I don’t know if you’ve noticed in you’re reading of the Bible, but God never pretties up the gritty, stark reality in the lives of his people. The scandalous and outrageous and cringeworthy are all in there, sometimes in stronger language and more graphic detail than pastors want to highlight on a Sunday morning (I mean, an X-rated sermon?). But, to my point, and hopefully not TMI for you, here’s a brief excerpt from one such Scriptural account:
“David took off from the front line, running toward the Philistine. David reached into his pocket for a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine hard in the forehead, embedding the stone deeply. The Philistine crashed, facedown in the dirt.
That’s how David beat the Philistine – with a sling and a stone. He hit him and killed him. No sword for David!
Then David ran up to the Philistine and stood over him, pulled the giant’s’ sword from its sheath, and finished the job by cutting off his head . . . As soon as David came back from killing the Philistine, Abner brought him, the Philistine’s head still in his hand, straight to (King) Saul.”
From 1 Samuel, Chapter 17, The MESSAGE
(Here’s a prettied-up version of the above: ‘David ran toward the bad guy and quickly brought about victory.’ THE END)
So, why then, does God choose for us to have all the other, not-G-rated, parts of these stories? What is gained by including such shocking imagery? Here’s what I believe. The Church has been tinkering with bits and pieces of the Truth for Centuries, interpreting and editing and making cultural adaptations, codifying certain, isolated statements while banishing others, morphing still others into folklore/myth. All this, as I see it, is an effort to tame the Lion of Judah and his brash pronouncements, so that ‘pretty’ can usurp center stage. The problem with this, is similar to what we have learned watching ‘Antiques Roadshow’ – a rare, antique piece of furniture that would bring, say, $500,000 in un-tinkered-with condition, would bring, if prettied up in restoration, no more than $1,500. The harsh reality is that the original version, regardless of the evidence of age and use, retains ridiculously more value sans efforts to ‘clean it up.’
‘Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God. This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator; His speech shaped the entire cosmos. Immersed in the practice of creating, all things that exist were birthed in Him. His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light – a light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched.’ (John 1:1-5)
What we have is the Original WORD (our Primary Source) so, I’m not going to try my hand at any DIY Gospel. PD