Friday, May 19, 2006

Does God always honor the "Good Guys"?

I was looking at the story of Naaman, the Syrian commander with leprosy, in 2 Kings 5 the other day. We're told from the start that he's well-respected because "through him, the LORD had brought victory to Aram (Syria.)"
Here's what gets me about that: The Syrians are the "bad guys"! The last thing we heard about them is that they were occupying an Israelite city, and so they get in a huge battle with both Israel and Judah (1 Kings 22.) The reason that we hear about Naaman at all is because Syrian raiding parties had kidnapped a little Israelite girl that became his wife's servant. She's the one, you remember, who suggested Naaman go see the prophet in Samaria about a cure for his leprosy. The point is--this man is not from Israel or Judah. He's not only a foreign gentile, he's a military commander for Israel's enemies! Yet, through him, the LORD (odd that this covenant name, YHWH, should be used in this instance!) had brought victory to the Syrians! But they're the bad guys! Why is God helping them?
This shouldn't surprise us, I guess. In the aforementioned battle for the city of Ramoth-Gilead (1 Kings 22), God punishes the wicked Israelite king, Ahab. This is a recurring theme in the Old Testament--especially Judges. God's people get out of line, and so God gives victory to an enemy power as a means to discipline his people.
Go read Habakkuk!
Hab: "God! justice and righteousness aren't being served here in Judah! How long will you let this go on?"
God: "Just wait a moment. I'm sending the Babylonians to bring judgment on Judah."
Hab: "God! The Babylonians?! They're worse than we are!"

Does God always honor the "good guys"?
How does this affect our view of the world, politics, and the Kingdom of God?
Discuss amongst yourselves.

Listening to: news on the radio

No comments: