One of the most embarrassing and traumatizing moments in my young life was when the gym coach had everyone lined up, so two captains could choose teams. Much like Donkey, in the Shrek movie, deep down inside I was jumping up and down yelling, “Ohhh, choose me, choose me!!!”
I would like to think that I’m athletic, but I was always skinny and short, so most of the time, unless the part called for, skinny and short, I wasn’t towards the top of anyone’s draft choice board.
But, I was picked to be on San Bernardino’s JCC’s Little League Braves, most likely because my middle brother David was a stud. Anyways, Coach Art sternly warned me every time I stepped up to the plate, “Put that bat on your shoulder son and don’t even think about swinging!!!” Since I was short, my strike zone was probably the size of a piece of paper, Coach Art knew no 11-14yr old had that much command of their pitches to hit a target that size three times. I always got walked. I had a .000 batting average that year, but was on base probably 20 times. Lol, Coach Art saw me as a “sure-thing” when it came to having someone on base.
I have read many accounts of how a random incident like a flat tire, caused someone to miss work on 9/11, or other occasions when a fluke hold-up was enough for someone to miss what would have been disastrous. An alarm clock that one person forgot to set, a bus that was missed, a train delay, a missed taxi, a sick child and so on.
In 2nd Samuel Chapter 8 there is a Biblical account of missing the cut, not measuring up and it’s a good thing.
2 Samuel 8:2 NLT “David also conquered the land of Moab. He made the people lie down on the ground in a row, and he measured them off in groups with a length of rope. He measured off two groups to be executed for every one group to be spared. The Moabites who were spared became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money.”
The Bible has some odd storylines, this one is just one verse, but I’m sure when the Moabites were living it out, it was terrifying.
War is hell, and we cannot fully judge the thought process behind David’s decision of how to handle these people. Most nations were utterly destroyed, so saving 1/3rd seems genuinely gracious to those 1/3rd who ”Made the Cut”. I can almost hear the wailing for those that didn’t, and the sighs of relief for those that were spared.
So what do we do with Scriptures that seem so barbaric and cruel? If we run this through the matrix of what it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, how is 2 Samuel 8:2 supposed to help me?
Then I start to think of what the Scriptures say about sin, how we are all sinners and fall short of Gods Glory, and how the wages of our sin is death, and how no one is good, no not even one. Therefore in reality we are all measured out and fall within the 2/3rds of those that should die.
NOBODY measures up to the other 1/3rd. Except ONE, yes that 1/3rd falls on Christ and he says, I’ll pay their debt, you let them live, I’ll die for them.
So then our mourning turns to gladness because we have been spared…
And His gladness turns to utter grief, because He will be handed over to the cruelest of all terrorists the world had known. The professional executioners in Rome.
You see the Romans didn’t invent crucifixion. NO, they perfected it. They learned how to make it take days for a person to die, and it was publicly on display to show anyone who walked by, “This is what happens to those who do …” Your crime was posted above you as a deterrent and reminder to anyone who read it. Being crucified was so terrible they invented a word to accurately describe the pain. EXCRUCIATING.
So what was Jesus’ crime?
Jesus of Nazareth
King of the Jews.
A phony charge, tried in a rigged court, in the middle of the night with no chance of a reprieve.
He took the fall, for you and me. He did it so that we would always measure up. Our sin, our faults and failures, our miserable, despicable lives, in place of His. So remember what He did, the next time you think you are not WORTHY and that you don’t MEASURE UP.
To the Holy and Anointed One, you were more than worth it.