Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Bible, leaving the Garden and moving on....

From what I have been told over the years, not too many folks "leave" the Garden and explore what follows.   As far as Adam and Eve are concerned, we are left to wonder as the focus will be on those who followed them.   I don't know about you, but I have often wondered, why that is.

Apparently, things did not go on as planned, perhaps, hoped for is a better explanation, but in chapter seven, we are introduced to the flood.   And that brings us to another of those questions, never to be answered.  Perhaps, it is how we interpret the Bible.  Chapter 7, verse 24, tells us the "water prevailed upon the earth".  Most interpret that to mean, it covered the earth.  Now, some want us to believe, it only covered what was known in those days as the earth.  Not a question to be dealt with unless, of course, a person reads the Bible and wants to support claims that this is merely the opinion of man's interpretation.  Why does it matter?

The next "event" in the Bible is the question of what happened at Babel.  Now we are introduced to city builders and those who constructed Babel imagined that they could build a tower that would reach into heaven.   The Bible does not say that the tower was destroyed, but that He scattered the builders and confused their languages throughout the whole earth.  No real answers other than the obvious, that God was disappointed in the His creation and this was His response to their futile efforts.  Have you ever realized that He continues this practice to this very day?  Man's goal - at least from the days of my youth, has been to bring about the peace on earth that was suggested when Jesus was born, but it hasn't happened because the nations cannot agree on a common language.  Now, we are asked to believe the interpretations of some and most of us are not comfortable with that.  So, apparently, we accept the killing of those others, while railing against the efforts of those who would kill us.  All you have to do to understand this is pick up a newspaper, or listen to a radio or watch TV, searching for the word, ISIS.   Or is it, ISIL?  Why not leave  it as they prefer the term, IS - interpreted as Islamic State.  My experience with Muslims dates back to years before the so-called Gulf wars and to two youngsters I was helping to find employment in the Los Angeles area, They let me know that there would be wars between the Arab states as the powers-to-be are not searching for "nation" states, but an Islamic Nation.  And when another voice, this one a potential employer who had returned from a visit to Indonesian in search of oil drilling sites, his "big" news was that the Muslims had all but reached the point where they would truly govern that area.  Now, it is a fact.

And we continue to ignore the lessons that were practically defined for us - centuries ago.

When did such thoughts occur to me?  A Japanese friend (while I was stationed there in the late 40's) introduced me to a "grand" leader of the Samurians who laughed when he thought I had boasted of our victories in World War II and declared that in the "great" war to come, we would be allied, not only with the Japanese, but also the Chinese.  Try to tell that to the average American.  I did not believe him then, but as the years, and now the decades have passed away, and I will also soon pass away, I cannot help but believe I had heard the voice on histories to come.  I pray that this will not be, but I pray more for my grand children that they might embrace history and prepare themselves for what might truly become inevitable.

Reading on, we now come to Abram and you really need to take note of this individual as he will be the most prominent figure in Christian history, prior to the advent of our Lord.  Some will ridicule that statement, but this man will be - very much like you and I, and not end up his life like the people's choice - of David, as their hero.  God asks him to pick up his belongings and his family and follow God's direction to what we now know was their "promised" land.  It would be a long journey with many twists and turns along the way, including one in which he lies about the fact that Sarai is his wife and allows another to take her for no better reason than to save his own life.

At this point, I must confess that I had never even read the Old Testament before the day I finally met our Lord on a personal basis.  It was He who opened my eyes - to life as it was meant to be.  One incident in my life came to me as I read of an encounter in Genesis 12:11.  Abram was fearful of his own life when they met up with Egyptians and told his wife, then known as Sarai, to claim that Abram was her brother do that he might not be killed.  An interesting story. you need to read it.

In an earlier marriage, my wife - the mother of our children, stole some money for reasons beyond my own comprehension.  We were doing well, with the birth of our first son, I could not have been more pleased with our life as it was.  But she took the money and now we had to face the court.  For reasons unknown to me at the time, the court had mercy on her and offered probation rather than prison.  It made me happy to see what happened and I moved on without a word.  Eventually, I would pay a price that was far more than I could handle at the time.  What I failed to do was understand why my wife would steal that money and not care to explain why to me.  In fact, she lied to me and I was just happy that she was not in prison.  Now, I understand, that I was very much like Abram.  I did not lie - nor did he.  He merely asked his wife to lie.  The truth was revealed in Abram's case.  It was never revealed in ours and I let it ride.  Who was the one who failed?  I don't know about Abram, bit I do know about me and the future would eventually reveal my failure.  The truth is - as I came to know it when I asked for forgiveness of our Lord, I learned how powerful, the so-called simple act of asking for forgiveness was in fact.   My sin was far more grievous than I had ever realized. Thank God for His mercy and I have to believe, Abram felt the same way.

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