Numbers play an important role in many books of the Bible. What each means is significant for the overarching themes that connect them all. Each number has a unique meaning.
What I’ve found is a few numbers are repeated the most: 3, 6, 7, 8, 12, 40.
3 symbolizes perfection and completion. One can find it in the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s also there in how long it took Abraham to travel in order to attempt sacrifice of his son Issac. Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for 3 days. Jesus took 3 days to resurrect after His death on the cross. There are many more examples, but they all point to resurrections of sorts or a type of completion of perfection.
6 symbolizes humanity. Mankind was created in 6 days and allowed to work 6 days before resting. Slaves were allowed to be kept 6 years before being given freedom. The numbers 666 in Revelations point to an evil beast where it notes implicitly that it is the number of a man. One can also see today that carbon, the makeup of all living beings, has an atomic number 666: 6 protons, 6 electrons, and 6 neutrons.
7 symbolizes spiritual perfection or even the end. There are 7 days in a week due to creation’s time span, 7 churches, 7 spirits, and 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is not to mention the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls that announce the end of this heaven and earth as we know it.
8 symbolizes a new beginning. Other than the 8th day obviously being the first day of a new week, there are other examples. Newborns were to be circumcised on the 8th day, God saved 8 people from the Great Flood, and Jesus appeared 8 times after his resurrection. The New Testament has 8 authors. Jesus’ name in Greek adds up to 888.
12 symbolizes spiritual authority. There were 12 Israelite tribes, 12 judges, and 12 apostles. 12 loaves of unleavened bread needed to be presented in the temple each week. In Revelations, 12,000 of each tribe is sealed.
40 symbolizes trials. The Great Flood covered the earth 40 days and 40 nights. Moses lived 40 years away from his birth home after killing a man and was on Mount Sinai facing God for 40 days. The Israelites wandered the desert 40 years after betraying God. Jonah prophesied in Nineveh 40 days and Ezekiel slept on his right side 40 days in protest and fasting. Jesus walked the desert 40 days and 40 nights fasting before being confronted by Satan.
These are just some of the many numbers that connect stories in the Bible. The holy book is a unified whole, constantly referring back to past stories and songs. Numbers play an important role in all this.
Do you have any numbers that stand out in your own life?
The other day I was struck by an article I’d read about the varied and changing views on the afterlife that Jews have held through the ages. It’s not new for believers of the same faith to believe many different things. Even in ancient times, this was the case. In fact, rabbis made debate a sport in their temples. Amongst the “laymen,” there were even more disagreement as some were not believers (aka culturally Jewish only) and some were not educated in the Torah to any great extent. One person in the article stated that there’s a old saying about the many views they hold on death: two Jews, three after-lifes.
In this article, there were many views, and one had written that they felt ancient Jews believed dust-to-dust meant that we cease existence entirely, at which point God forgets us. I didn’t believe that, but it hurt me for some strange reason. I started to wonder about afterlife in the Bible. I worried on the subject all day (as I’m a worrier).
Finally, I did what I should’ve done from the beginning, and I spoke to God (I’m a slow learner sometimes). The Holy Spirit spoke to me immediately as if He were waiting all day for me to listen. He said do you believe I’m a good God? Did you believe me the many times I said you are my children and I’m your father and I love you as a father in the Bible? Then, would you believe I would ever forget one of my children even willingly? Do you think I would not grieve them and miss them? Do you think that I, an omnipotent father, would not bring them back to my arms once I’ve readied a Safe place for them? Wouldn’t you as a mother? Even humans who are not as good as I nor as perfectly loving would do this. How much more I?
“…and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7
“In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am…” John 14:2
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement…” Hebrews 9:27
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…” John 11:25
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” John 5:28-29
If you worry that, even if you are saved, you may die to live in a gray formless void (like Hades), burn in torment, or even subsist in a boring eternity of harps and fluffy clouds, why would you think God wouldn’t know your deepest needs and desires? He made you, and He would know how to give you more than you ever could wish or imagine.
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Luke 11:11
I have a passion for the Bible. I’m not deluded enough to believe everyone feels the same as me. I mean, it’s an old book with old stories we can’t always relate to. It’s huge and unwieldy! It even has sections that are only full of genealogies or lists of materials for the tabernacle or numbers of people counted in a census for tribes. What about this dry, verbose material would be alluring to anyone?
