God of your ancestors

2 Chronicles 13

“People of Israel, do not fight against YHWH, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.” (13.12)

Judah and Israel had just been separated. Abijah, son of Rehoboam, waged war against Jeroboam. In the midst of the battle, he warned the Northerners not to fight against YHWH, the God of their ancestors. Jeroboam, of course, had made golden calves to replace the organized religion of Judah with its Jerusalem temple and Levite priests. Nevertheless, Abijah’s warning looks very similar to the concerns of many Chinese when they want to convert into other “religion.” If they do so, they will abandon their ancestors and their gods. Of course, it is the most difficult issue for Moslems as well. When you want to convert, you are facing a prospect of leaving (or, being disowned by) your family. That’s why the saying of Jesus, in some sense, is blasphemous: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10.37) To put it bluntly, Jesus reconstituted the meaning of family around himself. Our eschatological family — already and not yet — is the church.

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