Wednesday, 29 January 2014

1 Samuel 16: I love my God of Dramatic Suspense

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” (1 Samuel 16:1 ESV)

The more I read the bible, the more I realize that the Lord our God has a number of quirky habits. One is that he loves two things, among many others. They are: us, humans; and dramatic suspense. For example, in the above verse, God could very easily have said this instead: "for I have provided for myself a king from David, his youngest son." However, for the sake of justice, beauty, love, mercy, holiness and his own glory, all at the same time, he chose to purposely withhold this piece of vital information instead, creating a suspenseful dramatic tension. It is like the last few minutes of an episode in a TV series.

And it is not just in this specific chapter, nor in the writings of Samuel. In fact, its ubiquitousness throughout the protocanonical books (which I have not finished reading as of now) convince me that it is indeed a motive. We can find it Genesis 3:15 "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”" In that verse, two of the most practical and relevant information for humankind are missing. 1. Which offspring? 2. When will it happen? It took around four thousand years, according to some estimates, for anyone to know that it is Jesus the Christ, son of Mary, that will bruise the serpent's head. On top of that, we still don't know when.

To bring it even further, it could be inferred that all prophecies are creating dramatic tensions. Now, scholars have come up with a plethora of explanations of why would God use this plot device upon us. The most common one goes like this: that we may rely upon him on each and every step in our life. If we know everything from the beginning, we would rely on him less along the way, at least in terms of knowledge and decision making. I guess that could be true (although to me, it sounds like what an insecure girlfriend would do).

But for me, when I read this verse, the most important detail for me personally is not the answer to: Why does God play favoritism with this particular trope. Instead, it is the discovery that my chosen Lord, which conveniently happened to be God, is the God of Dramatic Suspense; among other things like the universe and ancient Israel. I do honestly find this habit of God to be cute and adorable, although some people might find it bratty and annoying. But nevertheless, I choose to love my God, however cheeky he might be, although in this case it is easy.

When it comes to other discoveries, like his jealous tendency (Exodus 20:5) and genocidal burst (1 Samuel 15:3), something the present me is not comfortable with, I still choose to love him regardless. Because "he first loved us" (1 John 4:9).

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