Let me tell you. If you came to the Bible as if it were a piece of art or ancient literature, you would see an incomprehensibly complex masterpiece created over thousands of years. I know part of my fascination with this work is because I’m a literature major. I love books. So, the symbolism, the foreshadowing, the repeated themes to tell a story or moral are engrossing to me. Jesus must’ve loved it too, speaking in parables all the time. Add to it that it wasn’t just one author. It’s difficult enough to have one person write one work. The Bible is made of 66 books: History, laws, poetry/songs, accounts for census or accounts, genealogy records, letters, prophecies. Yet, they all come together with the same plot, the same themes, the same symbols, the same message of love.
Which brings me to this: If I could sum up the Bible, what would I say? In one word, of course it would be love. In a bit of a longer way, I would say that the Word starts with the story of humanity living in a state of absolute love and peace, getting kicked out of that utopia, and then not being able to return. However, over the course of the rest of the Bible, you’ll learn three things: Eden is not a place; it’s where ever God is. We were not kicked out of Eden; we walked ourselves out. God has been trying to convince us ever since we left to return back. I want you to reread those three things. What do I mean?
Eden is not a place. It never was. I’m not saying there wasn’t a physically separate area where Adam and Eve lived. T hat’s not the point. It wasn’t Eden because of where it was located. It was Eden because that’s where God and humanity walked together in the cool of the day.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…
We were not kicked out. Have you ever been told when younger that as long as you live under your parent’s roof, you live by their rules? God’s rules were simple: Don’t eat from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Really, it wasn’t even about the fruit. It was about following God’s rules. It was a fruit of death, and God was saving us from ourselves. His rules are all about love. We didn’t want that. We decided to disobey. We decided to leave God’s presence.
He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
God has been trying to convince us to return back to his presence since the moment we left it. What about that angel with a flaming sword, you may ask? Sweetheart, do you think if we wanted back in His love and grace and followed his rules that anything would keep us from Him? We couldn’t return to His loving presence as long as we lived in disobedience and darkness. The darkness doesn’t exist in the light. God is begging you to return to His loving arms (Lev 26: 11-12).
And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
These are the simple truths. The Bible is full of complicated truths and hard truths as well. If you read it expecting the main characters to be only perfect and holy people, you’re going to be surprised. Not a one of them were perfect until Jesus. In fact, they were all evil in varying ways and saved only by the love of God. That’s the point. If you read it expecting the “good people” in it like Moses, David, etc. to only speak to God with positivity and adoration, you’ll be surprised. Especially David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), wrote songs and poems about every emotion and situation he experienced. Sometimes, he poured out his anger to God.
O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you.
Sometimes, he poured out his doubts.
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”
God can take it. He already hears your heart’s lamentations and doubts before you open your mouth. He wants you to communicate and open up to Him in honesty and truth, even hard, painful truth.
I just wanted to speak with you today about my love for the Bible. It’s a love story about the growing, changing relationship between God and His people. I guess I could say I wanted to write a public love letter about THE public love letter known as the Word.
Leave me a message below if you have anything you love about the Bible.
First, before all, this applies to all of my posts: I don’t know your heart, but God does. He know your past and future actions. And guess what? He loves you anyway. If you were brought to a point in life this was a choice you’ve made, I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with that. I know it must’ve been a difficult decision. My heart goes out to you, love. Take this as a study of the Word, and bring it to God. He is full of compassion for you.
Recently, the Supreme Court here in the U.S. overturned the Roe vs Wade law that supported the right to legal abortions at a federal level. Now, the states are the ones who decide the perimeters, legalities, and definitions of abortions.
As with anything, we should not look to our political parties, friends, families, or even our feelings alone to determine our view of the world. What is abortion to God, and what does He feel on the subject?
“If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
The above quote does indeed show an idea that there is a distinct separation of the life of the woman and that of the baby. However, it seems to only apply to others hurting the baby, not the woman herself. This verse is tucked in between verses concerning injuries or death done to slaves, which, in context, seems to look at the baby as property as it clearly views the slaves. Maybe we should see what it says about injury or death done to someone’s own slaves?
“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.”
