Scripture. . . Not What You Think It Means. . .

One of my morning companions over the course of the last 25 years is Scripture Union’s Encounter With God. For the last several days it’s been taking us through the latter half of Genesis. What I read this morning prompted a memory of a conversation from my high school days that shaped me in ways I needed to be shaped.

Genesis 31:43-55 recounts the history of Laban’s covenant with his son-in-law Jacob. As a sign of their covenant, they took stones and “made a heap.” This visual reminder served as a sign of their covenant. . . a witness they named Galeed and Mizpah. Laban said, “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no on is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”

The conversation took place with my Dad. I mentioned that I thought the Mizpah necklaces many of my friends were wearing were pretty cool. A guy and his girlfriend would wear the necklaces. . . a kind of split heart that would fit together. . . inscribed with the words, “The Lord watch between me and thee, while we are absent one from another.”

My Dad proceeded to challenge my thinking on what I thought was a rather special set of necklaces. “You know that doesn’t mean what you think it means,” he said. “Read the passage in Genesis. It’s about a lack of trust.”

Thanks Dad. You just ruined it.

Not really. What my Dad did was issue a necessary corrective. It was a moment where I learned in a powerful way that we need to let Scripture speak for and interpret itself, and that we always needed to read and interpret Scripture in its context. The lesson has stuck with me.

So once again, today, I was reminded of how easily we twist Scripture to say what we want it to say. And yes, I know that we all bring our cultural biases to our reading of Scripture. But because that happens we shouldn’t use that as excuse to pursue new or novel interpretations. In fact, we should endeavor with greater effort to interpret Scripture accurately. And then, we should stand firm.

Don’t think what you want. Humbly and prayerfully seek to understand andthink His thoughts and live His ways.

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