My Bible Says ... Or Does it?
February 28, 2023
You have heard people, mostly preachers, boldly declare, "My Bible says," as a preface to whatever it is that they want to say.
What follows is often, harsh, judgmental, condemning, and venomous - not always, just often.
I didn't realize we could all have our own Bibles.
To be honest, there are parts of the Bible I sometimes wish would go away. But, to be honest, those are the honest parts --- where someone lets his or her humanity hang out and be viewed and scrutinized.
In the midst of the beautiful, majestic, and celebratory Psalm 139, are these angry and somewhat hate-filled words:
" Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!They speak against you with malicious intent;your enemies take your name in vain.Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?I hate them with complete hatred;I count them my enemies."
And I think, "Why did he not stop while he was ahead and sounding spiritual?"
He is speaking from his soul, maybe not his true heart, maybe not his spirit, but from that part of him that is repulsed by evil, disgusted by sin, against "againstness," and ready for change. He wants to destroy what destroys and take his stand opposite the opposition to God and God's people.
The prayer gets answered, but he has to wait a thousand years (roughly).
It becomes a part of the nuclear reaction of prayer in the Garden, embraced by Jesus and absorbed by Jesus. All these cries for vindication, justice, retribution, and rectification must be answered. But how can a God who loves even the enemy (whom he also "hates" in the sense of hating his "eneminess," do what needs to be done?
That is God's problem and God's solution.
Once my son did something so bad and dangerous as to need a strong statement of indignation, punishment, and correction from me.
I turned him over my knee, lifted my right hand high, and came down with decisive force ... upon my left hand which I had placed, as a shield, over the rear end of my son. He flinched at the sound of the "spanking," but never felt its force because I took it and he got the point.
The psalmist knows that he can bring every thought to God and that his cries for righting of wrongs and for punishment of wickedness are rooted in something right even if they are distorted by his own self interests and humanity. He asks God to see if there is any wicked way in him and lead him in the way everlasting.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!Try me and know my thoughts!
(Reference: Psalm 139:19-23 ESV)
We are human and our humanity is distorted by sin, but every emotion, reaction, and yearning is rooted in something real. It is fodder for prayer. It is legitimate discourse with God. He figures out what to do with us if we humbly offer it all for scrutiny and are willing to see it resolved His way - the cross of Jesus.