In my late teens I purchased a go cart as I just simply could not get enough fun in my life. Convincing my parents to ride on this thing with me was quite a feat. My dad rode on the thing holding on for dear life gritting his teeth. He jumped off when I turned around mumbling something about life’s too short and his hands were tired. I thought to myself, “Say what? Hands tired?” I know he was just scared I was going to crash.
Mom on the other hand got on and just sincerely pled and begged me not to scare her. I tried not to. But going uphill I couldn’t get it going. So I jumped off and started to push it. Suddenly it took off and mom was left driving from the passenger’s seat. Long story short she ran it into a haystack with allegations to me that I was trying to kill her.
We say all sorts of things but sometimes we don’t mean it as it sounds or it is easily taken out of context. If I just said my dad told me life is too short and I told you nothing else you would make all sorts of inferences. Religion can sometimes place false influences in scripture. This is often called legalism. Knowing some of the questioned passages equips you with knowledge while you pursue your purpose in life.
Many people who are searching find obscure facts from the bible. Albeit they may be contorted but they don’t know and they accept disfigured information as fact. For instance, Psalm 137:7-9 (NIV) says, “Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”
The message version quotes the same passage as, “GOD, remember those Edomites, and remember the ruin of Jerusalem, That day they yelled out, “Wreck it, smash it to bits!” And you, Babylonians—ravagers! A reward to whoever gets back at you for all you’ve done to us; Yes, a reward to the one who grabs your babies and smashes their heads on the rocks!”
Out comes the allegation that the bible permits killing babies by smashing their heads against rocks. This is why it is so important to be equipped. We must read all scripture in context and understand what is trying to be expressed. God was not condoning smashing babies’ heads. Instead this was a heart cry of a people wanting vengeance for horrible acts.
Another contorted scripture is Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (KJV) “When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.” The message version translates this as “When two men are in a fight and the wife of the one man, trying to rescue her husband, grabs the genitals of the man hitting him, you are to cut off her hand. Show no pity.” This was a practice under the old covenant, but this is a ratified practice through Jesus Christ.
Yet another contorted scripture is Deuteronomy 23:1-6 (KJV) “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord. An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord forever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days forever.”
This same passage translated in the message version states, “No eunuch is to enter the congregation of GOD. No bastard is to enter the congregation of GOD, even to the tenth generation, nor any of his children. No Ammonite or Moabite is to enter the congregation of GOD, even to the tenth generation, nor any of his children, ever. Those nations didn’t treat you with hospitality on your travels out of Egypt, and on top of that they also hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Mesopotamia to curse you. GOD, your God, refused to listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing—how GOD, your God, loves you! Don’t even try to get along with them or do anything for them, ever.”
I can’t even begin to give you the list of scriptures which clearly shows these type practices to be against God. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. The opportunity to accept Jesus is for all. God is not a respecter of persons and therefore your status will not hinder you from a relationship with Jesus and should never be a contingency as to whether you are welcome in church.
All of these scriptures make you say, “What”? The Bible says what? These scriptures are not talked about. They are not good story material. The essence is learning to read it in context and understand what is occurring. Sometimes historical comments in the bible are construed as God’s commands and that simply is not true. We talked about Ecclesiastics in the past. These were Solomon’s feelings and not Gods commands for a way to feel or function.
Many times churches impose religious behavior instead of Jesus behavior. Matthew 23:1-13, 15-39 (MSG) sums up religious behavior very well. It says, “Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
“Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.
“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned. “You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. You protest too much! You’re cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count.
“Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It’s on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse.
“You can’t squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.
“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. And now you’re so desolate, nothing but a ghost town. What is there left to say? Only this: I’m out of here soon. The next time you see me you’ll say, ‘Oh, God has blessed him! He’s come, bringing God’s rule!’””
Repeatedly Jesus rebuked the religious behavior because this is not a contingency for salvation. Jesus studied bible and knew it well. At 12 years old, he spoke in the temple and they were astounded at his knowledge. He spoke out against religious behavior. He made all things new.
Colossians 4:5-6 (MSG) “Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”
Acts 17:28 (KJV) says, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” You are Gods special appointment who can clarify and be a witness. You are predestined as anyone who accepts salvation is. God decided to give you a call. You are unique for a specific purpose that only you can fulfill. You are Gods chosen light to certain people.
Nobody can handle it better than you. You can answer questions with perspective. You can be an excellent example. You are the right person for the right job. Keep your mind alert and always be prepared to provide additional details to anyone who may need them. It is our duty and responsibility to present a pure gospel of Jesus Christ.
Philip Lukens is the senior pastor of the Carr Community Church. To receive updates please enter your e-mail address below and click subscribe.
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