Bruised, Blind-folded, Buffeted

Confused, bewildered, and condemned

Was how the man did feel,

Tossed, torn, badgered and buffeted

A fish hooked on a reel

 

Pulled here and there with various

Demands upon his time

Just like a puppet on a string,

Chastised for no mean crime.

 

Each string pulls on an unhealed hurt

Lodged deep inside his past.

To shake the shame off, he lets loose

A violent verbal blast.

 

“I wasn’t wrong!” he argues.

“I was right to act that way!”

“Stop telling me what I must do.

You can’t make me obey!”

.

And yet he can’t escape the fear

Still tugging on his mind.

It keeps him bound as he seeks out

A safe place to unwind.

 

Then shouts a higher voice,

“Oh, you who know not what you do,

Behold my thorn-stained brow.

I came from heaven to die for you.

 

“I let myself be blindfolded and

Treated shamefully.

The blood flowed as they plucked my beard

Men hit and spat at me.”

 

“Confusion mocked my pain

As men who changed truth for a lie

Heaped insults on my head

And ordered me to prophecy.

 

“And as I hung upon that cross,

Engulfed in misery,

I felt abandoned and alone.

God had forsaken me.

 

“But though it didn’t make much sense,

That’s how it had to be.

Your heartache I took on myself,

That you might be set free.

 

“It isn’t yours to carry,

For I’ve risen from the dead.

Recall that you’re my body

And that I, Christ, am your head.

 

“So, cast your sorrows onto me,

Along with every strife,

And I’ll give you the joy

That springs up to eternal life.”

 

 

 

 

 

Attempted Pay-off

“Forgive the intrusion,” said Ahab,

“But you have a plot that I love.

Your vineyard is fragrant and fertile,

With grapes that drip dew from above.

 

“Yet your workers are poor. They lack money

To pay taxes and cover their rent.

Your wife can’t afford bright apparel,

Because all your money’s been spent.

 

“Allow me to pose a solution

To rectify your many ills:

The finest of healthcare a la Jezebel,

Who cooks up the strongest of pills.

 

“Her potions can kill any virus.

I should know. I have sampled a few.

She stirs up a mighty rank cauldron.

Have you ever stewed in her brew?

 

“Why look you so hesitant, Naboth?

Why do your eyes shine with alarm?

Your people are ripe for a transplant.

Let me hire them to work on my farm.

 

“The silver and gold are in my hands,

I own cattle on hundreds of hills –

The ones that survived that long famine we had.

To think of that dearth gives me chills.

 

“I hope you don’t blame it on me, though.

I just did what I must to survive.

My wife’s a great queen. She deserves it.

Her heart is to see us all thrive.

 

“Bitter herbs are the answer, she tells me,

All her doctors agree. It’s the rage!

Bread and wine aren’t enough. We need healthier stuff.

Our menu requires a new page.

 

“To that end I beg you, dear Naboth,

In lieu of such spiritual fruit

As love, peace and joy (which may tend to annoy),

More practical produce to toot.

 

“Allow me to purchase your vineyard

And replace it with down-to-earth food,

Like envy and anger that grows like a weed

And puts you in one rotten mood.

 

“I’m just looking out for your welfare.

Your vineyard I’ll gladly replace

With a substitute crop based on following law.

Forget all this teaching on grace.”

 

But the man told him no, he would not compromise.

So, Jezebel continued the chase…

 

Can you relate to Naboth? Does some bully want your good stuff? Have you ever caved in and let them have what they wanted? If they got it, was it ever be enough?

 

 

 

The Foreshadowing

One of my favorite heroines in the Old Testament is Deborah, a prophetess people looked to for guidance during the oppressive rule of Jabin king of Canaan as recorded in the book of Judges chapter 4. His name says it all: He was a “jab-bin’” sort of guy.

“Jab, jab, jab. Ow, ow, ow.” “Get your rotten chariot off my foot!” Oh, for a ditch in which to pitch his iron war machines!

The tyrant was mean and he was well armed. But he wasn’t as smart as Deborah, who received strategy straight from God detailing how to beat him. She shared her battle plans with a man named Barak, telling him exactly where to go and who to recruit for his army.

“God says He’ll hand the jab-bin’ guy’s Army General Sisera over to you. So, go to it and do it!”

Barak hesitated. “That Sisera guy is no sissy,” he must have thought. So, he told Deborah, “I’ll only go if you go with me.” Was Barak acting like a sissy by insisting she support him?

“Sure, I’ll go with you,” Deborah said. “But because of the way you’re going about this, you won’t get any glory from it for God will hand Sisera over to a woman.”

The men in this story are nothing without the women. But that’s how it has been from the beginning.

“It’s not good for man to be alone,” the LORD had said when he made Adam, the first man (see Genesis 2:18). “I will make a helper for him.” How was Eve to help him? Well, God had given Adam a job to do, tending to the garden of Eden. He warned Adam not to eat from the knowledge of good and evil, but the serpent deceived Eve, who in turn led Adam into temptation. Could he have resisted the forbidden fruit she offered to him? Obviously, he should have, but he didn’t, and the result was tragic: a life of grueling toil for men; hard child-raising for women (in my opinion, raising them is ten times harder than giving birth); and a lifetime of slavery to sin. For they had both sinned against God and “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 3:23). However, it is through Adam that sin was passed down to all of us, because by his disobedience all were made sinners (Romans 5:19). Through his offense, death reigned (Romans 5:17).

Yet God did not look to fallen man to solve this problem, for it is not man but the devil who had the power of death. Adam was simply the one who handed it to him when he listened to his wife and ate the forbidden fruit. She in turn had been tricked by the serpent – or rather, the devil working through the serpent. The Apostle John in Revelation 12:9 describes the devil or Satan as the old serpent who deceives the whole world.  

     Getting back to Deborah and Barak, the oppression under which they suffered was great. Being slaves to “Jab-bin’ Jabin” was no picnic. It was sort of like a picture of bondage to sin, with General Sisera holding the devil’s pitchfork. Through a woman who was not deceived but who believed what God had spoken to her, God called a man to do battle against this devil that the bondage might be broken, but he couldn’t do it by himself. A woman’s touch was needed.

Jael, a woman Sisera trusted, helped lure this devil to his doom. He was deceived into believing that she had his best at heart. But while her enemy was sleeping, she took a nail and crushed his head, thus bringing deliverance to the people. By way of a metaphor, she parallels the virgin Mary, who helped fulfill God’s promise given in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed (Jesus); he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The Hebrew word for “bruise,” which some translate as “crush,” carries with it the idea of breaking or overwhelming. Satan bruised Jesus’ “heel” upon a cross, but Jesus crushed Satan’s head.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14