Fear, Love and Trust…

Text: 2 Kings 9:17-37

In confirmation class last night we were covering the 10 commandments and Sinai in Exodus. The opening question was – what does it mean to have a God? Luther’s explanation in the Small Catechism to the first commandment is that ‘we should fear, love and trust God above all things.’ If you say that having a God is that thing that you fear, love and trust above everything else, it is impossible to not have one. All you can say is that you are following better or worse ‘gods’. The most common ‘god’ is probably our belly. Our appetites drive us from one thing to another. Some might deify their mind. Some might deify the nation-state, ancestors or other family members. All of those things have an element of fear in them. The state holds the sword, family members exert all kinds of psychological influence. In between running from one idol to the next, we stop and think about the loving arms of Jesus. We trust that he will always be there. And there is truth in that. But that view is a very domesticated view of Jesus. Aslan, the Christ figure in Narnia, is a wild lion. The Jesus of Gospels says things like ‘go and sin no more’ and ‘be holy as you Father is holy’.

And then you get to our text. God said through Elijah that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs. Later God through Elisha annoints a new King for Israel. A King who kills the the old one and throws Jezebel, the queen mother, out the window and then sits down for a meal. When they get around to cleaning up the mess – to bury the body – Jezebel has been carried away by dogs.

Luther’s definition of God includes fear. Is the God you serve a nice domesticated lion, or is he wild enough to say things like ‘I am about to spit you out (Rev 3:16)’ or ‘follow me, let the dead bury their own dead (Matt 8:22)’ or ‘You are badly mistaken (Mark 12:27)”?