Distractions, Part Four, Boring stuff

Boy there are a lot of distractions from the Word. I may run out of numbers eventually.


This distraction is kind of a reverse distraction. It is a distraction because it is not distracting. What I mean is, God’s message is simple. Easy to understand. Repetitive. And boring. It does not have bells and whistles, dramatic lighting, big screen TV’s, shocking YouTube videos, celebrity endorsements, titillating gossip, vampires, salacious tweets, soap opera story lines, or Oscar winning computer graphics. It’s pretty mundane on the surface. Right up until you try to do it.


I’m speaking of abiding in His Word. Doing what He says. That’s it. It’s just not enough for a Hollywood party.


Obey is the original four-letter word.


It doesn’t appear sexy, or exciting. Unless you actually try it on for size. Take His Word out for a spin and you’ll find out just how stimulating it really is. That is, if you truly intend to follow God with a whole heart of flesh.


Sabbath, for instance, is not as easy as it looks. Sounds great – just take Saturday off. No work. No chores. No sweat. But just try to do it out of love for God. You would not believe the stimulation in just resting. It goes against the world. It goes against commerce, because Saturday is a big “buying and selling” day for the unbelievers. It goes against our own natures. It looks tame, but fireworks really go off when we try to actually do what the Father says. We can feel His life flowing through us when we allow Him to write His Word on our heart with the Spirit, and actually do what Jesus did.


Or try to avoid pork and shellfish. Think it’s just another diet gimmick? Try it and you’ll think again. You will be amazed at the tremendous amount of this trash in a worldly meal you didn’t know was there. When love for God drives you to eat His body and drink His blood (His Word and will) instead, it charges up your walk with energy from the Spirit you didn’t know you had at your disposal. It’s like removing sticks from a dam across the flow of a stream. Soon the dam gives way and all that pent up power can move through your soul.


His feasts (Leviticus 23) are beautifully timed to regenerate your enthusiasm and bring biblical teachings right into your living room. The reality of His grace, mercy and justice is driven home with concrete practices right from His heart to yours. We remember the past, remind ourselves of His presence and promises while teaching our children about them, and reinforce hope for our future deliverance. What a blast. We are invited to regular parties by the King of Kings, and He really knows how to throw a bash. Get high on the Spirit with no hangover. And you remember every detail.


On the surface, viewed with a heart of stone, His Word can appear boring. The benefits are hidden to those who are so easily distracted by the ear-tickling shiny baubles of emotional detours. Try following every part of His living oracles as much as you can, however, and that’s when the excitement truly begins. If His Word appears boring, perhaps it’s not the Word that is the problem at all.

Distractions Part Three, Names

This distraction is sort of a part of the “Hebrew only” distraction I talked about earlier. A section of people who are trying to follow Torah (the Law) as part of their walk with Jesus don’t like to use the name Jesus. They prefer the Hebrew version, Yeshua. But how much of this is a desire to honor God, and how much is simply pretentious?


On the one hand, it is right to call someone by their correct name. I get called Bert every once in a while and I correct the speaker right away. We all do this. So it makes sense to try and call Jesus by His “correct” name. Problem is, He’s got a lot of “correct” names, names which are also titles, and His names also are translated into different languages.


Yeshua is a variant of Yehoshua (Joshua) and means “YHWH saves” or “YHWH is salvation.” Jesus is the English version of the Greek transliteration (probably from Yeshua) Iesous (ee ay sooce). Many times a word or name in one language is hard to say in another language. For instance, in Judges 12:5-6 the word Shibboleth was used to find people of Ephraim who couldn’t enunciate the ‘h’ and said Sibboleth instead. Japanese people (or maybe Asians in general) have a hard time with the letter ‘L’ and say ‘R’ instead. Sometimes a name or word has to be translated because of pronunciation difficulties. After all, we are still suffering from the effects of the confusing of languages at the Tower of Babel. My last name is in a British form, but it also has a Spanish form, a French form, and I’m sure there are others too.


Jesus has many names and titles. He liked “the Son of Man” (85 times in the gospels) as a title or description Himself (used quite a bit for Ezekiel). When He comes back, He will have a name no one knows.


His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. (Revelation 19:12, ESV)


We are going to get a new name eventually too. One that means something instead of just a collection of sounds as most modern names are.


He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’ (Revelation 2:17, ESV)


I prefer to use words that other people can understand. Names are important, but sometimes we make a big deal out of them for reasons other than communicating a Bible message. If I had to pick another name for Jesus, I prefer Immanuel which means “God with us,” because it is used fewer times (so is more unique) and only for the Messiah in the Bible. It is also a direct pronunciation (im maw noo ale) for the Hebrew. Jesus is not a bad name, it’s just a different form for Yeshua. As Paul said, “I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19). This applies to other thinks too, such as the name of Jesus.