“Therefore saith the Lord, I will hold my tongue no more as touching their wickedness, which they profanely commit, neither will I suffer them in those things, in which they wickedly exercise themselves: behold, the innocent and righteous blood crieth unto me, and the souls of the just complain continually. And therefore, saith the Lord, I will surely avenge them, and receive unto me all the innocent blood from among them. Behold, my people is led as a flock to the slaughter: I will not suffer them now to dwell in the land of Egypt: But I will bring them with a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, and smite Egypt with plagues, as before, and will destroy all the land thereof.” (Reference: 2 Esdras 15:7-11 )
I have come to the conclusion, beloved, that it is not wise for me to read social media before commenting on these passages – even though they be from scripture. And to not read the historic Anabaptists quotes, because they remind me too much of the social media.
There is in this country (and cannot speak for other countries, not knowing from the inside what the social and political climate) a “tug of war” going on over social, interpersonal, and political issues. There seems to be no longer any common ground or compromise. Either you are with the opinion-giver or against that person or group – one or the other. Much of the historic Anabaptists quoted seem to tend towards extremist views.
A letter from Walter of Stoelwijk is used with this scripture passage. He writes at one point in his letter, “Oh, how sorrowful will the persecutors of the Christians be, when the righteous God will mete to them with the same measure with which they measured to the Christians. Where shall murderous Cain then hide himself, when the sorrowful and innocent blood of righteous Abel shall cry unto God for vengeance against him? Where shall the Babylonian whore, who now sits in her pleasure house and pomp, and has become drunken with the blood of His saints, and of the martyrs of Christ Jesus, escape the punishment of God, when the Lord will avenge the blood of His saints and witnesses, and require it at her hands?” For all those in his letter who suffer he means of course the Anabaptists. And for all those who cause the suffering he means the religious and state officials of that time.
And I could accept that if it were not for reading the exact same attitude in the daily newspaper, and more pertinently in the social media. As said just a few sentences before, maybe I need to stop reading Facebook. The sad thing is, however, since each person’s Facebook page has only those people who are “invited” to be there, the very articles and postings that cause me to despair are the posts from friends and friends of friends. In other words, these are not random comments from distance corners of the world; these are the people within my social network – a cross-sample of my “world”!
I didn’t know where to turn with my frustrations. So I did as I sometimes do; I turned back the years and looked at what was said 5 years ago. It was me writing that day, and I think I must have been in a better place or frame of mind, because what I said for this day 5 years ago blows me away. Listen to/read what I said.
As an interesting exercise, try substituting your name for “the Lord”. It would go something like this – “Therefore saith Carole [or your name] I will hold my tongue no more as touching their wickedness, which they profanely commit, neither will I, Carole, suffer them in those things, in which they wickedly exercise themselves: behold, the innocent and righteous blood crieth unto me, and the souls of the just complain continually. And therefore, saith Carole [or your name], I will surely avenge them, and receive unto me all the innocent blood from among them. Behold, my/Carole’s people is led as a flock to the slaughter:”
Besides the notion of hubris (meaning overbearing pride/presumptuousness/arrogance) and sacrilegious-ness, what feelings does doing this promote? What actions do you feel you might have to take or should take? What would you say to the governments that allow such actions against the common people? How would you avenge your people? However . . . we are not God so we do not have to decide what to do nor is it our place to.
But supposing, again just as an interesting exercise, it had been our responsibility to protect all these innocent and righteous people, to keep them safe from harm? What could we as humans do? And if there is nothing we can or could do, how could we cope with being unable to prevent it? But again . . . that has not been our duty or responsibility.
But once again, just supposing for interests’ sake, we knew of one or two innocent and righteous people who suffered despite our best efforts. Supposing they were neighbors or friends, or even family, whose innocent blood cried out to us for justice. What would we do?
And if I was to say this is no now longer an exercise of supposing, what would you think? If I were to say we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, what would that mean? If I were to say there are people in our global neighborhood who have been killed, lambs lead to slaughter because evil exited, what then? Just what are you going to do?
I don’t have the answer. But that does not mean we should stop asking the question. May you this day, in some small way, take a stand for the innocents that you know. Selah!
I don’t know about your beloved, but after reading the “me” of five years ago, I am saddened that our world has become so filled with bickering, back-biting people. And I stand helplessly amongst the loud arguing and disputing. I long for the God from this passage from Esdras to come down and stretch out the Mighty Hand to save the Lord’s people – which is all of us. To save us from ourselves. Again, Selah!