Are you TOO familiar with the bible?

August 31, 2011 — Leave a comment

Exodus 2:1-61 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.

What I have learned and heard are two of the greatest adversaries to my understanding of scripture. I’ve heard countless sermons, and was raised in flannel graph covered Sunday School rooms, listening to the familiar bible stories.

Familiarity has bred a false sense of understanding. I’ve heard it before, or read it before, and now I have to overcome what I have learned in order to see the scripture for what it is saying to me now.

Your pastor may launch into his sermon from a familiar passage and lose you the moment he begins. The reason being you have heard this story preached countless times and feel like you know it. While he is unpacking David and Goliath, you are mentally surveying your shopping list and or to-do-list.

Moses was placed into an ark prepared by his mother for his safe passage into the dangerous waters of the Nile. His sister stood off at a safe distance to see what would become of her young sibling. His mother wittingly placed him in the tall flags on the fringe of the flowing river. It was there that Pharaoh’s daughter found him and fetched him.

I’ve been guilty of glamorizing this incident, complete with raging torrents, rising rocks, and giant crocodiles. I’ve heard many messages on the flow of the river, and the stability of the ark, made for river navigation, etc.

Do you want to hear the truth? He was never placed into the flow – he was in the flags.

I didn’t see that until yesterday. Moses was never tossed in the current; he was safely bobbing in the flags.

I’ve always mentally leaped over this reading because, well, I knew it already.

That’s the problem.