Friday, April 26, 2013

Race to the Finish

I've decided to end out A to Z this way because otherwise I just plain won't finish.  This week has been more exhausting than it should and it's not nearly over because it's the week my husband works Saturday which makes for a six day week.
U is for Uriah
Uriah the Hittite was the husband of Bathsheba and a soldier in King David's army.  After David's affair with Bathsheba when Bathsheba found out she was pregnant, David tried to cover it up.  He arranged for Uriah to come home on leave, hoping he would spend some time with Bathsheba and create an alibi for the child.  Uriah, however, was a man of some character and didn't feel it right to go home when all his fellow soldiers were sleeping in tents so he stayed with his troops.  You can contrast that with David who should have been out with his troops instead of watching women bathing.  After that, David had him killed by putting him on the front lines and having the other men pull away from him so he was sure to die.  Poor way for him to die.
V is for Vashti
Queen Vashti was the wife of King Xerxes of Persia.  She was deposed from her position after she refused to come to Xerxes at a dinner party.  He wanted to show off her beauty.  His advisers told him to remove her as queen because such insolence would set a bad example for the women of Persia who would feel they could rebel against their husbands as well.
W is for the Woman Subject to Bleeding
Unfortunately, we don't even know this woman's real name.  She had been subject to bleeding for years.  What people today don't realize is the ramifications of that condition.  If you check out Leviticus 15, please note that a woman who was bleeding continually like this woman would have been unclean the entire time.  This would have made her an outcast because if she touched anyone, they would also be unclean.  Elsewhere, some of the regulations also required you to call out "unclean" so she may have had to go through the crowds yelling this, to warn people away.  However, she had great faith.  She may have gone to see Jesus preach prior to this but we're not told.  She knew Jesus was too busy for someone like her but she fervently believed that if she just could touch the edge of his cloak, he would heal her.  So she did and she was healed.
Afterward, Jesus called her out.  But not to chastise her.  He did it to assure her that he had healed her and to commend her for her great faith.
X is for Xerxes
You remember Xerxes from that little blub about Vashi, right?  After Vashti, he sent out for all the eligible maidens to come to his palace so he could choose a new queen.  He chose Esther, who was secretly a Jew and God used Esther in her position of queen to save the Jews from Hamaan's plot (but you can read all about that in the book of Esther).
Y is for YHWH
In the Hebrew Bible, the name of God is written "YHWH" with the consonants omitted.  The Jews were afraid to say the name of God so the true pronunciation is lost but today, most people would write it "Yahweh."  
Z is for Zechariah
There are a couple of Zechariahs in the Bible but the one I'm thinking of is the father of John the Baptist.   Zechariah was a priest and it was his turn to go into the Holy of Holies during the Day of Atonement.  This was a semi-scary event for the priest because doing something wrong in the Holy of Holies meant certain death.  He would have been wearing bells so the other priests knew he was still alive and also a rope would have been tied to his ankle so that if God did strike him dead, they could have dragged his body out.
This time, Zechariah wasn't alone.  An angel was there too.  She told Zechariah that he would have a son who would be the forerunner to the Messiah but Zechariah didn't believe the angel because he was too old to have children.  The angel struck him dumb for his unbelief and his wife soon became pregnant.  He regained his speech only by writing "his name is John." on a tablet. 

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