Sunday, January 17, 2010

Are you sure that's in the Bible?

Last week's "million missing facts" theme here at Inkwell Inspirations got me thinking about all those "missing" or hidden, facts in the most popular book of all time, the Bible.
Have you ever been reading along, happily stumbling through some obscure section of the Old Testament (you know, those places where your pages are still stuck together?) and happened across something so strange you find it hard to believe it's in there?
Food (well, maybe appetizers) for thought from the Bible today...
  • God told Isaiah to walk around buck naked for three years as a sign to the people. (Isaiah 20:2-3) And what was that little thing God asked you to do that you said was "too embarrassing?"
  • Ezekiel was instructed to lie on his left side for 390 days, then on his right side for 40 days. (Ezekiel 4:4-6) He was cool with that, but when the Lord told him to cook his meals over a fire made from human dung, he begged for mercy and got cow chips instead. Hmm ... suppose that's anything like mesquite-grilled? (Ezekiel 4:12-16)
  • When God blows His nose, watch out! He turned the Red Sea into Jello (or holy snot?) with one blast of his nostrils. (Exodus 15:8)
  • Rachel was willing to trade a night with her husband Jacob for some mandrake root her nephew gathered. According to a legend included in the writings of Jewish historian Josephus, the root, which formed human-like shapes (kind of like potatoes) was said to scream when it was dug up, and the scream would kill anyone who heard it. Also known as Satan's apple, if ingested, mandrake is a sedative, a hallucinogen and an anesthetic. Also used as a laxative. A valuable herb, references to mandrake appear in music and literature from Shakespeare through Harry Potter, to a song by Deep Purple. (Genesis 30:15-16)
  • Moses married an Ethiopian woman, and the interracial marriage stirred up dissension with his sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron. (Numbers 12:1)
  • The six pots of water Jesus turned into wine at the wedding in Cana held between 20 and 30 gallons each (John 2:1-11 Amplified). That's somewhere between 120-180 gallons of wine. In addition to what the wedding party had already consumed. I bet they would have liked the idea of a cash bar at those receptions!

  • The inhabitants of the isle of Crete were known as "always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." Paul confirms this nasty rumor in Titus 1:12-13, writing to the young church leader he'd left there to evangelize the island. The other thing Cretans were known for? Bull riding, or bull fighting. In fact, the Greek myth of the Minotaur and Theseus in the labyrinth, hails from the isle of Crete. Sounds like the Wild West, doesn't it?

  • Sweating blood, as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44), is an actual physical condition called hematidrosis, which occurs when an individual experiences such intense physical, mental, and emotional pressure the capillaries just below the surface of the skin burst and blood seeps through the pores. I will not say "I'm stressed out" anymore.
There's so much scriptural wealth and wisdom we've yet to discover. Dig into your Bible today and discover some of those missing facts for yourself! The next time someone says, "The Bible is boring!" you'll be ready to tell them just how interesting the Word of God can be.

Goofy question: What are pastors called in Germany?

ANSWER: German shepherds.
March brings our first reader-suggested theme: March Mashness. The idea is to combine two things that don't seem to go together, like Elijah and washing machines, ice cream and concrete, puppies and jackhammers... you get the idea. It's going to be fun, crazy, and challenging, but to do it right, we need your help. We want your mash-up suggestions. You can use people, places, things, concepts... the only real limit is your imagination. The ones that spark our creative flames will be used during the theme week. Please leave a comment on this post (just click on the word "comments" below. A new window will pop up for you to comment in) and share your wildest combinations!
Niki Turner
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  1. Niki, Niki, Niki...nothing is as strange as the truth.

    I've been told my WIP has a gothic feel to it. Hmmm. It got me thinking... Didn't Lazarus rise from the dead wearing graveclothes ala cheesecloth wrapped mummies? Hmmmm.

    And those pigs that became inhabited by demons and threw themselves into the sea?

    Does this stuff fit the acceptable limits in CBA publishing these days? That bible would never get published today if it wasn't "grandfathered" in.

  2. Niki, what a fascinating article!
    Perfect for me to read before teaching 3rd and 4th grade Sunday Schoolers about God hardening Pharoah's heart and the miraculous usage of a stick, leprosy, and water-to-blood to demonstrate God's power!

    Have a wonderful Sabbath!

