I Will Be With You

I read “Only a fool runs when no one chases him.” Proverbs 28:1. Now I walk for exercise.

The bible is a funny book. I used to think the bible was a story, a chronology of God’s people starting with creation and ending with the final judgement. I don’t think that so much anymore. A couple of weeks ago Pastor Dave explained that the bible was made up of about 85% stories, 15% poetry leaving about 10% for rules and regulations. I thought there were a lot more rules than 10%. Must be my Catholic upbringing. We didn’t read the bible much.

The more I read and study the bible I am inspired by the depth and inspiration it holds. There are also many contradictions. Proverbs seems to tell us that if we live an upright and Godly life, things will pretty much go well for us. Now turn to Job and we learn, well maybe not so much, right?

I believe the writers of the bible were truly inspired but some maybe had a broader agenda than just telling a story. I have heard it said that many of the stories about a violent and vengeful God are more about the Hebrews telling their neighbors “Our God is bigger than your God.” Kind of like a kindergartener telling the kids on the playground “My dad can beat up your dad.”

Some have said bible writers are like our kids telling someone what their parent does for a living. I once worked with a CPA whose son told his school class his dad worked on taxis. Or maybe describing God is like trying to explain the internet to your dog. We do the best we can to understand God but “For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11.

I have recently been introduced to the term “proof text.” I would describe a proof text as a verse, sometimes taken out of context, used to justify a doctrinal belief. Sometimes they are helpful. Sometimes not.

Another term I have learned in the last few years is hermeneutic. Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretive principles or methods we resort to when immediate comprehension fails. Wikipedia

My hermeneutic changed when I learned that Genesis 1 is a poem about a God who creates and keeps creating and everything He creates is good, it’s good, it’s good, it's very good and we are part of that creation. And now I see that the story doesn’t end with judgement, it ends with Jesus. And that too is very good.

Father God, You don’t make life simple. You make us work, and search, and struggle as we try to follow the example of Jesus. Lord, walk with us and teach us because your desire is for us to be in relationship with You and we in relationship with each other because that is where we find you. We lift these prayers in all the Holy names of God. Amen.

Mark Autterson

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