Exegesis matters.

Otherwise, you get eisegesis of the highest order.

At some point we’re going to start listening to Paul on biblical church governance, right?

Case in point:

Definition of eisegesis:
eis·ege·sis noun \ˌī-sə-ˈjē-səs, ˈī-sə-ˌ\
plural eis·ege·ses

:  the interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one’s own ideas — compare exegesis

Picture credit: Chris Rosebrough, @piratechristian

His Great Pleasure

If you follow my Twitter feed (look right), I threw one tweet out there a bit early yesterday morning about Solomon and lilies.  I spent a bit of time writing things down in my journal and wanted to expand on them a bit.

I started in Luke 12:22-34, which is one of my favorite sections in all of Scripture.  It is also a ridiculously hard to apply bunch of verses.  Telling a human being not to be anxious feels like teaching a dog not to puke on the carpet.  When you’re in the room/at home it’s all gravy, but as soon as you walk outside to check the mail you are back to square one.

Working from the end of the passage backwards, verse 32 is a wonderful imperative:
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

When I take good pleasure in something, be a cold pint of San Diego craft or a perfectly constructed sandwich, it is obviously because I enjoy it so much.  It is hard to avoid redundancy here.  Jesus is not talking about a sandwich, He’s talking about the Kingdom and our God who takes great pleasure in letting us share it with Him.

To have a better look at what we need not fear, I paraphrased bullet points of verses 22-31:

  • 22: do not be anxious
  • 23: life is more than food, clothing
  • 24: consider the ravens
  • 25: who can add a single hour to a life?
  • 26: why are we anxious about the rest (if v. 25 is true)?
  • 27: consider the lillies; better dressed than King Solomon
  • 28: Grass alive then burned — “O you of little faith!”
  • 29: don’t dwell on food/drink; don’t worry
  • 30: Father knows we need them
  • 31: seek kingdom, sustenance will be given
Often, what we seek or what we are anxious about doesn’t just stay in the back of our minds.  It moves to the front, blocking out what should be there.  This is the very essence of idol worship.  Jesus knows this, and He gives us the remedy in verses 33 and 34:
Sell your possessions and give to the needy.  Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Emphasis mine)

Where our treasure is, there is our heart.  Even good things like family, friends, jobs, or education become idols.  The longer we keep something other than God as our top priority, the more we feed the idol’s power in our lives.  Jesus is not commanding us to sell everything we have and be homeless, but He is teaching us the power of giving-away, disabling the material idols from staying in our lives.

Coming back full circle to verses 27 and 32, Solomon did not seek riches, though he was heir to the throne and son of David.  Instead he first sought wisdom from God, knowing his job and people would demand his mental prowess in ways that were beyond his current ability (2 Chronicles 1:7-13).

God took good pleasure in Solomon’s request and granted it, also giving Solomon wealth and riches and glory beyond any king before of after.  We are not all guaranteed wealth like Solomon.  He was first willing to give up riches for wisdom, because he sought a treasure in the heavens that would not fail him.

This is not a defense of a prosperity gospel, Jesus sees what an idols materials can become and consistently preaches against such things.  God will clothe and feed us, and we must seek Him.  We do this by faith, making disciples, loving our neighbor, and through prayer & The Word.