Saturday, March 31, 2012


All those tabs don't mean a thing
I had an experience today that lasted one hour.  It featured a young man and his Bible and an empty-handed old man.
I had never met the man and I had made a promise to meet him at the church at a given hour.  We were both on time.  We began by a short prayer moment before retiring to a more private corner and some softer chairs.  This young person was ever so polite and so respectful that it was a pleasure to be in his presence.  He told me his story and I listened.  I introduced myself to him and he listened.  Then he said that he had some things that he wanted to talk about and proceeded to open his Bible at the tab that he evidently wanted to serve as the opening of the discussion.  I told him to put his Bible away.  He said that he had to have it otherwise he couldn't make his point.  I said that reading one verse of two from a random corner of the Bible is not making a point.  He was shocked as I repeated my requirement that he put his Bibe aside.  I asked him point blank how much of the Bible he had read.  He said that he had not really read that much of it because he was still fairly new at this.  So he needed it to make his point.  I then asked him if he had spent time reading the first pages of the Bible.  He said that he had not yet done that.  
"So," says I, "when are you going to get around to reading the Bible from the first page?"  
He replied that what he wanted to know was not on the first page.  
"Ah, so you wanted to know what YOU wanted to know.  Did it ever cross your mind that the Bible is the book that we consult to ascertain what God wants us to know about Him?"
Uh?  Hmmm.  
"Did it ever cross your mind that God might have a system about how to teach us about Himself through the  pages of this Book?"
Uh?  Hmmm.
"When you open your text book in college do you generally hunt and peck for what you want to know or do you try to follow the author's system for developing the truths contained in the text book?"
Uh?  Hmmm.

I let him off the hook when I said, "Leave your Bible on the seat.  If you get stuck, I'll tell you the story and then you'll know what God wants you to know."

I won't bore you too much, but I will give you an example of what happened to this young man about 10 minutes before the end of the conversation.  He complained that the older people in his life did not give him any credit for having some wisdom that they themselves might not have.  He then took up his Bible and quoted from Job, [Eliphaz speaks to Job] thus: "Were you born the first Adam, brought forth before the hills?  Did you listen in God's council: is wisdom limited to you?  What do you know that we don't know; what do you understand that is not with us?" 
[Job, 15; 7 - 9]
He looked at me smugly.  I smiled and asked him, "Do you know how the book ends?"  Uh?  Hmmm.  "No."
"I do.  It does not go well for Eliphaz.  I will spare you the quote since I do not have my Bible with me, but you can look it up, if you want."  I paraphrased the story for him.  He wasn't smiling.

For you, dear reader I quote what God says to Eliphaz:
7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”  [Job, 42; 7 - 8]

There was a lot more to the conversation.  My young interlocutor was at a loss to express the lessons that God would no doubt want to teach him.  He will learn just as soon as he accepts the Bible as God's Word.  So far all it is to him is a reference of self-gratifying quotes.