Okay, so the fact of a baby being looked upon as essentially property doesn’t exclude punishment in case of the owner killing him or her.* However, it definitely seems more lenient, possibly to exclude situations where the owner intended severe injury and not death. It’s harsh either way.
Let’s look at an oft quoted verse about the punishment of an adulteress.
“The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water.He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her…he is to have the woman drink the water. If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children…”
If you’re like me, you’re thinking that this all sounds very… esoteric. It sounds like magic. I’m not sure what exactly is in this bitter water that would only kill a baby born of adultery, other than the hand of God. In other words, this death is not by man’s hand because the ingredients of this bitter concoction is water and dust. Since this was only done in situations when the adulteress was not caught and she did not confess, I personally wonder if this was usually an act done to clear the unsubstantiated jealousy of her husband.
There are several instances in the Bible where annihilation of a tribe or people in warfare may have been deemed ordered by God, and in many, the babies, even those in wombs, were not excluded in the deaths. These are actions only done by order of God, not based on a decision by humans, which would clearly be considered murder.
Read the Bible, pray to God, and see the answers God gives you for yourself. From my studies so far, it appears a few facts on abortion are illuminated by God’s Word. God hates death of any kind, but in some very necessary circumstances, it appears to be ordered by God for the good of the rest of humanity. Babies in the womb are property of the woman and her husband (if she’s married) and are not equal to the lives of their parents. However, they are still looked at as a separate life deemed worthy to be protected, with those who are harmful to them deserving of punishment (the parents themselves or others). In cases where the life of the woman carrying the baby is put in danger, it seems very clear to me God would support the termination of the baby to continue the life of the woman.
I won’t speak in light of rape cases of healthy adult women or incest as these seem case by case gray areas you should speak with God about, and I don’t know enough about those situations to feel comfortable settling on a verdict. I can’t find anything specifying abortion in those situations in the Bible, but if you have, please let me know for further study.
In any other case, it appears God would need to speak directly to you and order the death of your baby to make it an innocent act, and that can only be done with a drink of water and dust in a temple by a priest… so, take this how you will.
* I’ll be writing a post about slavery in a near-future post. Keep an eye out!
Hello there. It’s been over a year since I’ve written a post, but you, dear reader, have been weighing on my mind the whole time, believe me. I’ve felt a bit like I’ve failed us both. I have no idea if I ever succeeded in being a light on a hill for you or a sister speaking comfort in a world of darkness. However, if I have, as I hoped, I pray you forgive my silence.
My mother died. It’s even painful to write it. She had 4th stage cancer for two years, so I believe I’d been grieving for awhile before she actually left us. The crazy thing about grief, I’ve learned, is that it affects us in ways you can’t prepare for. When you heard from me last, I was in denial. Then, within weeks of her passing, I knew. It hit me when she spent only 15 mins out of bed to see us before returning to bed once again. I cried in the bathroom. Started having anxiety attacks every time I’d leave my parent’s house. Then, she died. I floated in a fog for awhile, but I suddenly handled everything weirdly well… I thought.
I love writing, but I haven’t written since last year in the midst of the anxiety and denial. I’ve tried and failed with different types of writing and then stopped trying. I can even do other types of creative projects like sketching, but words are blocked. It’s like trying to get water from the wrong side of a dammed river. I’ve heard of the stages of grief being sadness, anger, denial, bargaining, etc., but I’ve never heard of the stage of silence.
To write a post about grief from the perspective of God’s Word, I had to be selective in which verses to include because there are so very, very many. God has a lot to say about death and grief. I like a few in particular because it’s as much about the mourner as it is about the one we mourn.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.“
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
These verses are full of hope and comfort, not only for our present life, but hope that our loved ones never truly die if they lived in God. There’s so many of Yahweh’s people who grieved in the Bible, as well: Job, David, Naomi, even Jesus, who has the shortest sentence in the Bible devoted to the mourning of His friend.*
Really, that’s the one that means the most to me. We’re not alone in our grief. There is no one in the universe who loves you and your loved ones more than God. He hates death. He hates that your loved one died. He hates that you are in pain. Yes, God hates. He hates evil, and evil brought death into our world, but he’s got a plan.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
So, if you’re grieving, like I am, hold onto the knowledge that your loved one is simply on a new adventure, one by God’s side, one without the pain and heartache we experience here. Make new memories and adventures to perhaps tell them about when you see them one day. Have faith the size of a mustard seed, and go forward in life with confidence in this truth. Grief is an amorphous creature that takes many shapes, but trust that God knows it well. You can’t and shouldn’t try to handle it alone.
