EDIT: Apparently this is #5 and I didn’t realize until after I posted it
Hey guys, I don’t have much to do today so I’ve decided to write this BLOG POST.
Thank you all my supporters for attending my 5th* edition of my ‘Some Thoughts’ series.
quick note: hahaha, I was gonna finally get to the 1 Peter 2 post but as I was looking through the stuff I had, I realized I have no idea for what I wanted to accomplish with it but I don’t want to scrap it either so I’m just going to put all I had so far as a subsection of this post
Here is my agenda for the day:
- Being a ‘child of God’
- ‘Go in peace’ (2 Kings 5:19)
- Is watching a sermon sufficient for ‘going to church?’
- The boy Jesus (Luke 2:41-52)
- 1 Peter 2 – all the OT references I could find
So the other day, I saw one of those posts where it was a picture of a pastor with a caption saying something about how we should be like children who wake their parents up at 3 AM towards God or something.
And I was just thinking to myself, as I read the Bible – yes, there is a call to come before the Lord in our desperation and know that we are in need of his grace. But there doesn’t seem to be the attitude that we should come before God as childish.
Yes, we are his children – but that doesn’t imply we are childish before him.
Paul’s letters speak quite the opposite – he tells us to be mature and to leave behind the elementary teachings (Hebrews 6:1), not to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).
And so I wondered to myself: ‘I wonder if we are missing something.’
“I wonder if our perception of what ‘child/children’ means skews our understanding of what it means to be a ‘child of God’ – there seems to be an implication that to be a ‘child’ of God means we are ‘childish’ before him but to say you are someone’s child doesn’t imply you are childish before them. This is not to say that ‘child’ is a bad translation – it’s probably the best one but our understanding of it is hindered by our preconceptions of what we think of when we hear the word ‘child.'”
“Then some people use Matthew 18:3 to say we should be ‘child-like’ and have ‘childish’ qualities (such as waking your parents at 3 AM) but Matthew 18:4 clearly explains to ‘be like little children’ is concerning humility – not being childish. This is not to say we shouldn’t be in ‘awe of God like a child’ or ‘wake up at 3 AM to get a glass of water’ but maybe we are misunderstanding the child aspect.”
In summary: Just because you are your father’s child, that doesn’t mean you are childish – you can be an adult and still be someone’s child. But, when we hear the word ‘child,’ we immediately think someone of young age.
And so, I’m not one to make claims without backing them up and so I proceeded to search up the Greek usages of ‘child’ through Blue Letter Bible.
Lo and behold:
“And as I’ve expected, the ‘children of God’ that Paul uses (teknon) refers more closely to being one’s offspring while the ‘little child’ in Matthew 18 (paidion) refers to someone who is a young boy/girl – aka our typical understanding of what we think when we hear child.”
In conclusion: being a child of God does not equate to being childish before God.
Next, I would like to talk about the story in 2 Kings 5.
I’m not going to recount the whole story but there’s one part of it that sticks out to me: it’s the verse I pointed out in the agenda – when Elisha says to Naaman
“Go in peace.” (2 Kings 5:19).
After Elisha heals Naaman, a gentile general, Namaan would like to worship the God of Israel but he asks if this one exception can be made for him:
Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord. In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.”2 Kings 5:15-18
And upon his request, we get Elisha’s famous words:
He said to him, “Go in peace.”2 Kings 5:19
And I think there’s something to be learned from this story.
It’s reminiscent of the Acts 15, where the apostles say ‘we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God’ (Acts 15:19).
And this is not to say we should intentionally abhor truth and it’s importance – this does not mean that today it’s okay for me to start worshiping idols with my boss – but that maybe in all these different times, and places, and contexts; maybe instead of holding others to the standards we have for ourselves in our time, place, and context, we should recognize that not everyone has the ability to worship God in the way we do. Yes, I’m able to study the scriptures daily – and thus I should be expected to do so. But what about the rest of the word that’s illiterate and has no access to scripture yet wants to worship God as Naaman does? Are those people disqualified?
