Thursday, June 4, 2015


The Word for today:
Judges 6
Sometimes I read about Gideon for the great spiritual truths his story teaches us. I’ll probably get around to some of these great truths in the next couple of days.
But before we get all serious and spiritual, I want to admit that at other times I read about Gideon for the comic relief his story provides.
It has been duly noted that tragedy and comedy are not identical, but they are twins. Sin, by definition, is a falling short of what should have been (1), while comedy exists in the zone between what we are and what we might have been. Comedy, then, is very directly connected to the fall of man. Thus each of us has had occasion to say, “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but it is funny to see a person trip. In fact, an entire genre of comedy -- slapstick -– is predicated upon the ridiculous fall.
God’s Book is serious, and it is also seriously funny. Laughter was bundled within the image of Himself that God gave to us and never rescinded.
I know of no surer sign of sanity and intelligence than a sense of humor. I have a theory that your average stand-up comic is smarter than anybody in “the room.” For sheer IQ, a roomful of stand-ups will blow a roomful of Ph. D’s out of the water. And a roomful of world-class comics could intellectually intimidate a roomful of Nobel Prize winners. It wouldn’t be close.
So too in scripture, the genius of God shines through some of the lighter moments. When Jacob pulls the old switcheroo on his blind father, then falls for the old double-down at the hands of Uncle Laban before finally pulling the (speckled or striped?) wool over Laban’s eyes, it reveals to me that God has a twinkle in his eyes and laugh-lines around them. And when Jacob’s beloved Rachel conceals Uncle Laban’s idols by claiming that she is, umhh, periodically indisposed--then I’ve got to sit down for a spell, I’m laughing so hard.
Then, when Balaam kicks his ass until it talks back to him… Well, you had to be there.
And when Jesus (obviously a slapstick fan) tells of one blind man leading another by the hand until they both tumble into a ditch; or of the hypocrite who is unaware of the board protruding from his eye, then we are left to ponder the sound of God’s laughter.
Gideon 'lite'-- the ironic/comic vision of God.
So, as I said, before we get to the heavy spiritual truths in the story of Gideon, we must first see him as God’s Word introduces him--cowering in fear of the enemy with grist raining down on his head...
Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor."
 (Judges 6:11-12)
Threshing ("separating the wheat from the chaff") is done atop a hill where the winds prevail; winepresses were at the bottom of the hill. The picture of Gideon repetitively tossing wheat into the air in a windless winepress while hiding in terror of the Midianites is a picture of comic futility which never fails to elicit a chuckle.
But when the Angel of the LORD -- the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ -- addresses Gideon with the mock-heroic, "The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor," it leaves this Bible student ROFLMAO.
(1) Romans 3:23

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