Piercing

I’ve done some piercing in my day. I’ve stapled my fingers a few times with a staple gun. A needle has pricked my thumb when I had to sew buttons on my shirt. A know-it-all doctor pierced my skin once with a scalpel, but I wasn’t awake to feel that one.
Piercing in this day and age, in the way it’s practiced now, was, and I suppose still is, another rebellious shake of the fist at authority. After all, you can only vary hair length by so much, and that gets old. So the up-and-coming generation has to think up something new to thumb its nose at parents and authority figures.
One type of piercing, though, isn’t as much rebellion as it is the unhappy result of a lack of trust in the invisible God and confidence in the power of numbers. Spoken by a true politician full of his own power and arrogance, these words came from Jerusalem’s aqueduct over its walls, beyond which the Assyrian army awaited battle:
“Now look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him” (2 Kings 18:21, NKJV).
The description sought to shake Israel’s confidence in Egypt as a power equal or superior to Assyria. Israel might make a treaty with Egypt, hoping to strike a political and military balance in the region. The Assyrian official hoped to prevent that and prompt the king to give it up.
To King Hezekiah’s credit, he takes a letter written by the Rabshakeh, the same official from Assyria, into the temple to lay it before the Lord.
At that moment, Hezekiah avoided the piercing of Egypt.
Not all the kings were so trusting in God, however. And certainly not many of the people of Israel. They suffered multiple piercings because of their trust in false powers and impotent protection. These piercings were the results – not the signs – of Israel’s rebellion against God, of their refusal to believe in the invisible Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies, to deliver them.
Maybe you like piercing your body as a statement. More pierce their souls when they depend upon material things to hold them up. I want to be careful to avoid such a piercing.

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A. A. Neale

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