Daily D – Psalm 78:40-43
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved him in the wasteland!
Again and again they put God to the test;
they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power—
the day he redeemed them from the oppressor,
the day he displayed his signs in Egypt,
his wonders in the region of Zoan.
The Sunday School teacher was lecturing on Genesis 1 about God creating the heavens and the earth. This was our first, and only, day to attend this class. The teacher declared the six days of creation were each twenty-four hours long. He said the word Day always means a twenty-four-hour period of time in the pages of the Bible.
Summoning up a humorous reply to stretch his thinking a bit, it was my tongue that got bit as he pointedly and powerfully declared this was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There was no room for other opinions.
It does not take much research to determine the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of the teacher’s mistaken understanding. For example, these verses in this psalm use the word Day to refer to a period of time greater than the limits of a particular day like the ones we give the names Saturday, Sunday, and so on.
Asaph uses the word Day in verses 42 and 43 to refer to the period of time when God took on the gods of Egypt with the plagues which ultimately led to Israel’s release from slavery. Those ten plagues took much more than a twenty-four-hour period of time.
The truth is, you and I have probably held an opinion equally as strong as this teacher. We likewise have been as wrong as was he. There is a chance we hold a wrong opinion even today. Facebook is an opportunity to learn all matter of untrue facts. Twitter is very nearly its equal.
Some pontifications are too powerful for their own good.
Whether we teach Sunday School, public school, or ourselves, let us do so with humility of heart and mind acknowledging we do not know it all and never will. Let us likewise study well enough that we do not end every lesson with, “Yeah, but what do I know?”
There is a wide space between these extremes we should inhabit with openness of mind combined with charitable conviction. Some people will refuse correction. Some will not consider alternatives leading to growth, development, and transformation. Some will challenge you just because you are you.
Sometimes the best thing we can do in the face of ignorance is gently correct. Sometimes the best thing we can do is shut up. Or we can be like those penguins in the movie Madagascar and say, “Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.”
Sometimes we should smile and wave on the way out the door. We did. We did so in anticipation of a better day.
I will open my mind enough to learn new truth and close it enough to prevent new misunderstandings.
Our Father, teach us day by day as we lean toward that day when we will see all things clearly. Deliver us from the desire to be right about everything and to set everyone right in all of their mistaken thinking and behavior. Bless us with friends and family members who seek to know the truth. Show us how to adjust our lives well to your truth. Give us an increasing capacity for receiving and living your truth. May we know you, ourselves, and our world ever more truly as we learn to see all things from your perspective. Amen.
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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”