Small Meanings–BIG Thoughts!
by Bill Byrnes
Illustrated by Rich Gowran
One of the many things I love about the Bible: There are so many short passages, single sentences , or even phrases that give a prima facie meaning, but upon further scrutiny develop big thoughts that can lead to even bigger conclusions. Let’s look at some of them. Genesis:11:1-9 This is the story of the Tower of Babel. After the great flood, the sons of Noah started repopulating the Earth. Everyone spoke the same language. Approximately 2,300 – 2,200 B.C. they settled in a plain of Babylonia. They decided to build a city and highlight it with a tower whose top “would reach unto heaven”. This way, they would be famous and no one would want to leave for other areas. God came down to see the tower. Here’s the interesting part! Genesis:11:6 : “The Lord said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they all have one language. As they begin this tower, now, nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do!’ ” With this, God confounded their languages so they couldn’t understand each other. The people then scattered across the face of the earth and started the repopulating process.
This story is easy enough to understand and very short. But, when we start thinking and
asking the simple question “why”, our thoughts start blossoming! Why did God do it this way, why not just tell the people in a thundering voice that building the tower was forbidden– destroy it with an intimidating force of some kind–then tell them to scatter? Certainly, that would have worked! Was he really posing a challenge to mankind–something on the order of– when you can overcome this you’re ready for the next step? Also, thinking even bigger , what was he saying regarding man’s readiness for technology and what he could accomplish when he was ready? One last thought, with all its dire implications; what could man harm by developing technology before he was “ready” for it? Doesn’t it make you wonder when you consider that some of the greatest technological advancements have occurred for warfare? How about the effect of industrialization on the environment? By asking these questions I am NOT questioning God–blaspheming! I find that the more questions I ask, the more it leads me back to appreciate how awesome God is, and how our loving Father tries to protect us from ourselves and from the temptations of Satan. One fact is obvious: as you read the Bible (and other books on the history of man)– over the centuries – technology has been the only true change. Man’s sinful nature has NOT changed! The old saying is true: there is nothing new under the sun!
Let’s look at one more small passage: Ephesians 1:13: “…when you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and after which you BELIEVED, you were SEALED with the spirit of promise.” This is certainly short , and it’s very possible that you could read past It the first time without realizing its real impact. I know I did !
Sealed and protected
Actually, this is a a tremendous affirmation of God’s love for all of us!
Many Biblical scholars agree that the use of the word “seal” indicates a finished
transaction, a “done-deal”, where we are owned by Christ. As we expand out thinking, once we truly accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and accept him as our Lord and Savior– we are OWNED by him–NO OTHER FORCE (Satan or his World System) can claim us! This is a tremendous security blanket for believers! God knows we WILL continue to sin, but his seal, thru the Holy Spirit, will always act like a spiritual “beacon” that will lead us back to the “flock”. There is a caveat (isn’t there always!). This doesn’t mean we can say we believe, then go out and commit the same types of sins that we did before! No…no…NO! If we TRULY believe, our sinful desire should subside greatly. Any transgressions should not be as severe because our “seal” (the Holy Spirit) will enable us to see where we are headed and help us avoid total relapse!
Read this passage in Ephesians, and realize that this wondrous book you’re holding has
hundreds of such passages! From time to time I’ll bring you more of the passages with small meanings and big thoughts. but the most important thing is for YOU to read the Bible and hopefully – -find some of your own. I’d love to hear about them — use the “comments” section!