Revisiting the old

I was going through Vancouver on our way home from FSJ and had enough time to stop by an Asian supermarket. The island is fairly limited on those.  I should probably explain that Asian food is my comfort food.  Indian curries are my go-to for comfort, rice is my staple, pandan coconut jam makes me get all teary for Singapore, Japanese seaweed rice topping is a must in our house, and so on.  I found they were having a sale on gold kiwi. …. mmnnn…. this happens once a year and it happened to be happening when I was there! Happy dance. Bags of kiwi later, to be shortly turned into my absolute favorite Gold Kiwi and Banana jam, as I strolled happily through the aisles, I found grass jelly. I haven’t had it for years. In Singapore it is a common hawker stall drink. It tastes really good on a hot day! So I picked up a couple of cans.

I had written this recipe a while back, Coconut Grass Supreme, but hadn’t revisited it and in fact hadn’t even put pictures up with it. So today I made it again. After the last few years of foodie-ism it felt a little lacking so I jazzed it up with fresh lychee and young coconut.  It tastes like a dream…and calorie wise it certainly should be classified as a dessert!  I like weirding my kids out sometimes so I left some of the “snakes” in serpenty form (parfait cup getting useful here):

Speaking of the old, I was thinking of the sad story of David and Batsheba. I have been enjoying discovering Anthem Lights as a band and one of them did a cover of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” which mentions the David story.  One thing that I have heard debated in Christian circles is submission. In this story, Batsheba is married to Uriah. Uriah is by all accounts a mighty warrior (mighty enough to be part of David’s most honored warriors, 2 Sam 23:39), and he is a loyal citizen. In fact Uriah proves to be of stronger moral fiber than David, the man after God’s own heart. Of course it gets him killed. Batsheba is, by all accounts, gorgeous. She seems to be young here as well, in fact one guy has extrapolated ages considering Batsheba’s father and grandfather were David’s men and in his guess, David is about 49 and Batsheba is 21 (link here).  Her character. ..that is what is debated. See, King David sees her bathing. Ah! She bathes in public!  Well, on her roof actually and by contemporary cultural customs what she did was probably normal. And David,  in his palace, while his army is off fighting (which btw _everyone_ seems to think is a shirking of his duty), strolling around at night, sees her and has her brought to him. Here is the crux of the moral question.  Did Batsheba comply in the ensuing sin of adultery? Or is she trapped and David bears all blame?

It seems like perhaps it is silly to debate the sin or lack of it in a story that happened thousands of years ago. Yet… Christianity teaches women to be subject, or in submission, to their husbands. That hasn’t changed. So Batsheba’s actions and the question of her bearing sin guilt before God are pertinent to today because in this story, Batsheba’s submission to her husband and to her king are at war.

Batsheba’s actions after the adultery may be somewhat telling. When she discovered that she is pregnant by David, she sends him a message. She doesn’t tell her husband away at war. She tells the co-conspirator. This act eventually leads to her husband’s death. So not only is adultery potentially laid at her door, but murder as well.  Of course, death was the law’s punishment for adultery and Uriah seems like a real stickler for the law, so she may have had good reason to withhold the information from him – after all if modern readers of the tale wonder if she was complicit, wouldn’t an enraged husband also presumably wonder?

What struck me recently in thinking the story over is, how does God see Batsheba’s actions?  One. She is never rebuked by God. David is. Two. When God sends Nathan the prophet to David he has him tell David a story. In this story, David ends up being the rich man who takes a poor man’s only lamb, one who had slept in his arms, and serves it on a plate to the rich man’s guest. Neither the poor man or the lamb have any ability to resist the rich man’s action. Of course in real life Uriah could not resist David – he was away fighting David’s war. But how much ability did Batsheba have to resist David? My recent conclusion is that God portrays her as a helpless lamb. How much can a lamb resist being eaten?  Even if it resisted with all its might, we all know it is going to be dinner.  So if God himself calls her the helpless lamb, that seems to indicate that He does not count her sin against her (except bilaterally through David, she experiences the death of her son as punishment for David’s sin) who are modernists to do so?

It is interesting with hindsight to see that this relationship, begun in the darkness and secrecy and covered by blood guilt, ends up being a vital link in the genealogical chain of Jesus Christ. Their son Solomon of course goes on to inherit David’s kingdom and provide a Davidic heir to one of Jesus’ parents. What is less noticed is that Jesus’ other parent also traces their genes back to Batsheba, but through one of her other sons (she and David eventually have 4), Nathan. Nathan.  David named him this after the prophet who was sent by God to tell him that his sin would result in the death of their first boy. It appears that no “bad blood” remained between them, from this and the fact that it was the prophet Nathan who was also integral to Solomon’s ascension to the throne when his brother tried to usurp it.  Nathan means gift of God. Solomon was also named by God “Jedediah” or beloved of the Lord…

All of this encourages me. Why? This world can’t seem to go one day without brother killing brother, wars, famines, etc.  Seeing how God used a dark period to bring about redemption reminds me that the story isn’t over yet. God is still calling his people home. Still in the redemption business. Thank you! 🙂

About nathankathy

Nathan and Katherine Born are two Christians trying to serve God as best they can.
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