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Thursday, December 14, 2023

Ways To Read The Bible

This morning in my prayer time, an idea presented itself, and urged me to write it here. Part of it I had realized before, but this morning it was enlarged.

The basic original idea is that there are many ways to read the Bible - the surface level only, trying to make it fit a preconceived bias, as myths with meaning, as literal, as symbolic of deep spiritual truths, as a study for scholars, trying to unpack deeper meaning and what obvious metaphors meant to the people of the time, etc. And one way I've also taught is that it is every person's story. That is, the characters and stories represent the human journey with it's pitfalls and triumphs, it's turning toward and away from God, life and death, etc.

This morning I was shown that it also has a thread of listening and following Divine Guidance/Holy Spirit - or not listening, or hearing but not following - and what happens in each case.

So Adam and Eve heard, but did not follow Guidance, and ended up making a mess of things. Jonah heard, refused, got himself in a lot of trouble and finally relented. Moses heard, resisted, did most of it but not all,  and didn't get to go to the promised land. You can look at examples yourself regarding your favorite stories,  look for the thread.

Now, let's look at our own lives. I can say with assurance, that regarding my mistakes, as I look back at them, I have usually said " I knew I shouldn't have done that." I didn't heed the Guidance.

Taking the Bible as a cautionary tale of what happens when we don't listen or don't follow, and conversely what happens when we do, it is time to pay attention. It has always been time. As I matured, I have tried more and more consistently to listen and follow. I suggest to us all, it would save us a lot of pain and anguish, if we strive to listen and follow Guidance.  

You can discern Guidance from ego. Ego wants attention and applause. Guidance wants us to be humble. Ego wants to win, to be the center. Guidance wants us to serve quietly. Ego is all about self. Guidance is about others. Ego doesn't ask how this or that feels or affects others. Guidance is about respect, lifting, caring about others.  Ego is about greed. Guidance is about generosity at all levels. Ego is about creating a personal kingdom. Guidance is about participating in creating the Kingdom of God on earth.

I can hear Jesus saying, "Decide today, whom shall you serve?"

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