I’ve successfully written this, so maybe this dammed river will flow again soon. God bless.
*I have a whole post dedicated to why God would cry over a death if He knew He’d resurrect him soon.Read Here
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”
Okay, I think this may be a topic that can feel overdone sometimes. God is love, He loved us so much, He sent His only begotten son to die for our sins, and so on. But, please, for the sake of the world He died for, give me a moment.
The world today is torn apart, and everyday, it divides further and further. Consider the way definitions cause us to place ourselves into smaller and smaller boxes. White and black. Girl and boy. Liberal and Conservative. Pro-life and Pro-Choice. Millennial and boomer. Heterosexual and Homosexual. They’re endless. Definitions can be helpful in many ways. However, increasing numbers of people cut off those who disagree with them on the proper definitions or those with different definitions for themselves, effectively shutting themselves in echo chambers where they’re always right and outsiders are always wrong. I don’t mean just casually right and wrong like you got the answer wrong on a test. I mean Good and Evil.
That’s right. People are, like never before, calling the shots of what is Good and Evil. Entire new “religions” are being formed, named by political affiliation, ostracism certain if you use the wrong words, like calling certain people women instead of “people with ovaries.” Others jumping ship from one social media to another where people will agree more with their approval of certain leaders or their conspiracy theories.
Whether you wear a mask in public or not, here’s a thought: Who are Christians not? Since we’re focusing so much on definitions, we can’t lose focus on the main purpose of our life here and what GOD defines us to be… and what He defines us to not be.
Well, while fellowship with believers is central to remaining focused and seeking support in life, we’re not called to STAY around only believers. We’re not called to shoot down those who stray from our personal opinions. We’re not called to ostracize people who disagree from our definitions and sense of what is right or wrong. We’re not called to hate those who hate us so much.
As children of God, we are called to shine on a hill and spread our light out into the darkness so those lost in the darkness and confusion of the world can find their way to the source of all good and right. You can’t force an unbeliever to understand God’s right and wrong. You CAN be an example of right. You can SHOW them something no one else is doing: You can love your enemies.
It’s not easy, but it’s what the world needs more of, now more than ever.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
There are shadows in the world today, appearing and disappearing, flitting from here to there. They can be hard to grasp or understand, but their darkness has poured onto every street and home. Yet, it seems, the light of the God burns brighter for it.
One shadow is disease and death.
During the Black Plague, people would allegedly see a figure standing at the edges of towns: a dark, hooded cloak, a sickle in hand. Just after, the town would be overrun with the disease, wiping out so many, coffins and bodies would line the street because they were unable to bury them fast enough. This is where many believe the Grim Reaper image originated (Brittanica).
We are faced with a worldwide pandemic. Whether you believe it’s a real issue or not, the world is being chased down by physical death on all sides. It summons fear, and fear can summon strange behaviors in its desperation for survival.
One shadow is confusion and chaos.
“It hurt itself in its confusion!” This message in the Pokemon game appears when a pokemon, magically confused, hurts itself instead of the enemy as intended. This is exactly what evil wants: for us to be confused, hurt ourselves and our unity, and be so divided that it doesn’t have to do a thing to bring us down. There so many Bible verses about avoiding division, it would take an entire post to deal with it (maybe I should). Here’s one:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
Is it ok to disagree, to be passionate in a cause that we may disagree in, or protest wrongs? Of course! Jesus did so in many ways, but notably, when He chased merchants from His temple with a hand-made whip. However, watch for when others push you to turn against others. It’s a typical tactic for abusers and manipulators, as when you’re apart, you’re more likely to be persuaded.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
So, here is the point of today’s post: there are many hidden powers in the world, and they’re spoken about in the Bible in many ways. They’re ancient and cunning, and they use the powerful and weak alike in their need for domination. Jesus already died on the cross; He already took away our chains to those powers. You are responsible for continuing to follow God and using His light to see through and clear out the shadows as you cross them. Speak God’s truth, live it, and don’t build your foundations on the worldly confusion and fear that is like quicksand.
