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Yeshua Explored

Form and Function

todayMarch 26, 2018 7

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We are a culture totally obsessed with form, in our reverence for and even worship of, physical beauty. But those of us of a more discerning nature would look at inner beauty, the character, the personality, the function of that person, in the way that they interact with those around them. We know far more about the function than the form of most Bible characters. We know little about physical characteristics. The rare exception being a description of King David.

He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome20 features. (1 Samuel 16:12)

That’s about it. That could be describing me (in your dreams, mate!) We may not be able to paint a portrait from this sketchy description, but we could write essays about his character, his exploits, his good points and bad points. One just needs to read the Psalms that he authored, but here’s an insight into his great and practical faith: his decision to take on Goliath:

“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:36-37)

So the function of King David was his faith and trust, as well as his devotion, his poetry, recklessness, brutality … You can see where I’m going here, because the Bible paints very thorough portraits of the character of its characters, warts and all. This is because we can learn much by studying their actions just as we learn little from studying their physical appearance or circumstance.

So we have met form and function. Believe me, they are the key to thinking Hebraically. And, because we are not trained to consider things in this way, they are also the key to thinking differently.

We inhabit a world full of objects, be they people, buildings, coins, trees, even plates of quiche. In our Greek way of thinking, we concentrate on the form of these objects, their description, size, shape, cost, beauty, nutritional value, taste and so on. We tend to look at things in relation to how we personally can benefit. Can we make money out of it? Can we eat it (not advisable in the case of quiche)? Can we derive pleasure from it? Does it make our lives more comfortable?

Our perspective is always our own, whether ourselves or mankind in general. The value we attach to the objects is usually linked to how we can use them. A valuable diamond gives us joy and status but the money used to buy it could have got us a two week holiday in Barbados. But what about the true purpose of the object, its function? What is God’s plan for this object? And why should we be concentrating on God’s plans for this object? Well …

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalm 24:1)

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. (Hebrews 2:10)

Everything belongs to the Lord, from the amoeba to the blue whale, from the speck of dust to one of those sky scraping monstrosities in Dubai. Why should this be? It’s not for us to ask! We may sing of His amazing greatness, His Lordship over all, but do we truly believe this? Most current theology seems to be intent on limiting Him, putting Him into a box that we can understand and analyse, with our Greek brains. Surely He couldn’t create everything in six days (our Scientists told us so)? Surely he hasn’t the time or inclination to care for all of His and our creation? I think God is far bigger than we could ever imagine. We just need to accept this fact, by faith.

Your house may have a use as your home, but its function may be to provide shelter for an unwanted unmarried mother in your spare room. A lottery win may be spent on an endless stream of indulgences, or it can be used to finance a Christian orphanage in Kenya. Then there are chickens. Monica and I visited a small farm and looked inside a chicken coop. She was enthralled by their peculiar ways, I just made up names for them; Nuggets, Kebab, Kiev, Tikka … I, of course, was describing their function. As heartless as it may seem to some, they are just food on legs. That is their purpose, to provide us humans with protein and fat.

This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp

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