Sunday, August 4, 2013

DO YOU HAVE THE STOMACH FOR IT??



                                  Ancient Sepulchre in France
If Romans 3 doesn't make you queasy, then nothing will...The following translation is from the KJV, and it is quite similar to the NIV as follows, "Their throats are an open sepulchre." Either version gives you the same picture of a grave/sepulchre having been opened. Most of us run right by this tiny passage, like I have done for many years, missing the significant metaphor being used by Paul...

The entire quotation from Romans 3:13 reads like this from the NIV, "Their throats are an open grave; their tongues practice deceit." This is an amazing verse and is worth the time to ponder, if you have the stomach for it...If you do, read on. If not, pass on this post. This one verse has some of the most descriptive language, I know of in Scripture. Usually this metaphoric play on words is saved for specialized poetry like Haiku. All Japanese Haiku includes various elements. Brevity is one, since they are incredibly short, and, of course, the all important "Kireji." The literal translation of this is "cutting word," from the verb "Kiru," meaning to cut...

Paul gives us 9 Haiku poems in a row, beginning with verse 3...As in the "Kireji," each word is carefully selected and even measured to deliver the maximum power in the most minimal of space. Good Haiku captures the essence of being Japanese: small but mighty.


The church at Rome was sliced and diced by these 9 verses, as are we who are reading and studying them, some 1,980 years later. Imagine your own throat being an open grave or sepulchre from long ago as these depict: 
  1. Final resting places for those who have died are not where we choose to spend much time, other than to the occasional change in floral arrangement.
  2. If a grave is dug up, what do you get? Too soon and you get decaying flesh and insects that enjoy eating and nesting there, while an aged friend or relative literally rots away to nothing, mostly ingested by the parasites and their offspring. (I told you that a strong stomach was required)
  3. If the grave is not in the ground, but in a sepulchre, then you have all of the above, plus an open space for the gathering of all the putrefying odors related to natural desiccation.
So throats that we all have are metaphorically transformed into one or both of the above. If your throat is rotting or dying in some way, what happens when air passes from your lungs when you exhale? What happens when you speak? Their is a stench following your breathe in either case that has a pungency off the Richter scale. It stinks so bad that it makes your eyes water. The only relief is to step back or turn away. In Paul's inimitable way, he "Kireji'd" them with some powerful Haiku that he borrowed from the Book of Psalms.


                                                Open Sepulchre practicing deceit
                     
Lastly, "their tongues practice deceit." Continuing on the metaphor of the moldy mouth, Paul adds the tongue. It does all the tasting for us, but most importantly, it allows us to speak with clarity. The Bible tells us a lot about the tongue, usually teaching us that it can be an instrument for good, but often, we, like those in Rome in 33 AD, use it for evil. We lie, we steal, we cheat. We don't intentionally lie, you say; we just fib a bit. We don't steal, we borrow. We don't cheat, we creatively help ourselves to someone else's work, and besides, everyone does it!

Now here's the kicker, the Scripture says, "we practice deceit." If you want to get better at playing the piano, you practice. If you want to get better at playing baseball, you practice. If you want to get better at pleasing your wife, you practice, "Yes dear and I'm sorry." You all have heard of "Practice makes Perfect!" Scripture says, we "practice deceit" over and over again, on our way to perfect deception and deceit." Are you practicing in the wrong game? Are you practicing for the wrong reasons? Do you have the breathe of death and decay? Do your words have the stench of an open grave? Paul pulls no punches! 

Haiku Paul hits you upside the head, just about every time he writes...Must have been great to hear him speak with the enthusiasm and authority gained from his private meeting with Jesus on the way to Damascus. You can have your own private meeting with Jesus, just like Paul. He said that your life can be changed forever, like his, if you have faith in our Lord and Savior...We are justified by our faith in Him and redeemed by His blood. Knock on His door through prayer. He will never leave you out in the cold, harm you or trade you in for a newer model. He, with His Father and the Holy Spirit are the epitome of what we call family. Your family whether loving and whole or broken and in pieces was meant to provide you will a temporal foundation for this lifetime. The family of the Almighty changes the temporal family of flesh and bone into the infinite family for eternity. 

You cannot lie your way in, you cannot steal a spot, and you cannot cheat the process of life and death. If you are practising deception, please realize that the worst kind of deception is deceiving yourself. I know from years of practicing deception on a regular basis to get through another day, week or month. Jesus actually changes lives in this world, in all time zones and in all languages. Please invite him in and join His family.

The Digital Disciple


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Hearing from you is certainly not a requirement. Consideration of what is researched and written is all I ask of anyone who stumbles upon my writings. I believe that my God will take it from there. With His help I try to separate fact from fiction, sense from nonsense, and ultimately clarity from chaos.

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