There are many themes, references, and symbols not readily apparent from a simple scan of the Bible. They tie the whole book together from beginning to end, which is a feat since each book of the Bible comes from different eras and cultures, especially the Old and New Testaments. The written Word is a tapestry of many threads and designs that tie together in ways we may not always realize.
The first theme we’ll discuss is that of trees just because it’s forefront in my mind from listening to Bible Project podcasts. From the moment Adam and Eve are shown the trees of both Life and knowledge of Good and Bad (the Hebrew usually translated as “evil” actually means a more genetic “bad” (Strong’s), trees entered the mind of the children of God. Time and again, trees are mentioned in ways that point back to the garden of Eden and the choice between life and death that first humanity had there. It comes to mean sacrifice (as we sacrifice our own belief of what is good and bad to obey God’s truth on good and bad). In many ways, humans are symbolized by trees, vines, and branches, fruiting when living in the way of the Holy Spirit, serving others. Finally, it springs forth again to show us Eden come again.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Another theme is the temple, which should be looked at as our true home. The first temple was actually the garden of Eden. It was placed on a high place, with the Holy of Holies in the center (i.e. those pesky trees of Life and knowledge of Good and Bad). The entirety of the Bible is about the journey of mankind searching for the temple to return to their rightful place as priests, ambassadors between heaven and earth in the Promised Land. Noah’s ark (a symbol of salvation), trees, animals that Noah (as a type of Adam) had to rule over, are more symbols of a temple. Mountains count many times as temples, high and close to heaven as to connect man and God, Abraham and countless others perform sacrifices on altars there. Then, of course, Moses and the Israelites built a tabernacle to serve as a traveling temple in order to commune with Yahweh. Solomon and many of his descendants built or maintained actual, permanent structures used as temples where the practice of priesthood was elaborated and cemented. Once Jesus showed up on the scene, as little as they realized at the time, He spoke of another traveling temple that would last until his return: the Holy Spirit would reside in God’s children, and no longer would people have to find the temple: It would come to them. Of course, in Revelations, the final realization of the temple becomes reality, and all of earth will become a grand temple, a massive Eden, where God will walk once again everywhere and with all people.
Honey and honeycomb is a relatively obscure symbol that pops up time and again. It tends to stand for God’s wisdom and decrees. Let’s consider these verses:
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
The above is pretty obvious.
One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.
When someone is full on their own or the world’s “wisdom,” they don’t long for God’s. However, those hungry for God will seek even His most hard to swallow words. By the way, I’m not stretching anything here. See this source that says something similar.
Someone’s it’s symbolism will help you understand other passages where honey shows up.
All the people came into the forest; and there was honey on the ground. When the people were come to the forest, behold, the honey dropped: but no man put his hand to his mouth; for the people feared the oath.But Jonathan didn’t hear when his father commanded the people with the oath: therefore he put forth the end of the rod who was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.
1 Samuel 14:27
Jonathon was symbolically enlightened with God’s wisdom despite his dad’s oath, and it ended up saving his life and Israel’s in the end. During the Great Exodus when Israel comes across manna, and that’s the only food for a long while, it tastes of honey as well, for good reason. They were living off more than just bread but off of every word that came from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
The truth is not always pleasant.
These are just a sample of the many threads that are woven from Genesis to Revelations. Can you find any other symbols, themes, or references that are consistently sewn into the fabric of the Bible? Does it change how you read the Word?
It’s difficult to know where to start with this, so I’ll just begin and pray God guides my hand to the correct end. I’ve become increasingly disturbed by images and videos of more and more people coming to light with abject racism and lack of humanity. Agree, disagree, whatever you may believe in this, I subject to you some Bible verses so you can take it up with God Himself.
But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
1 John 2:11
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
You’re probably saying, of course racism is bad. Anyone with any knowledge of God and His love for all creation would agree. However, you may say, this cop recently had this reason to hold him down even through his suffering breath or that person was not intending to shoot but to warn. All things are between God and the person who commits them in the end. None of us can fully know another’s heart, and I submit to my ignorance. Yet you sit there not giving leeway to the black person’s actions in the same breath? Or perhaps, you agree on both of these things but don’t say anything, don’t outright condemn it…
We, who are disciples of God, can not stay silent on issues of injustice or evil. When God measured out the tabernacle in the Old Testament and named the Levis the Holy Priesthood, He told them that their job was to find those who were ill and contagious and to set them aside, attempt to heal, but most of all, to judge the evil that was in their bodies and make sure it wasn’t spread (Leviticus 8-10). It was a symbol of what we all are responsible for now, as his new Holy Priesthood.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9
Jesus spent a large chunk of His time tending to His downtrodden, sick, and abused sheep. Now, do the same. The evil ones and the lost will never listen to you unless you repeat their words back to them, like an echo. Tend to those with ears as not everyone is aware. We, as God’s people, must bring the darkness to light and shout out the evil from the mountaintops.
