the" West Bank" is actually none other than Samaria and Judea. The arabs call it that so that people don't realize they are talking about the heart of Biblical Israel.
When the arabs realized they were not going to win in any war, in spite of all their attempts to do just that, they began telling lies. Hitler himself said if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. ( For a muslim, it is not a lie to tell untruths to infidels, which is you and me). Arafat did this remarkably well - and I hate to disillusion you, but Arafat was not a "Palestinian" - which has never been a country, never had a ruler, never had a law, never existed - Arafat was an Egyptian Muslim. "Palestine" was the name a Roman governor gave to Israel so the Jews could not claim it as home. When Israel became a county in 1948, no arab would deign to be called palestinian because it was a derogatory name for the Jew. But Arafat knew they needed a myth to believe in - so he made one up.
If you tell a lie often enough, people believe it.
The truth is, Israel has offered many times to build homes and hospitals where the "palestinians" are and has been refused. You can't demoniZe a people who did that for you, so the leaders won't take help. The millions sent to them for "their people" are scarfed up by the leaders. Arafat died a multi millionaire. Did you know that Israel agreed to every demand of Arafat at Camp David and he stormed out - only to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize?
If you tell a lie often enough, people believe it.
Now they claim Jesus was a palestinian freedom fighter. And a lot of "Christians" believe it.
For the truth of what I have said about the above, get the book "From Time Immemorial" - written by a former State Dept official who wanted to vindicate the "poor palestinians" because she had been so active in the civil rights movement. She was incensed that the Israelis were stealing "palestinian" land and keeping them in camps. So she went to Israel and did research. What she found, and documented, stunned her. What she discovered was the myths and lies being swallowed whole as truth. The palestinians stole Jewish history - and made it their own. She was so appalled she wanted to tell the real truth about what was happening to Israel. So she published her book.
And no one cared.
If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it.