Ever read a scripture and thought . . . what in the world does that mean? I truly believe that all scripture is inspired, even the weird and confusing ones. I believe they all have a deeper meaning and life application, but I certainly don’t have them all figured out. There are several verses that I feel that way about. Here are a few –
Mark 14:51-52, “Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body and the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.” What is happening here?
2 Kings 2:23-24, “Then he when up from there to Bethel, and as he was going up the road some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead! So he turned around and looked at them and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.” Can you imagine? Why did this happen?
One of the verses that I’ve never fully understood is –
Proverbs 27:14, “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him.” I never understood any deep meaning in this verse beyond don’t talk loudly in the morning, and I’ll be honest – I’m a morning person, and I talk a lot in the mornings, and my husband has repeatedly been irritated with me for talking so much in the mornings. I’m the annoying person who wakes up singing to everyone in the house, but I recently I had a lightbulb moment with this verse. It’s all about motivation. Why would you loudly bless a friend in the morning, unless you were really trying to irritate him?
Let me give you an example. My son Kale is a champion antagonist to my son Keaton. I have been trying to get Kale to stop this, and he’s getting better, but he still has a long way to go. He knows just what to do to make Keaton yell and hit and inevitably get into trouble. What he is doing isn’t necessarily mean, like just smiling at him or just saying, “Hi Keaton,” but he knows his real motivation, and Keaton knows Kale’s real motivation, and it makes Keaton crazy. I feel Keaton’s pain, because my sister did the same thing to me!
When I started thinking about motivation, I remembered those scriptures about the way God judges. In Jeremiah 17:10 God says, “I, the Lord, search the heart. I test the mind.” He is the perfect judge. He goes beyond the action and tests the motivation behind the action.
Lord, purify my heart. Make my motives right. I don’t want wrong motives to cause my good works to be a waste. The most horrible ending to my life would be for Matthew 7:23 to happen to me. After a lifetime of working for the kingdom for the Lord to say “depart from me, I never knew you.” What a terrible, terrible thought. How could that happen to someone? To me? Wrong motives. Working to build man’s kingdom and not the Lord’s, working for wealth or fame or earthly rewards. Lord, judge me now, so that I can escape judgment then.
I resolve to check my motives and intentions more often, and to remember it’s not just about my actions but it’s even more about the motives behind my actions that only the Lord sees.