I’m writing all this to say this is wrong. I’ve seen too many black people being abused or dismissed for speaking out about the abuse. I’ve seen too many killed out of misplaced fear. If you come at me with the All Lives Matter business, I will tell you that, while that’s fundamentally true, it’s dismissive of the issue. I don’t see you asking why a cancer awareness organization doesn’t talk about heart disease or why a 9/11 memorial isn’t reminding people about Vietnam. I will talk about other wrongs tomorrow. Today, I stand by the rampant violence against black people, and if you open your eyes, you will see God there too.
We are seeing it more and more lately because more and more people have access to phone cameras, and many sense the importance of photographic evidence, especially in a situation against people in positions of power. By the way, Jesus called out people in power continually from one end of the New Testament to the other. Why? As said in Spider-Man, “With more Power comes more Responsibility.” God gives those in power the responsibility to protect, guide, and shepherd. It is only natural God would call them out if they fail in that duty.
P.S. No, it’s not right for anyone to riot and destroy businesses or steal, even out of a sense of injustice. Those who do it are either opportunists, who come out during any tragedy and can not represent the whole, or are confused about how to fight for their rights and act out of a sense of hopeless outrage. You can not dismiss the evil committed against someone based on his/her reaction to it.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve already read too many articles about the era of history unfolding before us. It’s a strange time to live, and it came so suddenly upon us, I think most of us are still reeling from the changes that this virus, the lockdowns, and just the fear have brought to the world. That’s the thing though, right? This concerns the entire world. I know I’m young(ish), but I don’t recall any single event affecting the entire world so abruptly and at the same time.
We’re all realizing how connected we all are. If such a terrible thing like this virus can spread so quickly from person to person across the globe, then so can a wondrous thing like love, kindness, compassion, and hope. What if, when you serve your neighbor, that joyful servitude spreads, infectious with love, to a child in Japan within a month or two? We usually never know because the CDC doesn’t report spreading acts of compassion, we don’t pause our daily lives for the bellies filled or the smiles created, and we don’t have world-wide counts on the re-born rates of children of God.
I lay in my hammock yesterday realizing something about all of this. I’ve never felt more like a child since I was an actual child. It’s a weird thing to feel, now, during all of this. I used to play all day, from sunrise to sunset if I could, outside, barefoot and dirty. Now, when I step outside I notice that the world of nature hasn’t changed in the face of the news. The birds still sing over the warmer weather. The flowers have been blooming, bringing the joyful buzz of bees. Some days it rains, and the smell brings me back to memories of sitting on my parent’s porch with the wind chimes ringing in the storms.
I always feel closer to God when in nature. When I’m inside, I feel Him too, but I’m distracted by all the man-made stuff, chattering TV, the chores left to do. When I’m outside, I sense Him in His creation, things going on as they have been when He set them in motion. He can be seen in His creation, too. His hope in reflected in the erupting colors of spring, His calm in the gentle, warm breeze. You can feel how solid He is if you stand, barefoot, on the soil and watch His smile in the cotton clouds above.
I guess I’m writing this to tell you that we’re all feeling super complex feelings about this. It’s temporary; this will pass, but difficult times always feel like they’ll last forever. We’re all grieving the loss of control we thought we had over our lives. We’re all anxious sometimes of what tomorrow will bring. The emotions sometimes hit me out of nowhere. You’re not alone; but you’re probably just realizing this more than ever. Everything you do affects the whole world, at some point. We’ve never been in control. God has been this whole time, still is, and He is calm, hopeful, loving, and reaching out to you whatever you’re feeling. Even if all else fell away, He would remain.
Maybe step outside, take your shoes off to feel the ground beneath your feet, and speak to Him.