Day 81: Joshua 10–12, Psalm 68, John 2 – The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry

Joshua 10–12, Psalm 68, John 2
What kind of God orders people to conquer and kill? The first twelve chapters of Joshua
are narratives of the conquest of the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. The
stories are brutal. They seem contrary to our Christian understanding of the God who is
love (1 John 4:8). And when I think of the conflicts in Israel/Palestine today, I wonder, “Do
these sacred stories help? Hurt?”
Psalm 68 seems to continue the same troubling thread. “Let God arise, let his enemies
be scattered” (v. 1). But later in the psalm there is a hint that may help us to understand:
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows. God gives the desolate a home to
dwell in” (vv. 5-6). Here the brutal war language has a moral purpose: to defend those
who have no defenders, to provide for those who have not, and to set the prisoners free,
as the rest of the psalm says. The God who emerges here is one who cares passionately
for a homeless band of newly freed slaves (as described in Joshua) and all those
oppressed or disposed. And while the methods may be troubling, the motives are not.
That is where the story of Jesus’ miracle in John 2—changing water into wine—may
help. The miracle does not happen out of thin air. Jesus takes water that is and transforms
it into something new, the wine that shall be. That may be a pattern of God’s way of
being in the world. God takes what is and works to transform what is in the direction
of what is meant to be. Another way to say it is that God, working with fallible human
agents, takes what is a nightmare and transforms it into something closer to what God
dreams and intends for creation and the human family.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry
Bishop of North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
In your own life, how has God taken what
is difficult or painful and transformed it
into something positive?
Eternal God, open our eyes to see your
hand at work in the world about us.