Saturday, June 17, 2006

All But One

It happens in broad patterns. Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob. The first murderer, banished into the east, marked not as a curse but for his protection. Perhaps it was a birthmark - blood red. But red-stained Esau found grace, for all that he was hated by God. Cheated, supplanted, he found in the end a will to grace greater than any that Prince Israel could summon. To fall weeping into the arms of a bitterly estranged and found-again loved one. It should be a Feast Day.

We slide down the years to the time when all humanity was destroyed, to the little children. Everyone. Every one. But for providence, it could happen again. All but one family, preserved through and above the purging tide of God's wrath. God seems in ages past to have been harsher in His judgments. But perhaps the world is cleaner now. Perhaps.

If we blink and look again we settle upon barren Sarah, promised a child and then made to wait past the age for the bearing. And the day that child, grown to manhood now, was scheduled to meet death under the knife in his father's hand, Sarah dies. She had thought him slain, you see, apprized joyfully of the fact by Satan - when she learns her only child lives, she dies of joy. Isaac lives to finds a wife, Rebecca. She too is barren. And when she conceives her twins, they contend even in the womb.

Moses, born in Egypt, sole survivor of his peers - all others slain by Pharaoh's sword. Hmm. Narrow escape. Well, narrow for Moses. No escape at all, for all the other infant boys. Sixteen hundred years later, another Pharaoh, called Herod, annihilates the children of a region in pursuit of another saviour. Did Jesus too find refuge in some Egyptian court?

Midpoint almost between these two we find dead king Jehoshaphat, his son Jehoram dripping with the blood of every one of his siblings. He made himself an only child. There is a justice, of sorts, though. His own sons, every one, were slain by the Arabians. Every one but one, Ahaziah. Who grew to have a family of his own. And all his children too were slain, by their father's mother. All but one, Joash, who hid and grew in the Egypt of the Temple.

Haman and Hitler planned their genocides and failed.

So it goes.

Were it not for God's promises, we would be dead in Adam's loins. But none of it came as a surprise. There is always an ark, for a few, or one - an ark constructed at great pains and incalculable cost. Because there is benefit in life, however distant, we knock on the door of such an ark, though it be sealed up by God Himself, and hope that it is opened. Timing is everthing, though. A moment's delay makes no difference, except when it does.

Satan started out only as a middling-sized serpent. He has grown into a dragon of unspeakable ugliness. God can't change, but evil grows worse. The next flood will be of fire. Maybe this one will do the job, for all that dragons have an affinity for flames. I wonder what the next ark will look like. But of course we already know the answer. The blood of the Lamb is fireproof. But so much blood.


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