My pastor has stated, more than once, that God has no enemies.
I assume he means that God is no one’s enemy. And that, I think, is true.
But Enemyville is paved with both one and two way streets, and though God does not wage war against us, some of us wage war against Him. Making some of us His enemy. And then there’s Matthew 13, beginning in verse 25.
Whoa and Woe.
A Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner. Probably to vet Him. Jesus was doing a lot of speaking and teaching at the time and He was starting to draw large crowds. A good Pharisee cannot let anyone teach to large crowds – or even small crowds – without careful vetting.
So Jesus went to dinner and He didn’t wash His hands before eating.
Whoa! The Pharisee was shocked.
Jesus, feeling the judgment that oozed from His host said, “You guys wash the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. Now, as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”
“Be generous to the poor and everything will be clean for you.” That’s a statement worth pondering. But not now because Jesus had more to say.
He went on to slam the Pharisees for giving a tenth of their herbs but neglecting justice and love. It would be better, He said, to skip the tithe and focus on the other two.
He slammed them for enjoying celebrity treatment.
At this point, another guest at the table, an expert in the law, spoke up: “Hey, wait just a minute, when you dis the Pharisees you dis us, too.
“Now that you mention it,” Jesus said, turning His attention to the experts in the law, “woe to you, too, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”
Raise your hand if you go to a church that loads you down. Raise your hand if you were reared in one.
God gave Moses ten commandments. Ten. To those ten the “experts in the law” piled on a whole Leviticus and Deuteronomy worth of regulations and feast observances.
It’s like legalese making contracts so difficult to understand that you must pay an expert in the law.
It’s like when you have a theological discussion with a blogger who’s been to seminary and they attempt to put you in your place by pulling out words like hermeneutics…
Unlucky for them Jesus didn’t call anyone who had been to seminary to be His disciples, there wasn’t an expert in the law in the bunch. My guess is He considered it a liability.
And then there’s all the vetting that some churches do before they will allow a member to serve in any way – big or small – to prevent the slightest breach, the slightest hairline crack in their carefully crafted doctrine.
As if God is unable to repair hairline fractures.
But I digress.
Jesus said a lot more stuff about them being responsible for the deaths of the prophets and then He finished by saying, “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
“They’ve taken away the key to knowledge.” Hm.
“They have not entered and hinder those who are trying to enter.” More to ponder.
After dinner the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose Jesus fiercely and to besiege Him with questions, waiting to catch Him in something He might say.
Later they plotted as to how they might kill Him.
Yep, God has enemies.
All this vetting and pouncing and hindering and plotting and fierce opposing has turned my thoughts to our election.
Contrary to what the polls say, THIS middle-aged-white-woman (and former social worker) intends to vote for Trump.
Because what former social worker can resist rooting for the underdog; can resist standing up for the one who is being attacked from all sides – the media, the opposing party and even, shamefully, from within his own party?
What seeker of justice can reward smug, elitist, political “experts” who are arrogant enough to ignore the will of the majority of their party and desperately scrape up and push forth “independent” alternatives?
Plus, everyone in the womb is counting on me.
I’ll say no more, lest this stream of consciousness – prompted by the word “carry” – gain me some enemies.
“Woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”