Sunday, February 24, 2008

Interpreting the OT, Poetic Books - Day 6

We have Dr Lim Boon Hock, the Deputy Director of Methodist Christian Education as our speaker today, who gave us a sermon from Deut 6:1-25 on the lesson “that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord”. His emphasis was on the Word of the Lord, which will not return to Himself void but will accomplish that which pleases Him, and that we need to be saturated with the Word of God.

He says that we need to hear, read, study, memorise and meditate on the Word of God. Obviously that is not enough. We have to always be aware that we should not be satisfied with just listening to a sermon a week, even if we are disciplined in reading a passage a day. Nor should we be pleased or proud by just filling our heads with the results of the study of the Word, even if we remember the Word by hard. It also means nothing if we just have deep thoughts about the Word of God, and that's it, just deep thoughts. The Word means nothing if it is just heard, read, studied, memorized or meditated – it must be lived.

His interpretation of 2 Tim 3:16 is pretty good – the Word of God is profitable for progressive use:
Teaching – telling us what is right
Rebuking – revealing where and when we get it wrong
Correcting – showing how to get it back on track
Training in righteousness – instructing us to stay on the right path

According to Deut 1:2, we ourselves must first be taught by the Word of God, after which it is our duty to impress it on our children, and then onto the church and the wider community. A lot of parents these days leave it to the church and the Sunday School. We miss a lot if we do not do it, if we do not teach His Word to our children. I am glad I have got back into reading the bible together with Calvin, but I have to admit it is not easy. We do miss nights when we are just too tired to do anything else but to sleep. But we must press on.

One thing the speaker said had made me think: “God takes us out of our familiarity and out of our comfort zones to teach us great things.” This sounds familiar except that this time, it sounds rather poignant, for some very good reasons. I have recently been puzzling over two things: the understanding of the Messiah, and death and life after death.

If you notice my previous posts, I have been on the subject of Jews’ understanding of Scriptures. I have been reading and getting relevant books to give me some ground for thought. And what do you know, during this OT class, the subject of Messiahship was brought up and I began to now read the Gospels in quite a different light and with more questions. With the Jews expecting an earthly Messiah, what does it mean when the disciples said that Jesus is the Son of God? With this in mind, why was Jesus so hard on the disciples and even the authorities?

The second thing was as mentioned last week, I suddenly realized that death, afterlife, heaven and resurrection in the OT were not as I thought they were. My views on them were very much coloured by my own contemporary understanding as much as my view on Jesus as Christ were coloured by my belief and development as a Christian. In the midst of bereavement with my aunt’s demise just yesterday, and with Reb’s sharing of his stand on death, if I am not mistaken, as a sense of sleep until being awaken or resurrected at the Last Day, I have a lot to think about. In most Christian wake services that I have attended, I always have this peace within me, albeit resting on a bed of sorrow, that the one who has left us is now in God’s presence, in His bosom, is no longer suffering or in pain but safe and secure in the Lord. But, not so in this wake service, and what more, my aunt, whom I love and respect, have passed on. I was quite disturbed and at one point I did feel some fear – because the belief that I have always held is now shaken, regardless of whether it is right or wrong. This is why what the speaker had said about being out of familiar grounds and comfort zones struck me. While this may not the first time that God has taken me out of my comfort zone to teach me something, this one created a sense of dread in me. I had to keep reminding myself of the resurrection of Christ. Looks like I have got a lot to think about, and to relearn.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Pearlie, Remember the story about the man who asked Mother Theresa to pray that he had clarity? I think you put it on your blog once. She said that I have never had clartiy, what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you will trust God." It's like Prov 3:5-6. When I'm feeling in a place of dread like that, I have to remember to allow myself to fall back into the goodness of God. His goodness follows us always!