As life continues to bob and weave my attempts to nail it down, I am brought back to reality. Life is not meant to be nailed down and figured out. God calls us to obedience, which at times is hard for me, and I'm assuming you, because we all want our own ways and desires. Today I was very glad to be reminded of my favorite poem. It is from an unknown author, at in my feeble attempts have been unable to find the author, and it is named Paradoxes of a Man of God. I hope you enjoy and my prayer is that we all can begin to live in this way.
Strong enough to be weak;
Successful enough to fail;
Busy enough to take time;
Assured enough to cry;
Leading enough to serve;
Serious enough to laugh;
Rich enough to be poor;
Victorious enough to lose;
Important enough to be last;
Loving enough to be angry;
Wise enough to say I don’t know;
Right enough to say “I am wrong”;
Compassionate enough to discipline;
Conservative enough to give freely;
Mature enough to be childlike;
Righteous enough to be a sinner;
Courageous enough to fear God;
Planned enough to be spontaneous;
Controlled enough to be flexible;
Free enough to endure captivity;
Knowledgeable enough to ask questions;
Great enough to be anonymous;
Responsible enough to play;
Industrious enough to relax.
May God continue to change us and challenge us.
The Bible in places can be scary; it can also give great hope. There are some stories that scare me and I know have scared some people away from God. I get to preach on one of those scary passages this week, Matthew 25:1-13. I truly am looking forward to sharing what God has been revealing to me about this passage.
But today I wanted to talk about another scary story. This one is more gross and disturbing. If you have a weak stomach or are highly emotional (weepy or angry) at this moment you may want to stop reading and wait to you level off. That might sound worse than what I mean, but you might get the idea when you read Judges 19.
So, let’s breakdown this disturbing/scary story. You’ve got a Levite who takes a concubine. In this time of history priest were allowed to marry and some did have concubines, though it was not common amongst the Levite’s. Most texts say she was unfaithful and so she left to return home. We don’t know in what matter she was unfaithful, but the Law would have permitted the Levite to put her to death. With her going to her father’s house suggests she may have left him because he was not living up to expectations.
After four months and him realizing that she was not coming back he went to go win her back. This does lend to the idea that he was the reason for her leaving and not her “unfaithfulness”. He journeys to get her and when he gets to her home her dad welcomes him in with open arms. I get the sense that she has also warmed up to the idea of returning to him because the dad “gladly” welcomes him in.
After a number of days at the fathers house the Levite with the woman head for home. As they traveled they were coming to the end of the day and needed to find a place to stay. The Levite passed on staying in a foreign town and headed to a town of “like” people, a town called Gibeah in the land of Benjamin
. As custom they went to the center of town to see if anyone would let them stay in their home, but no one offered until much later. A man came in from his work in the fields and offered/insisted that they stay with him and not in the town center. This man knew what type of people lived in Gibeah and didn’t want to see harm come on these travelers.
While everyone was resting and eating at the man’s house in the hill just outside the city men from the city came to visit the travelers. And this is where the story turns bad, very bad. The men surrounded the house and demand to have the Levite come out so they can have sex with him. Yep, you read that correctly. If you don’t believe me read Judges 19:22. The owner of the house is appalled by this and suggest they take his “virgin daughter and the man’s concubine” instead. I don’t know about you but I get very angry thinking its okay to offer someone else to get raped. This group of men is given a choice, gang rap the Levite or gang rape the owner’s daughter and the Levite’s concubine. You should be able to tell already that this story is not going to turn out well.
The group of men doesn’t want the girls and demand to have sex with the Levite. I can’t imagine the fear that was in that house. This gang of men if not satisfied could end up killing everyone. The Levite, to save his own skin, basically throws his concubine outside. The men rape and abuse her throughout the night. At dawn they let her go, and by daybreak she has enough strength to get back to the house where she falls at the door. The Levite gets up and peeks outside to see if the evil men are gone. He finds his concubine there at the door as she falls into the house. The Levi seems rude by telling her to get up. We find out, or at least hope, she is dead. Boy, that sounded worse than I meant it, but keep reading and you’ll understand why I hope she is dead. He picks her up and travels home.
