Sunday, July 8, 2012

It Is All In The Tense – Post 1

There are many people who have been taught and lead to believe that God is responsible for all the tragedy in the world.  They believe he is responsible for the earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, and all the other natural disasters that take place.  Most often in those situations where such disasters occur, you will quite often hear the phrase, an act of God associated with them.  In legal terms, the phrase, an act of God is defined as any extraordinary interruption caused solely by the effect of nature or natural causes that no one can reasonably foresee or prevent; it is a natural catastrophe caused without any interference by humans whatsoever.

Then there are those who believe God is responsible for the daily struggles that so many go through every day, such as depression, fear, worry, anxiety, confusion, doubt, discouragement, low self-esteem, poverty, sickness, and death.  They have been taught and truly believe that everyone suffers these things because this is the will of God.  That old cliché, God will not put more on you than you can bear, appears to fall in line with the old teachings that God is responsible for the things that happen to us.  They also believe that God uses these things so that he can chasten his children.  They are convinced that there is some type of life lesson that God wants his children to learn through these experiences.

These lessons, resembling some kind of How-to lessons, include things like our dependence on God, our trust in God, our walk with God, and anything else that draws us closer to God.  And while some of these How-to lessons sound a little farfetched even as we write about them, but most of us do not put much thought into them because we have been led to believe that they are from God himself.  We tend to accept, without question, these things because we have been trained, from an early age, that God’s ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).  We also have been taught that only disobedient Christians questioned the things of God and somehow God would breathe fire and brimstone down upon us, sending us to straight to hell for doing such a blasphemous thing.

It was these types of things that we were taught that functioned as the foundational building blocks for our belief system; a system built entirely on the things that we were taught from our childhood.  Our childhood belief system came entirely from all those things that we just accepted as truth, without question.  Over the years, we have attempted to re-enforce our foundation with solid biblical information and fundamental truths.  We have checked things out for ourselves and have decided which so-called truths fit into our belief system.  We have compared all the relative information and related scriptures, accepting everything, regardless of the source, that we believe to be truth and that which appears to affirm our beliefs.  We have sewn these things into the very fabric of our belief system and have removed everything that does not agree with our current beliefs.  We have even closed our minds to anything that sounds contrary to what we believe.

This will be hard for some to accept, but much of our beliefs are grounded in traditionalism and denominationalism.  These things have been so ingrained into our belief system that we have become imprisoned by misinformation, misinterpretations, and untruths.  Instead of having an open mind so that we may gain a better understanding of the things of God, we have closed our minds and limited our knowledge.  And because we have limited our knowledge, we have limited our understanding.

God says that his people are destroyed because they lack knowledge.  This lack of knowledge is not because the knowledge is hidden or because it is not available, but because his people have rejected it (Hosea 4:6).  Because we lack the knowledge, we lack the understanding that comes from God.  And because we lack the understanding that comes from God, we are left with the understanding that comes from the world.  And it is the understanding that the world offers that has led so many into captivity (Isaiah 5:13).

We remember growing up where some Christians portrayed the God of the Old Testament as a cruel and ruthless being, who ordered the execution of seemingly innocent people, including children.  Believed to be a tyrant, he was and is still portrayed as one who directly carried out their deaths.  Then there were those who portrayed the God of the New Testament as a loving Father figure.  In the New Testament, we find him to be a righteous, patient, merciful, and loving, which is a stark contradiction to the one portrayed in the Old Testament.

While growing up, we were a little confused as to who God actually was.  During those days, we meshed the two descriptions together because we were taught there could only be one God.  Yes, that is right, we took the attributes of the Old Testament God and combined them with that attributes of the New Testament God.  We knew that God was a jealous God (Exodus 20:5), that vengeance was his (Romans 12:19), and we knew that he was a loving and forgiven God (John 3:16).  However, looking back now, we are not sure what kind of God we had created then.

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:  And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).

According to this passage, we find Moses speaking to the Israelites he had brought out of Egypt during their time in the wilderness.  Moses appears to be giving them instructions from the Lord himself and is telling them what will come to pass should they decide to obey the voice of the Lord and do all that he has commanded of them.  Moses goes on to tell them that the Lord will set them on high, above all the nations of the earth all because they listened to the voice of the Lord.,  And in doing so, Moses told them that certain things will come upon them and overtake them.  For the next twelve verses, Moses lists the blessings that will come upon those who choose to obey the voice of the Lord and do all that he has commanded.

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken (obey) unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe (observe carefully) to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee (Deuteronomy 28:15).

Here we see that Moses continues to speak to the Israelites, but this time he is telling them what will come to pass should they decide not to obey the voice of the Lord and do all that he has commanded of them.  Moses told them that certain things will come upon them and overtake them and for the next fifty-two verse, Moses lists the curses that will come upon those who choose not to obey the voice of the Lord and do all that he has commanded.

The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation (confusion), and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.  The Lord shall make the pestilence (plague) cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.  The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting (scorching), and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish (Deuteronomy 28:20-22).

As we read through the curses, we find that it appears that the Lord himself will personally send a curse upon those who choose not to obey his voice and his commandments.  The passage says that they will be confused and be a failure in everything that they attempt to do.  It goes on to say this curse will last until they are destroyed for two reasons:  because of the wickedness that is in their lives and because they have forsaken him.  It goes on to say he will send disease upon disease upon them until they have been destroyed from the face of the land that they are about to enter into and possess.  It continues by saying the Lord will afflict them with a wasting or consumption disease, with fever, with a plague, and even war.  It also says that he would blight they crops and cover them with mildew.  And all of this destruction would continue until they perished.

In order for us to fully understand the Bible, there are some things about the original text that is vital to our understanding of the God we all claim to serve.  As we got older, we discovered a few things that helped us, sort of set the record straight, at least in our minds.  There are three terms that we would like to share with you that helped us in our understanding.  These three terms have altered the way we read, study, and view the Bible.  This information has allowed us to better understand many of the things that we find in the Bible.  Let us show you a couple of those discovered things that have helped us.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

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