Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pr 3:1-6 for Jan 10

"Sometimes the Bible promises too much, and has to be taken with a grain of salt." Let's check that ... as in, "and He will make your paths straight," Pr 3:6 in today's proverb section One Year Bible?

Or, "Sometimes the Bible demands too much, and has to be taken with a grain of salt." With these two restrictions, you'll have too much salt in your diet for sure.

The One Year Bible schedule seems to rush through Proverbs too fast at the beginning of the year, meaning we'll have some one-verse readings later in the year. The average for Proverbs should be five verses every two days, even using a Feb 29 year. In the blog, Lord willing, we'll drop and do a Psalm or Proverb commensurate with the amount of the rest of the Old Testament we're reading. We do the same with the New Testament, doing a New Testament passage commensurate with the amount of the rest of the Bible we're reading: about 1/4 of the time. Next year, we can flip it, hopefully.

So the Bible "demands too much," as in "trust in the Lord with all your heart," Pr 3:5? Remember, the original readers didn't have alternate translations to help them wiggle through with various presuppositional concerns. Translation: the original readers didn't have other versions of the text, to help them assert that this or that verse means whatever they want it to mean .... (Although many translations are always helpful, just as many observers are helpful, as long as they stick to observing, not inserting presuppositions and getting the very same ones out again... :) )

So is it a good question to ask about trusting the Lord with some of our heart? Last night, I trusted my bed to hold me up while sleeping. I didn't keep my arms up above my head in case the ceiling might fall on me. In the living room, there's a chair in which I can completely rest all my weight in, completely off the ground. I wasn't bracing myself in case the chair collapsed. These are everyday examples of doing things "with all your heart." No splitting of the bets.

Somebody might ask then, what is the splitting of one's bets, and not trusting the Lord with all our heart? I think it is to explicitly NOT trust the Lord but something else instead. This can be divided up into things, and times. There are things in which we explicitly distrust the Lord and trust something else instead. And there are times in which we explicitly distrust the Lord and trust something else instead. The verse would advocate the opposite of that, addressing things and times of explicitly distrusting God.

But some things are not so easily divisible. For example, if you're single, do you trust the Lord in that area? Many might say, "well, sorta," not necessarily that some days they do, and some days they don't, or that they will do so unless they're still single at 40 (or whatever age). They might mean that trusting the Lord for them does not imply doing nothing in that area. Trusting the Lord for food does not necessarily imply not working, unless you can't or shouldn't work.

There is some helpful explanation in the next verse: "in all your ways acknowledge Him." What is this? Some people think it's like a "pray about everything" rule. At every undertaking, "pray about it." Hmmm.

"In," not "before starting anything." In computers, we call this multi-tasking, not sequential, activity. Before sleeping in my bed last night, did I ackowledge Him? Explicitly? I don't remember doing so, unless my very going to sleep in some way acknowledged Him. (It did). But explicitly, what is it to trust my bed at night, or the ceiling not to fall, or the chair in the living room? It is a trusting in the high regularity of how God's creation works, specifically, gravity, for one thing. I can acknowledge God explicity, by saying that gravity is one of the attributes of God's creation, which He made. Implicitly, in all the many ways in which I depend on gravity, I acknowledge Him, by believing it will regularly be there.

A surgeon or soldier, then, doesn't violate the proverb, by not starting each step by explicitly praying about everything. Turning your attention fully to anything, or anyone (except God), really, precludes being able to pray while you're doing it. Various ways of speaking people use, like "my spirit is praying," etc., use different words to make the same point. There is an implicit trust that is both possible and necessary.

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