When the Levite reaches his home he proceeds to cut the woman into twelve pieces and sends the pieces to the tribes of Israel
. The people watching this say, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt
. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!”
Why would this scary/disturbing story be in the Bible? Read the first and last sentence of this chapter once again, “In those days Israel
had no King,” and, “tell us what to do!” The people of Israel
wanted to live life by their own standard. They had no king telling them what to do or how to act. That first sentence also implies they did not seek God or His counsel. The last sentence also is an indication of the people’s heart, because they are asking the Levite and other men what to do, they are not seeking God’s direction.
When left to our own way or rule we are capable of more heinous acts than this. Without godly counsel and wisdom we are capable of horrible acts against each other. And that is why I believe God allowed this hideous history to be recorded in the Bible. May we take lesson from it, may we seek first the Kingdom of God
Peace to you,
So I read a lot. There are others that read much more than I, but I think I read quite a bit. So the book I'm in the middle of is Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe
by Mark Driscoll & Gary Breshears. Usually I try to read a chapter in a day or two, but with this book I am going much slower. It's one of those book that is so packed with good/great stuff that I need to plan to read it through once and then go back and re-read it with my highlighter.
This morning while I was reading I came across a paragraph that stopped me in my tracks. I'm in chapter 4 where they speak of humans being created in the image of God. Driscoll & Breshears unpack it very well and then wham I got smacked upside the head. They have just being talking about the implications of being created in the image of God as being both personal and communal, "Furthermore, image is both personal and communal. By personal, we mean that we as individual worshipers must continually ask whether we are good reflections of our God. By communal, we mean that churches, families, and Christian communities must continually ask whether they are good reflections of God to one another and the world."
So I have to ask myself and you who consider yourselves a follower of Christ, "Are we as individuals, and communal as churches and families being a good reflection of God to one another and the world?"
If so, great, keep at it. If not, what is keeping you or your church from being the image bearers of God?
In pondering thought,
Okay, alright already. I have gotten a lot of good suggestions for some explanation, mostly from Facebook. I have been working on a few of them and look forward to sharing my thoughts. I have been swamped since The Bible Is Scary
post and most of the questions need more than an off the top of my head type of answer.
So for a fill in I am answering another persons question that has nothing to do with the topic The Bible Is Scary
. The question is, "Why do you have music on your blog?" They were asking because they would scroll through some of the writings but not be able to listen to the whole song. It's a simple answer, just leave the blog page up and listen to music. That's what I do most of my days. I love music, especially worship music. So I just pull up my blog page and listen to the music. Most the time I'm at work, some times we pull up the page to listen while we make and eat dinner. So, there you go, that's why I have music on my blog.
Sorry that I'm not answering the bigger questions yet, but hang on they're coming.
I’ve been listening to a musician named Misty Edwards. She is a worship leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO. One of my favorite songs of hers is Matthew 25. She puts the parable of the ten virgins to song and it’s AMAZING. I’ve listened to the song so much and read and re-read Matthew 25:1-13 that I think I’m going to ask our pastor if I can preach that passage when we get to it (we are currently going through Matthew as a sermon series).
Jeanette Danielian, the church’s office administrator, was listening to that song the other day. She is one of the most biblically literate people I know and I respect her insight very much, but what she said to me made me chuckle. Once I said that I’d like to preach the passage she says, “That’s in my top five scariest passages.”
What made me chuckle is the fact that she knows which Bible passages scare the daylights out of her. I’ve got ones that scare me too, I just have never thought about trying to figure out my Top 10 List of Scary Bible Passages. I would love to hear some of your top scary Bible passages. I will try to compile a list and then blog about those passages.
Here are some passages that come to mind for me:
Matthew 7:22-24-The “I never knew you. Away from me you evil doers” passage
Revelation 3:16- I’ll vomit you out of my mouth passage
Matthew 14:16- Jesus tells his disciples to feed the 5,000, “You do it.”
These are just a few, but what are the ones that you don’t understand or freak you out? You see I believe in a God who is big enough to handle our questions, so let’s hear’em. I don’t believe God is a boogie man who wants to leave us scared under our covers. Yes, there are passages that freak us all out, but what I love about God is that he doesn’t leave it there. He gives plenty of insight to help us understand him, even the scary stuff. I look forward to your comments.
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