The stuff I don’t understand.

25 Sep

I think as Christians, we can become awfully judgmental of others who seem “critical” of the Bible.  The truth is, they’re only critical of the parts they don’t understand.  The sections that seem to go against actions and behaviors they really want to do or that feel right to them to do.

These sections feel obviously wrong to us, so we see no problems with accepting the teaching.  I have no problems refraining from homosexuality, drunkenness, orgies or gambling.  Therefore, these things don’t seem like “hard” teachings.

However, there are numerous things in the Old Testament that I really struggle to accept.  And if they were further carried through to the New Testament…. and the culture in America, where I live — I can’t say that I’d willingly submit.

I was reading this morning in Genesis 29 & 30.  This is the section of scripture in which Jacob (sent by his mother to go marry a relative) is working for 7 years to marry Rachel.  Her Father, Laban, tricked Jacob and had him marry his oldest daughter, Leah, instead and then also gave him Rachel as well in exchange for another 7 years of labor.

Then, scripture says because Leah was unloved, God heard her and opened her womb and she bore Jacob 4 sons, but Rachel was barren.  After the birth of these 4 sons, Rachel was so jealous that she gave her maidservant Bilhah to also be a wife of Jacob so she could start a family through her.

Then, the battle of the children begin.  Leah ends up giving Zilpah (her maidservant) to Jacob as a wife as well and she and Bilhah have more children. Then Leah has more children again.  Until finally, Rachel – whom Jacob loved, the original woman he was trying to labor to marry, becomes pregnant and had a son.

This literally blows my mind.

Marrying a Relative?

Working 7 years to “buy her”?

Being tricked and given a different sister?

Then marrying the other sister as well anyway?

Then God opening the womb of the unloved sister but making the loved sister barren?

Then giving maidservants as wives to build families through them?

Then — ch 30 vs 18 “The Lord has REWARDED me for giving my maidservant to my husbandwith another child of her own?

So, we know that Jacob had at least 4 wives, children with all of them, and the Lord was not angry???

I don’t get that at all.  I mean, doesn’t Genesis 2:24 say “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become ONE flesh?”

How can you be one flesh with multiple women?  Wouldn’t it be more like 1 + 1/4 … 1+ 1/4 … 1+ 1/4 … 1+ 1/4 = 4+1 = 5 flesh?

Not all of these themes are carried through to the New Testament. Paul teaches that Elders and Deacons of the Church MUST BE the husband of ONE wife.

And to be honest, if my husband was allowed, expected, blessed, rewarded or anything “pleasant” for taking another wife — I am certain I would be miserable.

I’m sure this was “normal” to them.  But when you read this and you listen to their cries to the Lord about being “unloved” and the way they barter back and forth about mandrakes in return for who gets to sleep with their shared husband that night (Ch 30 Vs14-15) we can see that even if it was normal, they still struggled.

Did God change His mind about this after watching women weep with the pain of sharing their husbands, or being forced to give their maidservants to have children because they couldn’t have children themselves and then resenting the maidservants for being able to give their husband children?  Or did we just culturally change?

I’m not a Biblical Scholar.  And I certainly haven’t studied this in enough depth to feel like I have clarity on this issue.

However, I share this to say that — I have a much deeper level of mercy on those who are unsaved because of the battle to understand things in Scripture that just don’t feel right.

Notice I said FEEL.

I trust that God, who created us, knows greater than I what we need and what will fulfill His good purposes.

And that’s the difference between the saved and the unsaved.

I don’t understand everything always.  But I trust God that He is good, faithful, merciful, just and wise far beyond what my limited mind can understand and my wicked heart can accept.

That being said, our honesty will go a long way in helping the unsaved understand that our feelings are not what we put our trust in.  We get really good at talking about how our faith makes us feel. and for those who struggle to accept that Scripture goes against what feels right to them — we’re losing the battle.

Practical Application –

Use some mercy when looking at others today who don’t feel like Scripture can be right.  Some truths are harder to accept than others for all of us.  We long (as humans) to use our free will as a chance to choose what we want  – making us a slave to our desires.  When really, the only hope for our free will is for us to willing lay it down and ask God for His will to set us free instead.

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4 Responses to “The stuff I don’t understand.”

  1. Jenn September 25, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Interesting post! Just this Sunday, our topic covered how Christians use all of these words that we may fully understand, but unbelievers are not so ready to get on board. Such as “born again” or “saved through grace.” We were studying in John about Jesus teaching Nicodemus. Even a follower of Christ was confused at the concept of living in the flesh and spiritual living. I too, have said before, I am still learning, and feel like I have learned the most in the last 5 years than I have my whole life! One thing our church seems to focus on too, is when we go on visitation, if someone has a question, and you can’t answer it, BE HONEST. We are sinners too, we are human too, and need guidance. It does all come down to faith. I can’t explain it, but I believe it. Adn that’s what it will take for me to get where I need to be. Good topic!

    • Kayla Gulick September 25, 2013 at 10:04 am #

      Your church does visitations? I’d like to hear more about what you do 🙂 Send me an email when you get time!

      And I too feel like I’m constantly learning extreme amounts all the time, the more I grow!

  2. Gleniece September 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    It was this very subject matter-polygamy- that was a turning point for me in my complete surrender to God. My emotions screamed “injustice”, but I had to concede: God is the creator of justice, not me. I laid my heart before our infinitely wise God and said- I may not understand this, but I choose to trust You. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord (Isa. 55:8). One day, all our tears will be wiped away and all mysteries revealed (even confusing biblical passages). Thanks again, Kayla, for making us think.

    • Kayla Gulick September 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      I often remind myself — we were made for SO much more…. but we lost ourselves in the Fall, and everything since that moment was tainted from what God most desired for us.

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