Then there are the people who don’t believe the Bible is relevant today. I say it all depends on how you view what you’re reading. If you put it in your own context, it can be shockingly revealing.
I remember how Nehemiah (that’s a book in the Old Testament) spawned popular posters in 1972 quoting chapter 8, verses 1 – 8. In essence, those verses refer to a gathering of the people of Israel “in the area in front of the Water Gate,” and how Ezra read the Mosaic Law to an assembly made up of “both men and women and anyone who could understand what they heard.” The comparison to the Watergate scandal trials’ being broadcast to our entire nation was too tempting to resist.
As I take my daily dips in the pages of holy writ I find other nuggets that make me sit up and take notice, or perhaps just make me smile. Here are some samples from recent readings:
Proverbs 1.13 (Common English Bible): “We’ll find all sorts of precious wealth; we’ll fill our houses with plunder.” Could that be the mantra of looters who use peaceful demonstrations as an entry point?
A few lines from The Message paraphrase that bring our president to mind:
Proverbs 17.7: “We don’t expect eloquence from fools, nor do we expect lies from our leaders.”
Proverbs 17.15: “Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people are equally abhorrent to God.”
Proverbs 17.19: “The person who courts sin marries trouble; build a wall, invite a burglar.”
Proverbs 20.2: “Quick-tempered leaders are like mad dogs — cross them and they bite your head off.”
And then there’s one that can only be understood as a direct indictment of the folks in my political camp. From the King James Version, Proverbs 11.25: “The liberal soul shall be made fat.” (It means, of course, that when we’re generous, we’ll prosper; but, taken at face value, it sounds like people of my political persuasion should just give up going on a diet! Apparently, it’s God’s will that we stay bodily hefty!)
So, there you have just a few examples of how ancient scripture can, in fact, open up the possibility of lending insight to our contemporary lives.
Might not be a bad idea for more people to blow the dust off those old family Bibles and crack them open now and then. You never know what it is that God’s been trying to tell you all this time.