Have you ever had to draw a boundary with someone you love that was excruciatingly difficult? The kind where you feel you have been cornered at last – and you have no other option but to cut them off somehow? The kind where their choices and/or behavior have tied your hands so that you are no longer able to reach to them, help them or have relationship any more? It’s a difficult place to find oneself. I think we sometimes live in denial that it is a real place because it is so painful to have to arrive there. But the Bible is full of stories of this kind of extreme breaking of relationship. Isaiah chapter one describes the raw emotion of just such a scenario.
I do not believe in ghosts, but I do believe in hauntings. Let me explain. The Bible is so brilliant in the way it describes our natures, in order to allow us to listen to its wisdom and learn to find answers and make changes. Today’s immersion of our thoughts in to Joseph and his brothers’ lives holds a key to unlocking issues that may haunt each one of us as well. Consider with me, the way that guilt can haunt our consciences and never give us rest – even after years and years of self-deception.
Isn’t it exciting to push the restart button and start the Bible afresh in January? I love this aspect of the Robert Roberts reading plan. Back to Genesis. Back to the beginning. Back to basics. And that is what keeps coming to my mind as we read these first several chapters in Genesis. All of the basic tenets of Christianity are easily discerned right from the get-go in this incredible book. Easily discerned- that is – if we take the time to truly listen to what the Master Storyteller is choosing to tell us in panoramic, sometimes almost unbelievable events that are meant for our instruction.
I once had a person who was a pedophile tell me that part of the explanation for this problem was a terrible childhood. While I truly sympathize with having been mistreated as a child (and there is nothing more horrendous!), it still does not make allowance for continued sin. I’m sorry, but a bad upbringing is no excuse. It seems that some people in the Israel of Ezekiel’s day were getting into the habit of also believing that people are incapable of breaking out of cycles of inherited sin. Or perhaps they were blaming their own sin and suffering on their forefathers’ behavior. This is a common worldview embraced in our time as well. Today we often call it a “Victim Mentality.”
As I delved into the details of Nadab and Abihu’s fiery fate, I was yet again reminded of the miracle of the wisdom condensed in every inspired word of this amazing book! There is a richness of meaning compacted into simple words that reveals oodles of lessons – if we will just dig a little bit. So grab my hand, and let’s explore Leviticus 10 together.
Have you ever met a Pharisee? I have. Did you know you might be a closet Pharisee without even realizing it? I put these questions to you so that you will consider the rest of this discussion carefully. You see, Pharisees come in a wide variety of clothing. They are sneaky because they look like everybody else (other than those longer tassels). But they have a major defect of blindness to their own faults. And Jesus says this is a fatal error.
When our sons were young, I read aloud to them a great deal. We often would encounter new, unknown-to-us words as we adventured through books. So I decided to put together our own little dictionary entitled, “Very Remarkable Words,” where any of us were welcome to alphabetically list new, interesting (and often astonishing words) we would stumble across in our reading. I still add to our little book – even though my sons are now adults. Samples of words in our book are; slumgullion (stew made of leftovers) and flump (to plump down suddenly or heavily). I discovered a new entry for our book this week that I thought worth discussing with you today.
You may be wondering what today’s strange title means. Is it a typo? No, it is a new word I have coined – entered only in the little Scrabble dictionary of my own mind! Let me give you the definition of Technologism:
“The modern phenomena of the addiction to being distracted by the media, technology and other electronic attractions of modern life”
As a person who loves words, and how they can be strung together in fascinating and enchanting ways, I have always enjoyed a phrase in 2 Timothy chapter four. Paul says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…”
The prevalence of Pharisees in Jesus’ life keeps popping out at me for some reason. I think it has to do with one of the classes we had at our Bible school this year that discussed the topic of legalism. My attention keeps getting dragged to these men – rulers, priests, scribes, religious leaders. They never left him alone, did they?