Dream word – HUNG
2 Samuel 21:11-14
“And David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. Then David went and took the bones of Saul, and the bones of Jonathan his son, from the men of Jabesh Gilead who had stolen them from the street of Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them up, after the Philistines had struck down Saul in Gilboa. So he brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there; and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged. They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the tomb of Kish his father. So they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God heeded the prayer for the land.” NKJV
Rizpah and the hanging of red meat
Oxygen in the blood produces lactic acid. It is the work of this meat tenderising acid in game that has been hung for some time, that makes the meat more concentrate and full of flavour. The longer the meat is hung, the more tender and tasty the eating.
It is English poet Wordsworth whose poem “Rizpah” tells the story of a mother, mad with obsession concerning the bones of her dead son, Willy, who was sentenced and cursed to be hung on the gallows for simply robbing the mail. Eventually, she secretly buries the bones in a shallow grave on consecrated ground next to the church and in the poem she recounts her actions to a genteel lady sat at her side in the final hour of her life, saying:
Do you think I was scar’d by the bones? I kiss’d ’em, I buried ’em all
I can’t dig deep, I am old—in the night by the churchyard wall.
My Willy ’ill rise up whole when the trumpet of judgment ’ill sound,
But I charge you never to say that I laid him in holy ground. They would scratch him up—they would hang him again on the cursed tree.
Sin? O, yes, we are sinners, I know—let all that be,
And read me a Bible verse of the Lord’s goodwill toward men—
“Full of compassion and mercy, the Lord”—let me hear it again;
“Full of compassion and mercy—long-suffering.” Yes, O, yes!
For the lawyer is born but to murder—the Saviour lives but to bless.
In our text for tonight, we are presented with the summary of one of the most sorriest of scenes ever recorded in Scripture. Rizpah, that grief consumed woman of old, has for five months been watching over seven hanging corpses, each one made black by the wind, dried in the sun, rotted all to a jerk chicken scarecrow consistency, two of which, were her own dear sons. By day Rizpah has kept away the birds and by the night the hungry jackals. Five sorry months of the attendant care of corpses, with time to contemplate some well hung meat.
A three year famine in the land had brought King David to seek the reason why, and it had been revealed to him, that it was because of Saul’s unlawful attempted genocide of the Gibeonites that this curse had come. The surviving Gibeonites were then consulted and refusing all bloody money, demanded seven of Saul’s sons, got them, killed them and hung them up for all to see. Now the law was very clear concerning capital crimes, in that the bodies should be buried at even time. These seven corpses however, no doubt under the command of David, were hung in the face of God, waiting for the curse to be lifted and the rain to come. Five months of well hung meat and still there was no rain, just the pain of a mother looking on endlessly.
Rizpah’s daily ritual, led eventually to make King David likewise “honour” the dead. So, sending for the remains of Saul and Jonathan, he gathered them with the bones of the seven corpses and interned them with dignity in the family grave. It was after this that God heeded the prayer for the land. It was after this. Selah.
Two thousand years ago, the Son of the King of the whole earth was hung on a tree, His mother looking on endlessly, her heart pierced through with a sword. Like a deep cut and tenderised scarecrow, He bled out is life down the wood of His cross for all the world to see. And there was made a curse for you and there was made a curse for me. God ate His own Son up in judgement on that most scandalous of crosses and as often as we eat that bread and drink that cup, we too remember the tenderness and tastiness of hanging meat, in that most terrible of sacrifices. The law of sin and death in the hands of lawyers can lead only to cursing and condemnation. He, the most merciful God however, He who was made your curse, can most truly set you free.
Listen: “The plain fact is that bull and goat blood can't get rid of sin. That is what is meant by this prophecy, put in the mouth of Christ: You don't want sacrifices and offerings year after year; you've prepared a body for me for a sacrifice. It's not fragrance and smoke from the altar that whet your appetite. So I said, ‘I'm here to do it your way, O God, the way it's described in your Book.’ When he said, ‘You don't want sacrifices and offerings,’ he was referring to practices according to the old plan. When he added, ‘I'm here to do it your way,’ he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan - God's way - by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.” (Hebrews 10:4-14 from The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson.)
Pray: Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in, that wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin. Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon; the early dew of morning has passed away at noon. Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave; remember I’m the sinner whom Jesus came to save. Tell me the story always, if you would really be, in any time of trouble, a comforter to me. Tell me the same old story when You have cause to fear that this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear. Yes, and when this world’s glory is dawning on my soul, tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.” (From Katherine Hankey’s The Old, Old Story)
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