Another surprise? Of course! Once more, this morning, God “surprises” me with a whole new understanding of a passage from the Bible. Not just a little turn in understanding, but a pretty MAJOR shift… Again!
Don’t worry, I’m not going to regale you with some “new” teaching you’ve never heard before or that is meant to impress you or shock you with something previously “hidden” –some mystery that no one has ever heard of or discovered before.
Truly, there is “nothing new under the sun,” as King Solomon once observed (Eccl. 1:9). But there are ALWAYS new ways of seeing the “old” things we thought we knew, as we grow and mature in our understanding of God and His goodness—the truth of the “I AM” or of who God is (Exo. 3:14-15).
You might think after many years of reading and studying this compilation of books, called the Bible, every day, there would be nothing new in there anymore, no surprises left between the covers. All the while you (or I) might think this, you (or I) would be wrong (So we need to watch ourselves that we don’t think this J ).
God and His Word do not change, but hopefully we do. Hopefully we let God’s Word penetrate our minds, beliefs, hearts, and so we are continually “surprised,” and so we are seeing “old” things in a “new” light, and so our natures, characters, and lives are constantly changing—for the good.
First of all (FLASH, FLASH) the “surprise” this morning is yet another reminder to me that I should NEVER assume I know FULLY what ANY passage of scripture means EVER.
Next I am observing again, that when we sincerely seek to understand God’s heart, suspending our own understanding for a minute or two, and search His Word for other similar passages and words as those we are currently looking at, digging deeper into what He meant through those who spoke and/or who wrote it down in their culture and time, even with all their limitations—more about God will come to light—now, in our time, by the same Spirit, translated.
…I think the “surprises” are limited only by our own faithfulness or lack of faithfulness. When we value, so hold to and try, with the help and strength only God can give, to live out the light God gives, He can and will and delights to give us more…
What is the passage God gives me “new” today? It is in Luke, chapter 11 (using the ESV today): 33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
I’m wondering: What exactly is a “bad” eye? As I look up the cross references for the word “bad” from verse 34, for a minute, I think I have looked up the wrong cross reference which is in Matthew, chapter 20:15. It reads: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’”[a]. No (I’m not wrong). It’s the right reference.
But then I read another cross reference for a “bad” eye, from Deuteronomy, chapter 15:9 which says: “Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly[a] on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin [Footnote: [a] Or be evil..].”
I look back at the footnote for Matthew 20:15: [a] “Or is your eye bad because I am good?”
This is “new” (to me)…A “bad” or “evil” eye means grudging? Or begrudging? Holding back good or holding back from wishing good to others? I never imagined this. I look up some more cross references to this word:
(Deut. 28:54) “[Because of national rebellion or disobedience to God] The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left…”
(Deut. 28:56) “The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter,…”
(Prov. 23:6) “Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies…”
(Prov. 23:22) “A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.”
Another synonym for a “bad” eye is “stingy”?!
A “good” or “healthy” eye, then, must be a gracious, generous, giving heart. Yes! Of course! A heart just like God’s. This is how God has always been to me. It is how He treats all His children—all, despite our imperfections—all who look to Him, who want to and learn to believe Him, who come to love and so to follow Him and His true Word, embodied in Jesus—all!
NO ONE who seeks Him is EVER turned away. ALL who honestly seek Him will find Him.
I LOVE this “surprise” from my reading and study today. Though it is convicting, it is also comforting as it confirms to a greater degree the unchanging goodness of our God. I pray my heart might be more like His and less grudging or begrudging or stingy (as mine too often is). “Help me, Lord, through Your Spirit or Presence, which is only with me because of Jesus, to be more like You in my heart and attitude! Thank You, for teaching me “new” things from the “old,” LORD. Thank you for another “surprise,” another change of mind and heart today!