Because for Elisha, the knowledge of God and recognizing that “there is no God in all of the earth but in Israel” seemed to be enough for him to say ‘go in peace.’
And isn’t there an aspect of trust there as well – in God’s ability to sustain Naaman? That despite Naaman having nothing but this knowledge and some dirt, Elisha is willing to let him walk away – there’s no intensive crash course on the Torah, no mention of creation, no law, no Sinai – nothing but a ‘go in peace.’
I was having a conversation with my friend as I ranted about some post I saw about ‘going back to the pulpit and preaching the word of God’ or whatever.
And I thought that was kind of sad – how the focus of what gathering for church has come to; it’s more about coming together and listening to someone preach for 30 minutes than the community.
And I’m not saying we shouldn’t have pastors or we shouldn’t have preaching or we shouldn’t have a pulpit – I think those things are good, they have their place.
But when we take a look at the scenes in Acts 2 & 4, it wasn’t just a ‘weekly gathering’ where they spent 30 minutes listening to some teaching and then going home for the day, it was an active spending every day together in community:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.Acts 2:42-47
And I think this pandemic has revealed more than ever how we have our focuses misaligned; since when did watching a broadcast of someone preaching become a sufficient alternative to gathering for church?
And this is not to say every church succumbs to this, but many do.
But if I told people that a couple of months ago that all I did for my Sunday church was go online and watch a live stream, I would get destroyed. Yet today, that is considered the norm and is considered a ‘suitable replacement.’
Somehow this image of a pastor preaching on a pulpit has become the very definition of what it means to ‘gather for church.’ So back to the question in the agenda, “is watching a sermon sufficient for ‘going to church?'”
quick disclaimer: I’m not saying we should gather IN-PERSON, but there are so many alternatives and opportunities you can gather online just to spend time with each other, study the Bible together, and break bread together.
So the other day, as I was randomly thinking, I thought to myself,
“hey, isn’t the story of Jesus in the temple as a boy in Luke 2 just a really obscure story?”
Like guys, if there is a story as random of this, there HAS to be something beyond it. There’s no way it’s a coincidence. And so I went on an adventure trying to figure out if it was an old testament illusion.
I made a list of old testament characters that seemed to be children – and the one that seemed to stand out the most was Samuel. He had that ‘house of the Lord’ vibe and so I went on google searching for answers.
And so I found this website which gave me all the answers (disclaimer as usual; I don’t necessarily condone all their ideas but I’ll post the ones I like here).
- Song of praise by the mother of the son (1 Samuel 2:1-10 and Luke 1:46-56)
- Both miraculously conceived (Mary was a virgin, Samuel’s birth was from a barren woman and came as an answered prayer)
And if you think I’m reaching, read these two verses:
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and manLuke 2:52
Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man1 Samuel 2:26
Hey, wait a second. That’s exactly the same. Like there’s no way that’s a coincidence.
I also stumbled upon this video; Luke seems to be suggesting that Jesus is ‘the new Samuel’ – like Samuel, he will be a priest and prophet completely devoted to the Lord.
(yes, the video is CATHOLIC, get over it).
This last section, I’m just going to paste all I had in my 1 Peter 2 post with all the references I could possibly find from OT. Some are directly quoted, some are more subtle.
- 2:3 – Ps 34:8
- 2:5 – Ex 19:6
- 2:6 – Is 28:16
- 2:7 – Ps 118:22
- 2:8 – Is 8:14
- 2:9 – Deut 7:6, Gen 1:3-4
- 2:10 – Deut 32:21, Hosea 1:6-9
- 2:22 – Is 53:9
- 2:24 – Is 53:4-5
- 2:25 – Is 53:6, Ezekiel 34:11-12
That’s all for today!!
Stay cool amigos,