Even the most studious of bible students will occasionally find themselves saying that they didn’t realize that certain bible passages exist. Sometimes when we run across them we are a bit taken back by them. They seem to be an odd thing for God to have recorded in the pages of his book, or they seem like they do not fit in with the attitude that God expects from his people or they seem out of character with the theme of the bible. What this reveals to us is what Peter explains in his second letter. “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness… (II Pet. 1:3).” God knows full well how our emotions work, after all he created them. God knows full well what is best for us in regards to health (both physical and spiritual) after all, he created us. In today’s article, I want to look at a couple of these seemingly “out of place” passages.
Psa. 137. I can remember the first time I read this psalm. Most of it just shows how Israel hated being in captivity. It shows how they felt tormented by their oppressors. Verse 3 tells us that the Babylonians would ask for songs to be song while they would labor, often times as slaves. As I read this, I think of how the slaves of this country were treated during and after their times of slavery. Many would mock them by demanding they sang their songs. While they were meant to give hope, when song like this, it was not hope that it brought, but emotional pain and sorrow. As the psalm concludes, they sang, “How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock (Psa. 137:9).” This would not seem so out of place if it were just something someone wrote down one day. But, this is inspired scripture. As Peter taught, the Holy Spirit inspired on to write this. How can God encourage anyone to sing a song about bashing the children of God’s enemy against the rock? While I cannot know the mind of God, perhaps if we remember whole psalm we can understand why. It shows that man can feel this way. It is normal to long for freedom. It is normal to want justice for the oppression we feel. Perhaps this is why God has it recorded for us.
Deut. 23:13 “And you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement.” The first time I came across this passage I was in college. (Or at least the 1st time I realized what it was that I was reading). Of this passage, Matthew Henry writes, “nature itself teaches them thus to distinguish themselves from beasts that know no shame.” We are not mere animals that relieve themselves whenever they want wherever they want. I can remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Many were stuck inside the Superdome. When the plumbing failed the people just started going wherever. To be honest, they made themselves look like animals. God’s people are to have a sense of shame about them. While this passage is just about using the restroom, it teaches us a valuable lesson about modesty. We are not just animals (despite the teaches of modern science). As such, we need to rise above this base mentality and remember who we really are, not just a creature, but man made in the image of God.
The Song of Solomon. I know that there are various theories about what this passage might mean. Some try to make it about the relationship between God and Israel or Christ and the Church. Most do so because they are afraid to read this book at its face value, a love story. Love is an emotion that we all feel. When love moves us to desire intimacy (such as in the Song of Solomon) it is a natural desire. Song of Solomon however shows the correct place for the fulfillment of such desires; marriage. I love the fact that this song continually points towards marriage as being the rightful place. More young people today need to be reading this psalm. God gave it to us so that we can know how to rise about the base, animalistic passion, have a sense of shame and wait for their wedding day.
Prov. 12:10 “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” While we often argue that PETA is wrong for its stances, some of the stances which PETA takes are actually righteous. While this passage does not mean that we are not authorized to eat meat, nor does it mean that we cannot use animals for work, hunting, etc. it does mean that cruelty to animals is wrong. Beating a dog because your angry is wrong. It is just as wrong as beating your wife or your kids. The righteous man shows compassion even unto his own animals, be it a dog, cat, bird, guinea pig, cow, horse or a chicken. While this again does not means that we cannot eat them, it does mean that being cruel, torture, etc is wrong.
Grinnell church of Christ
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I Didn't Know That Was In The Bible!
Volume 4 Issue 25