Preaching the Terrors

In practice, we tend to preach the terrors by making them less terrible. But what is lost is the very real terror of obeying God without the least idea how things will turn out in the end—which is, after all, the human situation.
—Barbara Brown Taylor

Not too long ago, I was invited to address a senior citizens' group on "Women in the Old Testament." They had been studying various biblical characters and wanted me to introduce them to some of Israel's heroines; so I did.

I told them about Jael, "most blessed of women" (Judg. 5:24 niv), who drove a tent peg through Sisera's temple with a mallet.

I told them about Judith (whose exploits, mentioned in the Apocrypha, parallel Jael's), who seduced Holofernes and then paused to pray—"Give me strength today, O Lord God of Israel!"—before taking the man's own sword and plunging it into his neck (Judith 13:7 nrsv).

I told them about Esther, who won permission for the Jews of her husband's Persian empire "to destroy, kill and annihilate" 75,000 of their ...

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