May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017

EZRA 8-10

Focus Verse: So now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
Ezra 10:3


I went a different route for today’s reading. This passage is an example of a passage in the Bible that rubs me the wrong way. I don’t like to think about these men bailing on their families because they were idiots and disobeyed their God. And actually, I’m not going to spend any time defending this passage. Instead, I want to talk about what my choices are when I come across a passage of scripture like this.


First, I could choose to ignore the passage. This is the route most people take, primarily because it’s the easiest. I continue living in my little bubble with my safe ideas of who God is. This passage, even though it clearly doesn’t support my idea of God, is just “one of those verses”, so I can push it to the back seat of the car and continue driving. The problem with this is that eventually my backseat is going to be filled up with a lot of baggage. And any psychologist worth his or her salt will tell you that unresolved baggage isn’t a good thing.


Second, I can choose to say that the Bible is wrong and I am right. No one will come out and say it this boldly, because in saying it straightforward like that, we realize how pompous and arrogant it makes us…because that is exactly what this stance is…a pompous and arrogant stance. Who would actually have the audacity to say that? “I think I am in a better moral position than God here.” No one would say that!


Now there are shades of this that aren’t as extreme, but they are all rooted in the same beginning, and therefore have the same outcome. We can fall back on the tired argument that the Bible was written by humans, so this is just an example of some of the human bias that snuck in while the Holy Spirit wasn’t being sovereign and guiding this whole process along.


The problem with all of these shades is that they lead you to the same outcome: if they are true, then God’s Word is faulty. If God’s Word cannot be depended on to be our moral authority in one verse, what other verses got messed up? It’s a nice stance for those who like to make their own religion, because we’ve built a pretty nice case for a cut and paste Bible. We get to pick which verses live up to our standards and push the rest off to the backseat. And I’ve already discussed what happens with stuff in the backseat.


Then there’s the third option. This option says that I will wrestle with this passage. It’s coming to God through His living Word and asking Him, “God, why?” It’s being completely honest and transparent with God (a silly notion, being transparent with God, since He already knows all our thoughts) and saying, “God, I don’t like this. Why would you have the Israelites do this? Did you have a reason? Were they acting out of Your will? What’s going on here?”


The key to this approach is making up your mind beforehand on how you will react to God’s answer. You must predetermine that God is the moral authority here, that His ways are higher than ours, that His Kingdom’s culture is the only perfect culture, and that ultimately, whatever God tells you, you will bend to His way.


I have heard God’s Word compared to sandpaper. The areas that rub you the wrong way are places in your life that He is trying to smooth out and polish. The longer you resist, the harder He has to rub you down. Praise God though! We have a God who loves us enough to walk with us and help change us into His perfect image!

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