Scripture: Ezekiel 12:
26 The word of the LORD came to me: 27 "Son of man, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’
28 "Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ "
Observation: As we interpret scriptures we often read our own meanings and agendas into them.
Application: In our scripture today Ezekiel is sent by God to the people of his time to tell them that these prophecies are for them. It would be very easy for us to attach America into these warnings against Jerusalem, we could compare the rebelliousness and idolatry of that ancient culture to ourselves and see how similar we are, and then we might conclude that these same prophecies are speaking to us today. Lots of people do that in the prophetic and apocalyptic scriptures, they take what was being said about specific situations and attach them to new things.
I’m not saying that the prophecies of scripture have no meaning for us at all. Because we can certainly learn from them and be inspired, and we can surely be instructed about the nature of God. We can even go ahead and claim these ancient writings as saying something new to us today, but as we do that I think it’s important for us to be aware of the fact that we may be reading new things into the texts. There is nothing new about this, we have added to the scriptures and yes even taken away from them throughout the history of the church and I’m sure we will continue doing it as long as we exist. Furthermore I don’t see anything wrong with reading new meanings into old texts, as long as we recognize the fact that our attachments and understanding are our own and not necessarily everyone else’s.
I’ll try to give you an example of what I’m saying. A pastor of mine once went fishing and got a terrible sunburn on the top of his head. It was causing him great pain and as he was reading his daily scripture and suffering he came across John 9:1-7 Where Jesus heals a blind man by spitting on the ground and making clay and anointing his eyes with it. When he read that, he decided that God was speaking to him and telling him to do likewise for his sunburned head. He went outside, spit on the ground and made mud which he put on his sunburn, this helped the sunburn and eased the pain.
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and I’m glad that my pastor was able to find relief by applying this scripture in a new way. The point though is that just because he found new meaning and God spoke to him in a specific way through a scriptural story, doesn’t mean that we should all go outside and spit in the dirt and put the mud on all our wounds. Not unless God is speaking to your heart about it now. 🙂 The scriptures are definitely alive and meaningful, but they are also supernaturally used by God to speak to us in specific ways for our own circumstances. Just because I understand them in my own way doesn’t mean you have to understand them in the same way, and just because you understand them differently than I do doesn’t have to mean that you’re wrong and I’m right. Although you probably are and I probably am. (just kidding)
Help me to look within the scriptures and receive the messages you are giving to me through them. Help me to apply the teachings to my life in a way that is pleasing and acceptable in your sight. Forgive me when I fail to interpret the scriptures as I should and when I try harder than I should to impose my own interpretations on other people who have different understandings.