06 What’s the Bible All About… opening number

Participation in musicals is an activity that some of our children find much enjoyment in.  The practice schedule is a long and tiring process that involves the coming together of many people learning their lines… songs… choreography… set design…techie stuff… and orchestral numbers learned by those in the pit.

 

The magic of theater for the audience is that when the lights go down in the room, they are looking forward to being whisked away into another time or place.  If all goes as planned… the play watcher will not even notice the intricate details that have been tended to by the actors, producers and directors.

 

Knick knacks on a bookshelf in the living room scene.

 

A bale of hay tucked away in the corner of the farm scene.

 

The way that the young couple in love holds hands… even if they are not the main characters in the drama.

 

Live theater is an art in the truest sense.

 

As an audience member of a musical… the experience begins… with the curtain closed… and the lights dimmed low.  It is then, that the unseen players… the orchestra members… begin a short number that serves as a medly of the themes to the bigger elements of the story that is about to be lived out in technicolor.  The audience may sit in the dark listening to this musice for a couple minutes… with anticipation… and wonder.  And just as you get settled in for the journey…

 

The curtain opens… Act 1… Scene 1.

 

This experience is quite similar to the way that the Bible opens up for us.  It employs words instead of music… but they are words of poetry… rather than scientific terminology or history…

 

Poetry by nature has a mysterious element that can relay truths that no other genre in literature can produce.  And maybe that is why the authors of Genesis (inspired by God) chose the poetic device… so that when we open the pages to this book… our hearts, souls, and minds would be opened to accept the awe and wonder of mystery.

 

This is probably a nice place to pause… because much debate has taken place over the scientific accuracy of the creation account found in Genesis 1.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time in this debate… because it deviates from the bigger point of the narrative that is about to unfold…

 

How does one argue for the scientific accuracy of a poem?

 

We don’t watch movies like, ‘Transformers’… and then treat them like documentaries…

 

We don’t listen to our favorite romantic songs with a loved one… and then use it as a means for determining our grocery list…

 

When it comes to Genesis chapter 1… there have been many attempts to read it as a history book… determining specifics like how many hours in a day… and how many days in a week… or what happened to the dinosours.

 

Genesis chapter 1… is a poem… designed to set the stage for a creative act… that was good…

 

Genesis chapter 1… has a rhythm and a medley… designed to open our hearts to a good God… who loves us…

 

05 What’s the Bible All About – 139

 

א. לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר יְהֹוָה חֲקַרְתַּנִי וַתֵּדָע:
ב. אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּי וְקוּמִי בַּנְתָּה לְרֵעִי מֵרָחוֹק:
ג. אָרְחִי וְרִבְעִי זֵרִיתָ וְכָל דְּרָכַי הִסְכַּנְתָּה:
ד. כִּי אֵין מִלָּה בִלְשׁוֹנִי הֵן יְהֹוָה יָדַעְתָּ כֻלָּהּ:
ה. אָחוֹר וָקֶדֶם צַרְתָּנִי וַתָּשֶׁת עָלַי כַּפֶּכָה:
ו. פְּלִיאָה דַעַת מִמֶּנִּי נִשְׂגְּבָה לֹא אוּכַל לָהּ:
ז. אָנָה אֵלֵךְ מֵרוּחֶךָ וְאָנָה מִפָּנֶיךָ אֶבְרָח:
ח. אִם אֶסַּק שָׁמַיִם שָׁם אָתָּה וְאַצִּיעָה שְּׁאוֹל הִנֶּךָּ:
ט. אֶשָּׂא כַנְפֵי שָׁחַר אֶשְׁכְּנָה בְּאַחֲרִית יָם:
י. גַּם שָׁם יָדְךָ תַנְחֵנִי וְתֹאחֲזֵנִי יְמִינֶךָ:
יא. וָאֹמַר אַךְ חֹשֶׁךְ יְשׁוּפֵנִי וְלַיְלָה אוֹר בַּעֲדֵנִי:
יב. גַּם חֹשֶׁךְ לֹא יַחְשִׁיךְ מִמֶּךָּ וְלַיְלָה כַּיּוֹם יָאִיר כַּחֲשֵׁיכָה כָּאוֹרָה:
יג. כִּי אַתָּה קָנִיתָ כִלְיֹתָי תְּסֻכֵּנִי בְּבֶטֶן אִמִּי:
יד. אוֹדְךָ עַל כִּי נוֹרָאוֹת נִפְלֵיתִי נִפְלָאִים מַעֲשֶׂיךָ וְנַפְשִׁי יֹדַעַת מְאֹד:
טו. לֹא נִכְחַד עָצְמִי מִמֶּךָּ אֲשֶׁר עֻשֵּׂיתִי בַסֵּתֶר רֻקַּמְתִּי בְּתַחְתִּיּוֹת אָרֶץ:
טז. גָּלְמִי | רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וְעַל סִפְרְךָ כֻּלָּם יִכָּתֵבוּ יָמִים יֻצָּרוּ וְלוֹ אֶחָד בָּהֶם:
יז. וְלִי מַה יָּקְרוּ רֵעֶיךָ אֵל מֶה עָצְמוּ רָאשֵׁיהֶם:
יח. אֶסְפְּרֵם מֵחוֹל יִרְבּוּן הֱקִיצֹתִי וְעוֹדִי עִמָּךְ:
יט. אִם תִּקְטֹל אֱלוֹהַּ | רָשָׁע וְאַנְשֵׁי דָמִים סוּרוּ מֶנִּי:
כ. אֲשֶׁר יֹמְרוּךָ לִמְזִמָּה נָשׂוּא לַשָּׁוְא עָרֶיךָ:
כא. הֲלוֹא מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ יְהֹוָה | אֶשְׂנָא וּבִתְקוֹמְמֶיךָ אֶתְקוֹטָט:
כב. תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים לְאֹיְבִים הָיוּ לִי:
כג. חָקְרֵנִי אֵל וְדַע לְבָבִי בְּחָנֵנִי וְדַע שַׂרְעַפָּי:
כד. וּרְאֵה אִם דֶּרֶךְ עֹצֶב בִּי וּנְחֵנִי בְּדֶרֶךְ עוֹלָם:

