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I Don't Understand
Some passages of scripture
are easy to understand. Everyone knows what "Thou shall not commit
Adultery" means, right? Well, almost everyone.
But other passages make me
scratch my head and ask, "What did He mean by that?" Though I
can explain all the major interpretations of the book of Revelation, in
my more honest moments, I just agree with John Calvin and say, "I
don't understand it."
There's another classification
of scripture that is even more troubling. My father calls them, "I
wish He hadn't said that" passages. You know, the kind of scriptures
that are easy to interpret, but hard to accept.
Acts 5:1-11 is that kind
of passage. It is preceded by Barnabas giving a generous donation to the
church in Acts 4:36-37. Ananias and Sapphira decided to follow his example
and give the partial proceeds from a real estate transaction, but to act
as if they were giving the whole amount.
Instead of being grateful
for the donation, God struck both of them dead. They lied, then they died.
And then there is the time God struck Uzzah dead because he tried to steady
the Ark of the Covenant. (1 Chronicles 13:10)
Wouldn't it be easier to
live under the delusion that God doesn't demand complete honesty and obedience
from His people? We could just bask in His love and forget about His righteousness.
But then again, if He isn't righteous, then we can't believe what He says
about loving us.
Every now and then, God stands
up in the church and says, "I'm in charge here." He did it with
Uzaah, and He did it with Ananias and Sapphira. And when He did, a great
fear and awe fell among the people.
Perhaps we should obey the
scriptures that are easy to understand, study the ones that are hard to
understand, and be grateful for the ones that "we wish He hadn't said."
Because if we do, we can replace the man-sized God of popular theology
with one that is worthy of our devotion, praise, and worship.