Monday, June 18, 2012

What?! That's in the Bible?!

In the Sovereign grace of God I recently read through all the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, i.e. Isaiah-Malachi, for a class. Part way through my reading, I realized how shocking and humorous some of the things I were reading were. I've surely read them all before, but the just didn't seem to stand out to me before. I found myself chuckling at times, as well as thinking, "Wow, Abba, people probably didn't know You would ever say that!" So I started writing down the references so that I could share them.

My hope is that at times you will laugh, but at others you will be shocked, as we look through together at some of the things we probably didn't realize were in the Bible. I will warn you though, some of them are pretty offensive. Moreover, almost all of them do not come from happy passages. In many ways, we will see how the heart of God looks and speaks when He is in gratuitous pain. Be prepared, God may rock some of our categories. Be prepared, grace may not always look like we would expect.

I will cover the passages in no particular order. So today I start with Ezekiel 21.6 (English translations, 21.11 in Hebrew).

"And now, human, groan with broken back muscles!
and you will groan with bitterness before their eyes."

Based on some translations, I initially thought it was saying, "Groan like someone kicked you in the crotch" (which obviously is a more colorful and vivid image, especially to men; sorry ladies, we may never understand childbirth, but you will never understand our pain, not that ours is even in the same league as yours by any means) but it seems rather unlikely to mean that, although it is perhaps possible, since it seems that it may at times be a euphemism for genitals. Yet, after a more careful study the gist seems a lot closer to "Groan like you've got a back ache!" Some suggest the idea is more along the lines of "Groan on the ground like you broke your back!" Honestly, I'm not sure which is the best way to understanding, but regardless the image is still the Bible is presenting is still somewhat colorful. That is the first take away, that Yahweh gives occasionally colorful commands.

The second take away is the command God gave.  If you look at the whole passage, you will see that Yahweh is telling the prophet Ezekiel to go act out what everyone will soon be doing. They will groan because of the horrible news they are about to receive, and in context this is that their country's last bastion of resistance has fallen to the enemy, virtually everyone and everything has been destroyed. And this is because the God who created and chose the nation of Israel is the God that the Israelis rejected for other "gods." The God that graced them will now be the God that judged them. Sometimes misery is what God wants for us when we sin, both because we deserve it, and because He will use it to pull us to Him.

So, when we're miserable, we should turn to God and renounce the sin, i.e. the things in our life we prioritize higher than Yahweh. That is the point of the suffering, at least sometimes. Yet, we must ask why Yahweh would send a man to groan in front of everyone. The reason was twofold, to pull people back to Him, and to give people comfort in the midst of the groaning by telling them it was from Him and He is in control of all things, even history. If you are someone who already worships God the Father in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, that is what you should do.

But, some of you who read this will not have ever turned to Yahweh, the Holy Trinity, from all the mistakes you've made or acts of rebellion against Him you done, or even just not trusting Him, but the point of the verse is clear, groaning is coming. This is just the warning. You will be miserable, but without trusting in Yahweh, the Holy Trinity, you won't understand your misery, or you won't see it until it's too late. That misery may be in this life, but it will definitely be in the afterlife, if you don't trust Yahweh. Yahweh is the same today as He was when this was written. Yahweh may be making your life miserable right now. If so, turn to Him, because He loves you, and is only making you miserable to pull you to Him, because it is when we are miserable that we should see how much we need Him! So turn from trusting any and everyone and thing else, and trust in Yahweh to save you from your coming punishment and to rescue into the best love and peace ever, a relationship with Him, and forever life with no groans! Turn and Trust today!

If you did turn from yourself or your false belief system to trusting the truth of Who Yahweh is and what He has done and will do, then you are now a Christian and I want to help you grow in being a Christian so comment or email or somehow communicate with me, so I can do that and welcome you into the Christian Family!

My love goes out to all my bros and sisters in Christ! And even to those who are not, but I'll be honest I can't love you like I love my family!

Grace and Peace and Hope and Endurance
Pastor Anthony

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