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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.


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