 

I was in my early twenties when I first heard this read at a concert by a band that broke up shortly afterward (I believe it was their second to last show).  I was standing off to the corner of the stage… and was completely captivated by the words that were patiently spoken.

 

It was in those moments that I was awakened to the innocent truth that my whole life… I simply… desired… to.. be… known.

 

For some:

 

It’s not rocket science… despite the dysfunction that is present in any family or social group, some folks have a healthy grasp on knowing and being known without a heavy dose of personal shame attached.

 

For some:

 

It’s a longing that always seems out of reach… pain and separation for some is more the norm than the exception and loneliness is the mire that must be walked through… one foot… in front… of.. the… other…

 

It’s up to you to decide… how well known you are.

 

If you’ve found yourself in  relationships where something has been lacking… then you know the chasm that longs to be filled…

 

If you’ve found yourself in relationships where you have been fulfilled… then you know the longing for intimacy is tended to…

 

Most of us find ourselves somewhere in the middle…

 

Be honest…

 

You know where you are at.

 

The Hebrew words written above are Psalm 139.  Verse 1 simply says… “Oh Lord, You have searched me out, and You know.”

 

How often have we looked in the mirror… or laid awake in bed at night… or sat across from someone that we care about and wondered if we would ever be able to communicate the areas of our soul that easily understood… and those that are a mystery?

 

How often have we been burdened under the weight of our own shame from poor choices or failures… and wondered if it would ever be safe to show our true colors?

 

How often have we not been able to find the appropriate words of gratitude and appreciation for someone that we love?

 

How often have we ever wondered how long our broken life would remain shattered under the weight of heartbreak or mis-understanding?

 

And here begins a Psalm that acknowledges that God has searched us… and… knows…

 

That much exposure (whether we like it or not) can be a breath of fresh air for some… and terrifying for others.  And as you continue to read through the Psalm, you are given a glimpse at how multi-dimensional this searching and knowing goes.

 

Practical areas of life are not trivial enough to elude God’s searching and knowing (vs 2-3)…

 

Every word and thought has been searched and known (vs 4)…

 

Continue to read on through the Psalm and you will discover that time, space, knowledge, motive, aspiration, depression, joy, physical well-being… and so many other facets are all in God’s sights when it comes to us… and yet…

 

there… is… nothing… to… fear…

 

We can rest in God’s knowledge of us… we can trust… and we can know…

 

…that we have a starting point… for dealing with our experience in this world… and dare to ask the big questions that have plagued  humanity… throughout all time…

 

What does it mean to be loved?

What does it mean to be me?

Where did all of this pain come from?

Will You be angry if I keep asking questions?  If I doubt? If I can’t get to the root of this shame?

Will I ever be able to love someone else? to feel safe in their arms?  to be me?

 

My journey into the Scriptures… while linear through space and time… had Psalm 139 as a starting point in my early twenties… and I frequently revisit it… every time I need a Square One.

 

I come here… before I go to Jesus… because when I need to understand things like forgiveness and salvation… I need to be honest enough to be able to go back to the beginning… over and over again…

 

And in the Bible… the first page of the story… starts with a poem… that goes…

 

“In the beginning…”