At that time people began to pray to the Lord. Genesis 4:26
I did not want to be controversial this morning. As I prayerfully work my way through the Scriptures that I have read so many times before. But when one starts wading through the translators’ lexicons there can be absolutely no agreement as to what this verse means, even the simple idea of “who” nor the “what” this short simple sentence is about.
And the folks who wrangle with words cannot agree whether the subject is singular, plural, masculine, neuter, specific or general. Nor can they agree whether the action that occurred was to “call upon the name of the LORD” is an act of personal prayer or corporate worship, or the total opposite because the word translated as “began” means “to pollute, defile, profane … The most frequent use of this Hebrew root is in the sense of ‘to pollute, defile.’” (chalal OT:2490 Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) The Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines this as “to profane, to defile, to pollute, to desecrate.” (OT:2490 Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon) The Hebrew word translated as “call” can imply “the idea of accosting a person met.” (qara’ OT:7121 Strong's Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary)
And the beat goes on. Page after page of parsing.
But the main point is this: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The point is that The Word is breathed out by the Spirit God and is profitable so that the man (or plural or neuter or passively acted upon) of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. It is infallible in that Scripture does not fail in its purpose, because He does not fail in His purpose.
It has been very helpful these past few days to reflect on how Jesus felt about Scriptures. He obviously memorized it. Took it all very seriously. Applied it to his life and understanding. And sometimes interpreted it differently than the Bible scholars of his day.
And every morning as I enter into this quiet spot, I ask the Holy Spirit to join me, and move within my heart and soul and mind that I might become conform to the nature of Jesus. Jesus has promised that the Spirit of truth will guide me into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
And the fruits are all about the Holy Spirit at work in me, His temple, producing righteousness and peace and joy. And I think, really, this is what the fear and trembling is about–not questioning God’s salvation or love with trembling doubt, but always questioning my pride and self–and aware of the Holy One who lives within, who is at work in me to will and to work His good pleasure. And from there the Scripture rolls right into Do all things without grumbling or disputing.
No to grumbling and disputing. Yes to will and work His good pleasure.
And I was so surprised how hard it was to comfort a fellow swimmer this morning when she confided that she had two funerals to attend today, and one was a man who was diagnosed with skin melanoma and died in four months and left a kid in high school and a kid a sophomore in college. And I fumbled for words to say and stumbled out the door. Got in my car, and drove out of the parking lot and then drove back into the parking lot, got out of the car and went back into the door. And looked Sue, with whom I have swum at 5:30 in the morning for over fifteen years, and when she asked if I forgot something, I said, “I will pray for you today. That God will comfort you and surround you with His love, because you have a very hard day ahead of you.” And she thanked me very much, and I walked out the door again.
And I have a lot of learning to do, and not so much of it has to do with parsing.