Back in the day when Bob and I still had young children at home, I baked a lot more often. Poor Bob – these days it’s Stater Bros Inc for all his baking needs! But we had pumpkin and zucchini breads, cinnamon rolls, and other yummy delights on a regular basis. One afternoon, while in the kitchen making rolls, our young daughter Sharon happened to walk in. She stood for a bit, just watching, before finally blurting out, “Is that the roll that’s called up yonder?” She caught me so off-guard I just had to laugh. Apparently she loved that song – “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder I’ll Be There,” but was pretty clueless as to its true meaning. Too funny – guess we never know for sure what kids are thinking — adults too, for that matter!
There are multitudes of fascinating and debatable topics when it comes to untangling religious queries – some are crucial “redemptive issues” but many are just “talking points.” The trick is to know the difference.
My first real encounter with a curious talking point came as I wanted to know why God needed to “rest” after creating the earth. After all, He is God, but it was right there in black and white: “And He rested on the seventh day.” After some digging, I discovered that the Hebrew word for “rest” is ‘shabath’ and one of the meanings to that word besides “rest” is “celebrate.” It’s the exact same word out of Leviticus which tells us to “celebrate the sabbath.” So now I’m fairly certain God didn’t go to bed, but threw a glorious cosmic party, regaling with all of heaven, after creating this new world!
And I’ve always wondered when Cain killed Abel – the first recorded dead person – who exactly waited with Abel in Paradise until the next person showed up? Let’s face it – they lived a long time back then and it could have been hundreds of years before someone else arrived! Was Abel just sitting there all alone? Perhaps God assigned an angel to hang out with him. Who knows, but another talking point for sure!
And, speaking of angels, how often do we hear people remark that once we die, God gains another angel?! Not true! Humans are humans and angels are angels! As a matter of fact, there are many types of angelic beings – among them — seraphim, cherubim, thrones, archangels, and angels. Please note that cute, little chubby angels are not on the list. Angelic beings are mighty creations of Almighty God which have been recorded as doing truly Herculean deeds!
And, while on the topic of humans, I have heard many people emphatically state, “We are all God’s children.” Are we? That’s a very common phrase which I’ve even heard spoken in regards to savage MS13 gang members! Hard to believe. So – are we all God’s children? Despite the fact that God has created everyone, not everyone relationally belongs to Him. Only those humans who have repented of sin, and placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, can be said to be Children of God. Many people like to dance around the Bible verse (John 8:44) where Jesus was in a debate with some who wanted to kill Him. He flat-out told them, “You are the children of your father the Devil…” Seems pretty clear that they weren’t children of Almighty God. This talking point is definitely not rocket science!
For more lighthearted talking points, Jonah was not swallowed by a whale, but by a huge fish. Whales are not fish – they are mammal’s. And Samson’s hair was not cut by his backstabbing wife Delilah. No – she was too chicken, so she had her servant do the dastardly deed. And – just for the sake of controversy, nowhere does the Bible condemn alcohol. Surprise! Surprise!! It does suggest for us to have a little wine for our stomach, and don’t forget that Jesus Himself blessed a wedding in Cana with homemade wine! Undoubtedly, the really good stuff!! It’s fun and brain-challenging to debate Biblical talking points. There are so many issues that we just flat-out won’t know about for sure until we die and unravel it all in heaven. But – “non-redemptive” concerns aside – there are definitely issues we need to nail down, and if we don’t, life can go terribly wrong for us, not to mention eternal life. Mull over this wise “talking point” Galileo (1564-1642) put out for us to chew on: “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you can visit them at DPCityChurch.org.
Susan Becket | Dwelling Place City Church
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