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January 7, 2013 – Genesis 7

Click here to read Genesis 7 on

noahs-ark-biggerCan I share a pet peeve with you? Actually, I have several pet peeves, like when you’re eating a box of oreos and your kids keep whining like “we haven’t eaten in three days, Daddy. Can’t we please have one oreo?” Seriously. If you want to eat, go get a job and stop wasting all your money on diapers. I don’t know if that’s really a pet peeve; just seems so obvious. But, for something a little more universal, let’s look at a biblical pet peeve. Go and ask ten people who Noah was. At least eight of them will say “the guy with the ark.” ┬áThen ask how long he was on the ark. Almost everyone will say forty days. It’s just common knowledge. The problem is it’s not true.


In Genesis 7, we learn that Noah gathered up his own personal zoo and packs them all into his big ole barge. But when the waters come, it’s not only rain; the waters also come up from the “springs of the deep.” In other words, somehow water came up as well as down, possibly as geysers or something similar. This downpour lasts for forty days, as most people know, but Noah and his family don’t come out immediately after the rain stops. In fact, the flood covers the earth for 150 days. But even now, the Noah’s don’t get to come out. In chapter 7, it says that the rains came when Noah was 600 on the “17th day of the second month,” and chapter 8 says that they came out of the ark when he was 601 on “27th day of the second month.” In other words, they were on the ark for one year and ten days, or 375 days. That’s a long cry from 40 days.

So what’s the peeve? So many people are “certain” of what the Bible says without actually reading it. It seems that we are all guilty of this. How many times have you heard people quote “God helps those who help themselves” as if it’s in the Bible? (it’s not.) Or that we all have a guardian angel (not mentioned in the Bible). Or that “God works in mysterious ways”? None of these things are in the Bible, but they sound so good we figure they must be in there somewhere.


It seems that the more one reads the Bible, the more one is surprised as much by what is not there as what is. For example, did you know that many English translations do not even have the word “lucifer” in them? True story. Many people who actually manage to read the whole Bible make comments such as “I never imagined that was in the Bible,” especially when it comes to some of the more violent and racy parts. The truth is the Bible reflects reality and who we are as people, which is sometimes surprising, sometimes shocking, sometimes disgusting, and sometimes inspiring. But more importantly, it’s about who God is, and therefore it seems like it might be fairly important to actually see what He tells us about Himself. Just my opinion.

Since it’s January, let’s make a deal. As we move through the Bible for these little readings, let’s agree to actually read the chapter. I’ll even put a handy-dandy little link at the top of the page for you to click on. All you have to do is click and read. That way, when we finish going through the Bible, hopefully we’ll actually know what the Bible says, rather than what somebody heard somebody say about what sounds like it might be in the Bible. Not to mention that God may just say a thing or two to us in the process. Pretty sweet.

Guess I better feed these kids. Oreo wrappers are edible, right?

January 6, 2012 – Ezra 6

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002It seems that Hollywood never runs out of love for the personification motif. For those of you that are getting ready to look up the definition of “personification,” let me save you the trouble. Notice how many movies in the last decade revolve around something made of plastic or metal coming to life: toys, cars, computers, radios, and on and on. For a little realism, I’d like to see someone make a movie about the life of keys after dark; there’s no other explanation for how my car keys can begin the night on the hall table when I place them, and end the night in the nether regions of the couch. I understand that all creatures great and small have the need to explore, but I don’t think scaling Mt Davenport is going to inspire anyone, so Mr. Keys should just stay in his little cubby instead of invoking his little key-pixie wanderlust.


Rest assured, fellow Bible trekker, that wandering inanimate objects did not start with the era of moving pictures. For as long as people have been making stuff, stuff has been wedging itself into cushions, falling behind appliances, and traversing the digestive tracts of family pets. In Ezra 6, we see King Darius trying to locate a decree of his predecessor, King Cyrus. He naturally looks in the royal archives in the capital, but alas, ye olde paper gnome has stolen the paper. It eventually turns up in Ecbatana, the summer home of the kings. Always in the last place you look.

Moreover, this is no ordinary decree. Cyrus had granted the Israelites the opportunity to rebuild their temple, an opportunity that was going unfulfilled due to (among other things) the ongoing harassment of the Israelites’ neighbors. This misplaced little note proved that the Jews not only had the right to rebuild their temple, but that anyone that interfered was to be impaled on one of the supporting walls of his own home. Gotta love the warm fuzzies of those crazy Persians.


Notice how this document, so vitally important to one group of persons, was so forgettable by the issuing king that he left it at his beach house with his royal speedos. Often times, we don’t realize how the little things in our lives can be essential to the lives of others. That extra dollar you left as a tip at Bob’s House o’ Chicken Wings? Maybe that was enough for the waitress to pay for a doctor visit for her sick baby. That extra second you took to allow Old Lady McCreary to cross the street in front of you? Maybe that saved her life. That little “thank you” may be just what the ticket agent at the airport needed to hear that day. Opening the door for that man at the grocery store may be just what saves his back from needing another surgery.

The Bible makes clear again and again how the most insignificant events can change fate in ways we can’t begin to imagine. What will you do today to change the world?