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Monday, August 6, 2018

Overstating

Take a look at Job 42:1 – 3 (here @ Bible Gateway).  Job is responding to the Lord’s rebuke.  Note the elements of Job’s confession.
Overstating
He starts with God.  He acknowledges God’s sovereignty and power.  Then he turns to his own reality.  He had made confident assertions about things for which he had no understanding.  Things that were frankly far beyond his ability to comprehend.

From time to time I encounter folks who are certain.  At a significant level they suffer from what Prof called, “hardening of the categories”.  One cannot have a conversation with them.  They see Scripture through what they have decided is true.  In some cases they have taken positions that directly contradict what the text says.  But they are certain that they have not.

Both Paul and Jesus echoed this reality, the reality that there are many of us who are like Job.  In Matthew 15:8 – 9 (here @ Bible Gateway), Jesus decries those who teach their ideas rather than the truth.  In 1 Timothy 1:7 (here @ Bible Gateway), Paul reminds Timothy that there are still those who make confident assertions as Job did, but have absolutely no idea about that which they are expounding.  Unfortunately, their tribe is legion.

For the past 40 years I have been studying the Bible.  I have worked hard at increasing my ability to interact with the text and make better observations which lead to better understanding.  I know some things.  But, the truth is, I am relatively certain that much of what I think I know could be in error.  Why?  Because when we are studying God, we are studying the infinite with finite minds.  He alludes to this in Isaiah 55:8 – 9 (here @ Bible Gateway).  We do not, cannot, think like Him.

There are a lot of great books about the Bible.  There are great men who have written extraordinary works that have greatly helped me.  But, their works are not inspired.  They are not God.  They, as I am, are susceptible to error.  In fact, in some area of their study, I am certain they will discover they are wrong, as will I.

The point is, I have to hold what I “know” with an open hand.  I have to be open to being corrected by what the Text says, not what I want it to say.  I cannot, or better, I have to continually resist the urge to read into the text what I already “know”.

Job’s confession is a great model.  I have to acknowledge who is actually God, and admit that I need His help.  Then I need to follow David’s example in Psalm 119:18 (here @ Bible Gateway) and ask the Lord to open my eyes and help me to see.  Further, I have to be willing to change what I believe I understand.

It seems to me that is what Paul is talking about in Romans 12:1 – 2 (here @ Bible Gateway).