Contradiction?

The word detest (or detestable) is used eleven times in Leviticus 11. This word was used in describing the animals and insects that the Jewish people were to abstain from touching or eating.

Leviticus 11–12; Psalms 13–14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thessalonians 5

God was conveying that these detestable things would make them unclean, defiled, and the people would become detestable themselves should they break God’s commands within this realm. I see this as another example of what I like to refer to as “binary”; it is one thing or the other, and nothing in between. God is holy (set apart) and therefore he expects us to be holy because he is holy. We can be either holy or unholy, clean or unclean.

For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44-45)

One of the unclean animals was the pig and reading this reminded me of a verse from the Sermon on the Mount that had previously been confusing to me:

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6)

Dogs and Pigs

In the east, dogs are much more viscous; they are considered dirty and detestable, similar to how the pig was detestable. Picture yourself passing by a fence, and a big nasty looking dog comes running, snarling, growling, barking, and jumping at the fence with the intent to attack you. This actually happened to me just the other day and it scared the heck out of me!

Holy and Pearls

Things that are holy to us, or our “pearls” are God’s word and his precious truth. We need to treat God’s word as sacred and use it with the special intent that it was given. Tying this all together, the verse is saying that we should not be attempting to give God’s precious truth to those who have the intent to twist or abuse the truth or to use it to attack us. It might seem odd to suggest not sharing Biblical truth with those who may need it most, but I believe there is a time and situation for everything. For example…

A Biblical contradiction?

Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5)

First it says not to answer a fool, then it says to answer a fool. What are we supposed to do about that?

Verse 4 is talking about arguing with a fool; it becomes pointless when someone clearly doesn’t want to listen to you, or if they are twisting your words and trying to use them against you. Verse 5 is saying that if someone says something unwise, hurtful, or perhaps the opposite of sound spiritual doctrine, we need to respond at some point. We shouldn’t for example, argue with someone who is a drunken rage. They won’t listen, they would be much like the pig or dog who turns to attack us. We should however, wait for an appropriate time, when the person has sobered up or calmed down.

As I consider today’s readings there were a lot of negative, depressing words like detest, fool, sluggard, wicked, and hatred; the list goes on and on. These words remind me of the light overcoming the darkness that Mike Somers and BJ Armstrong have recently posted on. Alas, let us be reminded that we need not live in the darkness, and God has destined us for salvation through Jesus.

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:5, 9-11)

I want to close today with saying thank you to our readers and to my Bible Journal team, to build you up as you have built me up. Thank you for all of the encouragement and feedback, and for some of the stories people have shared personally regarding the impact that Bible Journal has made on their spiritual journey already. These posts are extremely challenging to write, from a mental, spiritual, and time perspective but I cannot imagine my life had I declined to be part of this. The overall experience is so far beyond rewarding, words cannot explain, so all I can say is thank you all, and give God all the glory for He has great things in mind for ALL of us!

 

  • Jane Harris

    You made me see more clearly about “the pearls to the pig”.Thanks Jon. You do a good job.