Biblical Idiocy (A Lesson in Humility)

Last night I made a fool out of myself in church.

We were discussing an editorial (in response to one our staff had written) that urged us to take the more enlightened view that the Bible was meant to be reinterpreted and examined for the modern day. The editorial made the mistake of assuming that our views on homosexuality were based upon Old Testament Mosaic law. (For the record, the New Testament makes it clear that homosexuality is wrong. Read the book of Romans if you doubt.)

I pointed out that many people make the mistake that traditional Baptists, who believe the fundamentals of the faith, are often presumed to be dogmatically tied to the Mosaic Law, and that many such churches get into trouble when they argue God’s viewpoint specifically from an Old Testament view.

As an example, I mentioned that Mosaic Law prohibited wearing clothing made from more than one type of materials. Examine our shirt tags, and we would find our cotton-polyester blends were contrary to the Old Testament Law. Although Christ came to fulfill the Law, the New Testament makes it clear that we, as believers, are dead to it.

So far, I was fine. Then I decied to add a second example. That’s where I proved that I needed a lesson in humility. I said (although I believe the Scripture’s pro-life teaching is clear), that the Mosaic law did not prohibit abortion, but instead provided a financial renumeration for the loss of an unborn baby.

My statement was based on Exodus 21:22-25, but I had goofed on the interpretation of it several years ago, and failed to notice my error successive rereading.

Fellow church member Gordon Wellman pointed out my mistake, for which I am grateful. I was really embarrassed. Here’s where I went wrong:

Exodus 21:22-25:

22If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
24Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

What I got wrong was the meaning of so that her fruit depart from her. I had read it as meaning, “if the baby dies,” but the meaning is actually, “if the child is born [early].”

In that case, the woman’s husband, with the assitance of a judge, may impose a fine, but in addition to that, any harm that comes to the infant must be paid for using the classic “eye for an eye” rule.

No matter how much we study the Word of God, there is still more to learn. While preparing a Junior Church lesson last week, I noticed a description of David just after he was anointed to be the next king of Israel, when most consider (and teach) that he was merely a Shepherd boy, that indicates he was already well known as a warrior:

1 Samuel 16:18, emphasis mine:

18Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.

To be sure, his family didn’t seem to see or treat him that way. As the youngest of 8 brothers, David seems to have been branded as the baby–even by his father–long after he had proven himself to be more.

I suppose God’s lessons in humility would be less effective if administered in private.

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