Bread – Prey

August 2, 2017


Psalm 76

Glorious are You, more majestic than the mountains of prey.”  Ps. 76:4

What are the “mountains of prey?”  In my Bible, there is a cross-reference to Nahum, a “minor” prophet whose book I admit I have never read.  Like a dictionary, this cross-reference is not much help, being a reference to Nineveh (Assyria) and this statement – “Behold, I am against you, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions.  I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard.”  Na. 2:13

In our way of thinking, the word “prey” is something or someone who is attacked by a predator.  So between the murderer and the victim, the victim is prey and the murderer is predator.

So, since nothing in my Christian library helps me understand what “mountain of prey” is, I translate it roughly as a “mountain of things I chase after, I hunt for, I run down to the ground.”

And what are those things?  What do we chase after, hunt for, and run down to the ground?  What about the idols of this world?  Don’t we hunt for prestige, for honor, for glory, for a “special place,” for money, for wealth, for power, for position, for influence, for respect, for love?

And, indeed, all those things we search for on a regular basis, ready to capture them and put them into our storehouses, create a mountain to climb every day.  If we are not more cunning, our opportunity will be lost to someone more aggressive.  If we are not more assertive, our desired position will go to someone else.  If I don’t save my money, I won’t have enough to withstand those who would take it away from me (through selling me things I don’t need, etc.).

We chase our mountain of prey every day; we attempt to climb the mountain of what we want out of life.

There was (maybe is) an old video game called “Super Mario” where this guy, who looked like a worker, ran, jumped, twirled, and walked, a lot uphill, through all kinds of obstacles and dangers, to get his “prizes,” which included “gold coins.”  It wasn’t until I was thinking about a mountain of prey this morning that I realized that is what Mario was doing in that game, chasing his prey up the mountain … and that is what we do.

But God is more majestic, more glorious, than that mountain of junk, of idols, we chase after.

And of course He is.  This “mountain of prey” is nothing more than a “mountain of ….. dashed dreams, broken promises, faulty gods(idols), selfish ambition, spent time on things  which will pass away.”

We will spend hours today chasing our prey and climbing the mountain of prey.  But how many minutes will we spend chasing the One who is “more majestic?”

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© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Bread – Craving

June 20, 2012


Readings for Wednesday, June 20 designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Num. 11:24-35; Rom. 1:28-2:11; Matt. 18:1-9; Psalms 81, 82, 119:97-120

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From our reading today in Numbers (with some paraphrasing by me): “…brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey {on each side of the camp) and about (a foot and a half deep). And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day and gathered … (at least 60 bushels of quail apiece). And they spread them out for themselves … the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague. Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving.” Num. 11:31-34

The entire reason for quoting this passage is to get to the place called “Kibroth-hattaavah,” which means “graves of craving.”

The Lord provides richly and the people, well the people just had to have it all for themselves. And God despised their gluttony, their selfishness, their craving and He killed them as a result.

The “house of craving.” The “place of craving.” The “graves of craving.”

Does this sound like a place which we know about? Does this sound like America, like Texas, like Plano, like my house? We have so much which has been given to us as a country, state, city, and home, all by the magnificent blessings of God, all by the richness of His mercy…and we crave it all, we eat it all, and we crave more, more, more, more, and more.

How can we be content when there are 60 bushels of quail to eat? Got to eat it fast, or it might spoil, or somebody else might get it, or we might see someone who needs it more and feel guilty for not giving it to them, or we might not have any tomorrow. Got to eat it all. Got that craving for it, for all, for more.

Even the gospel lesson today is about craving, but instead of gluttony for food it talks about gluttony for power. The question of the disciples in Matthew is “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Matt. 18:1. The real question is “Why do they care?” Well, we know the answer to that second question, because they are people like us and we care too. We crave the position of power, of authority, of name, of position, of rank. She’s greater in the kingdom of XYZ corporation because she has her own parking place. He’s greater in the kingdom of government because he has his name on the door. And on and on and on.

We crave the stuff but not a relationship with the source of the stuff. We crave the position and power without craving for a relationship with the only One with true power.

There is a message in Numbers today. The craving of stuff, of the things of the world, which make us more us – fatter, stronger, wealthier, more powerful – ends up in the “graves of craving.” And from there, judgment (see our reading from Romans today). The craving of relationship with Christ, of knowledge of the ways and mind of God, which make us more Him, results in eternal life.

What do you crave?

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