There are times when I would love to take out my pocketknife and slice away the part of Scripture that I don’t like.
Who wants to be told that it’s not “all about me”, and that we need to be concerned about the needs of others? (Philippians 2:3)
Who wants to be told that hard work is better than laziness, and there are consequences to the habit of idleness? (Proverbs 6:6-11)
Who wants to be told that my body is not mine “to do with as I please as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody,” and that I am not really the arbiter of what is right and what is wrong? (I Corinthians 6:19)
Jeremiah’s book recounts a story of a king who, when confronted with some uncomfortable – nay, condemning – words from God, pulled out his pocketknife and began slicing away pieces of the text from which the scribe was reading and, to the horror of those around him, depositing such pieces into the blazing fireplace.
God was not amused, and he ordered Jeremiah to recreate the burned up text and add curses to it. It did not turn out well for that king or his nation when he rejected wholesale the message of the prophet.
We know that some people do like to burn books and we rightly frown on this extreme form of censorship. But if we accept the Scripture as God’s Word why would we decide which part is to be condemned to the flames and which part to keep? Do we base that decision on what feels good at the time?
In many ways we are no different than any other people at any time in history. We want to hear what we want to hear. Isaiah wrote of a people who said, “Do not prophesy to us right things. Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” Tell us we’re doing great, that we don’t need God, and if you do tell us about God, pretend that he doesn’t have any expectations, that any behavior we indulge he will accept or wink at, and it really doesn’t matter how we should treat each other. (Isaiah 30:10-11)
Things won’t turn out well for us if we confine to the fireplace everything that makes us uncomfortable. Sometimes we need to hear what we don’t want to hear, even if we are the king.
Lenny Cacchio is a resident of Lee’s Summit. He blogs at http://morningcompanio nblogspot.com/.