Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ewwww - Blood!

chaj QoSqu'ghachmey DIchDaq taH multiplied 'Iv nob gifts Daq another joH'a'. chaj tlhutlh nobmey vo' 'Iw jIH DichDaq ghobe' nob, ghobe' tlhap chaj pongmey Daq wIj wuSDu'.

Their sorrows shall be multiplied who give gifts to another god. Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take their names on my lips. Psalm 16:4

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This passage considers the sort of life David chooses to live, or more importantly: the kind of life he REJECTS. In it we also find an important Klingon word - one that will come naturally to humans, especially if they are squeamish - it's the word for blood - 'Iw.

If you're familiar with Klingon sayings you might recognize it from the toast:

"'IwlIj jachjaj" (May your blood scream)

Or the phrase uttered to a young Klingon going through the Rite of Ascension:
"'Iw bIQtqDaq bIlengjaj" (May you travel the river of blood)

In the KLV 'IW translates the Hebrew word dam (dawm) a word that occurs almost 300 times in the Bible. Does it stand for life, or death? Something like two thirds of the references in the Hebrew scriptures refer to death, though we also find in Leviticus 17:11, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (vaD the yIn vo' the ghab ghaH Daq the 'Iw) - indeed the whole sacrificial system connects the blood of a sacrifice with new life and redemption.

And in their toasts, or advice to their young, Klingons make a point of connecting life with blood - some might see the "river of blood" to refer to blood shed in battle, but I think it means to live life fully - particularly as the word RIVER (bIQtIq) is a compound water (bIQ) heart (tIq). I think the thought is the wish that your "river of life" - your blood - will carry you on to honor and glory.

It's clear how David sees blood when he says:

chaj tlhutlh nobmey vo' 'Iw jIH DichDaq ghobe' nob
(Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer)

He may literally be rejecting sacrifices of blood to other gods, but I think the main point is this: HIS life, his BLOOD will not be poured out for mere idols - the false gods of his enemies. I like how this verse is translated by Eugene Peterson in "The Message" translation:

Don't just go shopping for a god.
Gods are not for sale.
I swear I'll never treat god-names
like brand-names.

For the question is this: the only real capital we have to spend is not our money, or our property - it's our blood - our LIFE. You can't buy it, you can't create it - it's the one bank account you can never add to, only spend. We need to listen to David and refuse to waste a drop of our limited days on counterfeit gods - whatever they may be earthly riches, position, fame, or whatever takes God's place in our lives.

Jeremiah cautions: Has a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. (Jeremiah 2:11)

Let us join David, and pour our lives for the God who IS truly God, spending our blood on lives of joy and service that will last not just for our earthly pilgramage - but pay dividends forever.

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