5. Mark 11:12-14 and 20-25. Yes, Jesus goes onto explain that this miracle of cursing the fig tree was about the efficacy of prayer by having faith in God and forgiving others. But still, unlike his other miracles where we rejoice at the lame walking, the blind seeing and the dead being raised to life, there is something psychologically unnerving about this. Why a curse and why was it placed particularly on a fig tree? Was this more of a visual parable than a miracle? To me, this is more disturbing than the time when Jesus fashioned a whip to drive out the money changers from the temple.
4. Exodus 4:24-26. Here’s the scene leading up to this moment. Moses is lodging at an inn outside of Egypt with his wife and son. He is waiting for word from God to enter Egypt and go free the Hebrew people from enslavement. God gives him the signal, Moses heads out on the road but then suddenly, God decides he wants to kill Moses. The reason? Moses never circumcised his son, who is now a teenager. Zipporah takes matters into her own hands, circumcising their son and then shoving the bloody foreskin in God’s face. This situation is confusing on a number of levels and its meaning is probably lost to the mists of history but anytime I read this passage I have to cross my legs. Poor Moses’ son.
3. Jeremiah 19:7-9. Things are bad in Israel as they all have decided to follow Baal instead of the Lord. And part of that worship of Baal is to sacrifice children to the god, so the Lord being the Lord, he gives them over to their depravity by cursing them. Their punishment for forsaking God? They will have to eat their children and oh yeah, also their neighbors. *shudders*
2. Judges 19:22-30. Judges is the most brutal book in the entire bible. You’d think that after hundreds of years of slavery, decades of wandering in the desert and years of fighting for the promised land, that the Israelites would be at peace and resting in the Lord. Nope. If anything, the self-inflicted horrors the Israelites experience during this time period are worse than being held in Egyptian captivity. One of the most disturbing scenes is when a group of men request to rape a Levite man but the old man housing the Levite instead offers up his daughter and the Levite’s concubine. The men go on to rape and abuse the concubine all through the night. That’s not the worst of it though. She comes back home, the Levite kills her, cuts her into twelve pieces and sends those parts to each one of the tribes of Israel. No wonder the reaction of those who saw this was shock at the horror of this: “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day.” In other words, that is some messed up shit.
1. Leviticus 10:1-2, Numbers 15:32-36, 2 Samuel 6:1-8 and Acts 5:1-11. The instantaneous deaths of Nadab, Abihu, an unnamed man picking up sticks, Uzzah, Ananias and Sapphira for their sins are the most frightening stories in all of the bible. It takes the mass genocides mentioned on Jeremy’s list and personalizes them, leaving me in puzzlement and fear. Makes me wonder why God made an example out of them and not others? And that is terrifying not having a good answer to that question, as in, is there something I could do where God would strike me dead on the spot?