Thank God for Gilgamesh
This week our Omnibus class is reading The Epic of Gilgamesh. I’ve read the summary in our textbook and about 70 pages of The Epic itself. Apparently, this ancient story about the gods of Uruk was a best seller in Ur around the time of Abram. This means Abram probably grew up hearing about these gods before Yahweh called him west.
The recurring–more accurately dominating–thought that keeps jumping up and down in my head is thank God that our God is not like Gilgamesh, or any of his gods or his relatives for that matter. I can thank God for Gilgamesh because these sorts of stories remind me how grateful I am for Who our God is. We couldn’t make Him up. We can’t make Him to be what we want. He is who He is. And He’s great!
Gilgamesh is two-thirds god, one-third man, whose mother was an all-knowing sexy bovine named Ninsun, the “lady Wildcow.” His best friend was a dunce created by the gods to give Gilgamesh someone his own size to play with. Together, they conquered the giant Huwawa, guard of the Pine Forrest, who had a face made of intestines. Gilgamesh’s most famous achievement is that he built some really nice walls. Near the end of the story, when his friend Enkidu dies due to an emotionally unstable, heart-unhappy lady deity, Gilgamesh sulks about his own inescapable mortality. He worships gods and is worshipped as a god and these are no good gods.
We certainly don’t know everything about our God, the true God, but that’s because He’s infinite, not because He’s arbitrary. He is righteous, which means that He reveals His wrath against unrighteousness. But He’s also a God who bore wrath Himself to grant righteousness by grace through faith to those He called to love for eternity. Our God reigns supreme with steadfast love, He is not distressed and worried sick about the state of things. Not only could we do a lot worse, we only have reasons to be humbly thankful that God is our God. Thank God for Gilgamesh and that we’re not characters in a story like that.