Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Farmer In The Dell: a lesson in historical theology

And you thought it was just a kids song...

The Farmer in the Dell...
The titular farmer, of course, is Adam, who was placed in the garden of Eden "to work it and keep it." The Farmer represents the human race, and especially, God's people.

The Farmer takes a Wife.
This is not Adam, anymore, since he was given Eve to be his wife. Instead, this is the inappropriate behavior of the "Sons of God" and "Daughters of Men" in Gen 6:4, the end result of which is the Flood. From the judgment of the great flood, only a select number of those who pleased God were delivered.
Additionally, any time God's people "take a wife," that is, commit spiritual infidelity (since God is the "husband" of his people), there is, ultimately, judgment.

The Wife takes a Child.
How quickly the pattern of sin spirals out of control! Sin begets sin as Hosea's life-parable is borne out. Wives of adultery beget children of infidelity! And then, these idolatrous people engage in child sacrifice.

The Child takes a Nurse
Not content with the spiritual parentage they have, "the child"--that is, Israel--takes on a nurse, or babysitter. In other words, a caregiver of their own choosing. Not content with the priests and judges, God's people choose a king, rejecting the Kingship of their Creator, and thus begins the downward spiral that tears Israel in two, and finally results in their exiles to Assyria and Babylon.

The Nurse takes a Dog
Like a nurse might choose a dog for companionship and protection, so did the nurses--or kings--of God's child, Israel. Though some of the kings over God's people did what was right in His eyes, many did not. Instead, many rulers chose to worship pagan idols, and encouraged their subjects to do likewise. Forsaking the love and protection of God, these wicked kings sought peace and security in making treaties with the nations around them, and preferred the dubious protection of their lifeless images to the sure and certain covenant promises of Yahweh!

The Dog takes a Cat
Dogs do not naturally choose cats as companions. They choose them instead as playthings. During the exilic period in Babylon/Persia, God's people were made the weakened cat of the Babylonian dog. They could thrive, somewhat, and even practice a sort of weakened Judaism in captivity and after the return to Jerusalem. They were not, however, allowed to grow strong enough to be a threat again. While sometimes a cat may valiantly fight back (as in the Maccabean revolt), they will never emerge victorious. Thus, the Romans replace the Greeks, and the oppression continues.

The Cat takes a Rat
If the Cat is the plaything of the Dog, the Rat is doubly so to a Cat, since it's a food source as well as a toy. The Rat, in this case, is the weak-willed leadership during the Roman era. The religious leaders were either in league with the Romans or easily-swayed by the masses. And while they did not choose them, the Herods became soft and Pilate was spineless before the amassed people. Truly, he was a Rat.

The Rat takes the Cheese
It nourishing, calcium-filled, and quite tasty. And probably Swiss, since THIS Cheese is holey--erm, holy.
The Cheese is Christ, condemned to death by the Rat (the Jewish & Roman leaders.)

The Cheese stands alone!
Christ would not buckle to pressure from anyone to stop his teachings or take strong moral stands against the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders. Even afte his deah and resurrection, his people who were called "Christians"--Cheese-, um, Christ-people. They, too, refused to bow to the pressure of the Roman world and any other oppressive regime, governmental or spiritual.

They Stand Alone!

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