Monday, November 17, 2014

Lost in Translation?

Can God be limited by humans? Do we mere humans, on earth for but a split second in comparison to eternity, limit the One Who created us all and without Whom we cannot even so much as breathe? Do we want to serve a God we can limit?

Does my wording of this question make the idea seem ludicrous?

Psalm 78:41 says, "Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."

Is that it, then? Does this mean we have the power, as created human beings, to put limits on the Living God, the One Who created us?

Does this mean the created have power over the Creator?

Not so fast.

A more in-depth study of this verse reveals the truth.

The Hebrew word used for "limited" in this verse is actually "twh." Twh means, literally, to distress or hurt. Deeper meanings include provoked, offended, vexed and wounded.

That changes everything. More accurate translations include:

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and distressed the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and hurt the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and provoked the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and offended the Holy One of Israel." 

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and vexed the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and wounded the Holy One of Israel."

Not one Hebrew source listed "limited" as a viable translation of the Hebrew word "twh."

Dig more deeply into Scripture. Some things do get lost in translation. As a former translator (English to Spanish), I learned this the hard way. I'm not suggesting that God's Word can get "lost" in that He will not preserve It, I'm just suggesting that you search the Scriptures daily to see if what you are being taught is true. (Acts 17:11) In your searching, go deep.

Now you know.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Courting and Isaiah's Social Media Status

Just today, I read a blog post by a young woman who's been married about 5 minutes and I felt compelled to address her blog post here. I hardly know where to begin in expressing my issues with the theology expressed in this blog post. This young woman chose to "court" instead of "date," which is not a problem at all. (It's all a matter of definition, but not the reason for this blog post.)

My problems with this blog post began when this young woman listed all the blessings of her wedding day and boldly proclaimed that God blessed them so "because we were obedient to Him in our courtship."

That's where her theology takes a stumble. I really, really hope she does not continue to go through life thinking that way. I truly hope God banishes that thought from her heart and life so she'll be more in tune to really love Him. Right now, that love is not evident. Self-love is evident.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" said Jeremiah in chapter 17, verse 9 of Jeremiah. 

My problems with her theology in thinking that God gave them all those wonderful blessings on their wedding day come with the idea that they believe God rewarded them because they stuck to some human-made ideals and God was apparently happy with them. No, that's not it.

The problem is, God's goodness is not dependent on our obedience or "good" acts. God's goodness is rooted in His character, His attributes; in the fact that He is the only good, that all good comes from Him. And, perhaps most importantly to this young woman, that God's goodness is still intact when bad things happen to her, and they will. 

The sun shined on everyone in that town that day. It shined on the drunk who was beating his wife. It shone on the young man who was abusing his little neighbor. It shined on the drug addict who took his last overdose that day and died. It shined on the teenager stealing cigarettes from a drug store. The sun shined all around, even while the pride of two human hearts united in marriage.

Back to Isaiah. Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah, whose 40-year ministry spanned the reigns of four kings of Judah. Isaiah, whom the LORD of hosts used to deliver a great message to His people. Isaiah, who wrote a book of the Holy Scriptures. Isaiah said, "Woe is me for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

This is what happens when the gospel impacts a person's life. This is what happens when we finally get our eyes off our own perceived righteousness and see the King. 

He talks about our righteousness. Isaiah said it in chapter 64, verse 6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as the leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." That's Isaiah's social media update.

God does not shine on us because we are good..... because we are not good. God shines on us because He is good; and He only is good. (Mark 10:18) 

If we can get this, really get this, really understand this, it will change our lives forever. This is the gospel at work. God is good even when His blessings don't shine on us. He's good even when a loved one dies from cancer or is taken in a tragic car accident. God is good when the sun does not shine. God would still be good if people had died of heat stroke at that young couple's wedding. God is good even if it had poured rain that day, or a tornado had torn through their outdoor wedding.

We can't love Him if we do not know Him and strutting our own perceived righteousness does not show that we love anyone but ourselves.

This young woman's blog is a perfect example of secular humanism and how it invades our thinking. We must resist this thinking on all levels.

We must raise our kids on the gospel, not on standards of living that we hold up and call "righteous."