Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sarcasm In The Bible – Example #3 – The Whiny Israelites

(this series is going on all month, so if you’re not digging it and want me to go back to whining about my life, please rejoin us in February. )

It’s true, the Old Testament has way more examples of sarcasm than the New Testament (Paul’s writing notwithstanding.) They were so angry in the Old Testament, plagues, wars, sacrificing animals, sacrificing kids if God told you to (JUST KIDDING ABRAHAM!) It’s a wonder God loved us enough after all of it to send Jesus, that He didn’t just smite us all for being a planet of thoroughly bratty kids.

And the Israelites in Exodus are no exception. Seriously, thank God they’re the chosen people, because who’d wanna save THIS bunch.

Having made it through the 10 plagues that God through Moses and Aaron inflicted on Pharaoh and Egypt (Exodus 7 -10, and incidentally, my favorite plague is the plague of frogs, because unlike the plagues of gnats, flies, and locusts that simply flew away when they were done swarming, when the plague of frogs is over, the frogs die where they are, meaning dead frogs everywhere “… they were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them” (Exodus 8:14) You know they’re all pointing fingers at each other saying WHO’S GONNA CLEAN UP THESE FROGS!?!) Pharaoh has allowed the Israelites to leave.

It’s not immediately clear how many days have passed since they’ve left Egypt, so we don’t know if the Israelites are basking in the feeling of triumph, jubilation, security, and We Are The Champions when Pharaoh changes his mind and decides to get his pack o’ slaves back.

But bitchy they get, charging Moses with “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us out to the desert to die?” (Exodus 14 v.12)

Awesome bitchy use of sarcasm.

Never mind the fact that God has been with them all this time, literally appearing in a pillar of cloud during the day and in a pillar of fire by night to lead the way (Exodus 13: 21 -22) and one would think that a God that would care enough to do that, a God who rescued them from bugs, boils, and hailstone bumps, among other plagues, probably isn’t going to be bitchy back and say “YEP! I BROUGHT YOU GUYS OUT OF EGYPT TO KILL YOU ALL! THANKS FOR THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES AND THE WORSHIP SONGS! KISS YOUR BUTTS GOODBYE!”

Nope, God instead parts the Red Sea for them, lets them go through so they can hit the Universal Studios gift shop on the other side, and then drowns the Egyptians when they follow.

One would think this would shut the Israelites up enough to where they would learn to trust God, and know that He’s not gonna let them die. But nope. Because the Israelites are a whiny whiny bunch, and they complain a lot more.

Exodus 16 – The Israelites complain that they don’t have enough food, so God rains down manna and quail on them.

Exodus 17 – The Israelites complain that they don’t have any water, so God tells Moses to hit a rock and water comes out.

Exodus 32 – The Israelites complain that Moses isn’t coming down from the mountain where he’s getting the 10 commandments anytime soon, so Aaron, make us a golden calf that we can worship. That doesn’t go well.

And here’s where God’s had enough of them, and tells Moses he’s gonna kill them, and it’s only by Moses’ intervention, pleading and praying that God says okay, fine, but MAN, I’m pissed off at them, so I’m not going with them to the Promised Land “…because you are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you” (Exodus 33:5), and it’s only by Moses’ intervention, pleading and praying that God says okay, fine, I’ll go with you but you guys are a bunch of whiny brats. I still love you, but SERIOUSLY, MAN UP ALREADY.

So ultimately, the moral of this Sarcastic Lesson is #1 – Sarcasm is what shell-shocked people fall back on when confronted with impending death and #2 – TRUST GOD ALREADY.

Seriously. These whiny Israelites don’t know how good they had it.

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