9 A blessing on anyone who seizes your babies
and smashes them against a rock!
Numbers 24: 12-25
(Didn’t I tell you..) I could not of my own accord go beyond the word of Adonai to do either good or bad?
Romans 8: 18-25
But if we see what we hope for, it isn’t hope — after all, who hopes for what he already sees?
Matthew 22: 23-40
29 Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God.
I’ve started to recognize passages that I’ve written posts about in the past. I decided to go back and read what I’ve written before, but to resist following the same contemplative pathways.
That said, I still have to go back and climb on one particular soapbox: My utter rejection of the practice of editing and redacting Scripture in the interest of political correctness. Psalm 137 is the one that inevitably has verse 9 redacted. That’s the verse about smashing babies on a rock. If you would like to know what I wrote about this passage previously, the post is called “Smashing Babies,” dated 12-5-17.
I have a different take today. I’d like to talk about our peculiar attitude that we (human beings) are in control of God. Otherwise, why would we imagine that managing and controlling what we say about the Divine would have any effect at all, in this world or any other? I can’t think of any point of view that could be more idiotic, arrogant, obtuse, or just plain wrong-headed. What are we thinking?!
We’ve forgotten about the corollaries. If we edit out things that we don’t like in Scripture, we are literally censoring the holy. We are stopping the mouths of the prophets. We are denying that God has anything to do with difficult circumstances; unpleasant truths; horrific events. When we edit out everything that makes us uneasy or offends us, we say to God, “We’re only going to listen to you when we like what we hear!”
But here’s the consequence of doing that: if we believe we are justified in censoring the Bible, then our reason must be that we don’t believe that God is present in the midst of us. We are saying that God is too finicky and delicate to get down and dirty in the worst of human troubles. We are saying that our God is a god who is absent some of the time, and who refuses to forgive the worst in us.
If we censor God, that means we have to censor ourselves. It means that we have just invited the 400 lb. gorilla into the room, and wordlessly agreed to ignore it from then on. The other thing that we have done by censoring is to say that we believe that Scripture is only about what God does and is, and not about what Humanity does and is.
The truth is that the Bible is not an ‘either/or’ sort of book— instead, it’s a book about the event horizon that connects God and Human Beings. It shows us the point of no return in which it becomes evident to all observers that nothing and no one can separate us from God, not even the most horrible things we can imagine—
“ Neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
We can no more go beyond the word of Adonai to do good or bad than Balaam could. It isn’t possible. As soon as we open the pages of even the most dismal translation of the Bible, the Unseen Hope rises before our eyes, and it demands that we open our hearts and minds and souls to it. We can hunch up our shoulders and squint in the effort to see only what we want to see, but in the end it just won’t work! We will be led unerringly to the Place of No Return, the event horizon beyond which lies the unequivocal Love of God, and where also lies our inevitable response to that Love:
“‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ and ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’"
The Point of No Return.
We know it when we pass it.
Of God’s own accord—
Don’t get rid of the Waymarks.