  3. Deb, you are SO right about the guidelines and the Bible. Not to mention the violence, the illicit sex, talking animals, and a drunken and naked Noah passed out in his tent. Oh my!
    And since Lazarus had to be unbound, and the feet were usually wrapped together, did he HOP out of the tomb? What a visual!

    Patti, have fun with those little ones today! Anytime you can throw some bodily functions into a lesson it seems to hold their attention. So... if God congealed the Red Sea, then Pharaoh and his army were drowned in God-snot? The weapons of our warfare...
    Blessings to you both today!

  4. Hey Niki,
    You're on a roll. :)You said:God told Isaiah to walk around buck naked for three years as a sign to the people. (Isaiah 20:2-3) And what was that little thing God asked you to do that you said was "too embarrassing?"

    I can't imagine. Can you? Today we'd be locked up and they'd probably throw away the key. Plus, I dont' think we could get away with it for three years and restraints and antipsychotic meds would most likely be utilized. How did he do that?

    I'd call this post more than creative. It's a "think about" post. Really, if you think about these things you've written it is almost incomprehensible. I bet there's a lot of folks out there that didn't know the mandrake scene in Harry Potter actually came from a story in the Bible.

    Anyone who says our writing is pushing the envelope should open their Bible. :)
    Have an awesome day!

  5. Very interesting post, Niki. Great idea to link it to our theme this week.

    No, the Bible would never make the CBA guidelines. Ha ha.

    One of the facts I find amazing is that Abraham and Sarash were half brother and sister.

    This week Pat Robertson got himself in big trouble by being too forthright about what he thought happened in Haiti. As I listened to the ladies on the View rake him over the coals, I couldn't help but think they would have really hated Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah. Talk about politically incorrect!

  6. Interesting stuff! Thanks for posting it. And yes, I agree, I will not say I am stressed out anymore!

  7. This post cracked me up. And I totally bit for your joke :-) My kids loved it.

    Today my husband preached about the Miracle at Cana and made the same point about the amount of fine wine. That's a LOT of wine. Whew!

    When I first read Judges and learned about Ehud stabbing a king who was so fat that his blubber covered over the sword, I was a bit grossed out. And the king lay dead a while because everyone thought he was taking a very long bathroom break. The Bible is full of "things that make you go hmm."

  8. Jill, I can't begin to express how GRATEFUL I am that God hasn't told me (or my husband) to go naked... at least he lived in a warmer climate! : )

    Dina, not only were Sarah and Abraham half-sibs, he GAVE her to someone else as a concubine to save his own skin! How do you forgive your husband for something like that?

    Karen, ME TOO! It's awfully hard to go grumbling to God about being stressed out when you think about Jesus in the Garden!

    Susie, I'm so glad my German shepherd joke was a blessing to someone! : )
    The story of Ehud is one of those ones you read over and over again before you realize it's actually saying what you think it is... really, really fat dude. Gross.
    And there are more bathroom references! David cut off the end of Saul's robe while was taking a potty break in the cave where David was hiding. And when Elijah is mocking the Baal worshipers, he says "Where's your god? Maybe he's in the bathroom!"
    Does that sound like something a prophet would say? : )
    I've obviously made up too many lessons for youth and children's church over the last 11-1/2 years of ministry! I keep thinking of more and more things... like the madman of Gadara... maybe I'll save that for a later post!
    : )

    Thanks for all the comments, ladies!

  9. It's these very "imperfections" in the Bible that make you realize it's true. I mean, seriously, who would make this stuff up?

    And as for the favorite all time joke is, "Jesus turned the water into wine at the feast of Cana, and the Baptists have been trying to turn it back ever since."

    So says Dina, the wife of a Southern Baptist minister :)

  10. Great post, Niki. You had me chuckling.

    Funny how no matter how long you've been reading the Bible, you can always come across soemthing that you never read before.

  11. Oh, Niki, this was such a fun post. Thanks for all of the interesting facts. I really enjoyed this. And I enjoyed all the comments everyone made, too. Just the thing to cheer up the end of what has been a very strange weekend.

  12. Niki, I can't tell you how much I needed this. God is so Big and wild and wonderful! Not at all the entity we try to shove into a box of our devising. It reminds me of one of the Narnia books, where Aslan reminds the children that he is not a tame lion.

    Thanks for the chuckle and for the reminder.


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