Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Great Bovine Dream, Shattered

This story is from 1 Samuel 6.

The Israelites had gone to war against the Philistines against God's will, and the Philistines defeated the Israelites, and stole the ark of the covenant. While the ark was in the possession of the Philistines, bad things kept happening to the Philistine city in which the ark was kept. So finally the Philistines said, "Let's send this ark home. But how will we know for sure this is YHWH's hand against us, and not just a coincidence?" And the Philistine wise-men suggested that they put the ark on a new cart, and hook up two cows that had never been hooked up to a cart before, and see if the cows leave their calves behind, against their nature, and pull a cart to which they've never been trained, working as a team which they've never done before, and if they leave their home, which would be against their nature, and pull the cart to Israel; if these things happened, then they'd know it was God's doing and not just a chance thing.

They did these things, and the cows, who always thought they deserved the Great Ameri..., uh, Bovine Dream of having a happy family and a big house in the 'burbs with a two-car garage, and 2.5 calves, and a mini-van, left their calves, and left their home, and pulled the cart, and worked as a team. They cried the whole way ("lowing the whole way"), and when they arrived, they were not informed what a great lesson they provided; they were not thanked; they were apparently not even given a handful of hay or a drink or water; instead, they were killed and roasted as a sacrifice.

Here's the key: they never knew what the purpose of their lives were. Yet, 2500 years later their lives still glorify YHWH. Even though they never knew this would be the case.

Today, you may be one of those cows. Rejoice that God has a purpose for you, even if you never know what it is and never get your dreams fulfilled. (And also know, in the Life to Come, your dreams will be more than fulfilled.)

Be faithful.

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