Many people not only wish they could put Yahweh into a box – one of their own conceptions and limitations – they have actually, on a personal level, succeeded!
The Faith Box
James 2:26 – “Faith without actions is dead.”
We’ve all heard the story of the man who was clinging to the roof of his house, or onto a tree, during a flood. A rescuer in a canoe came by: it wasn’t the way the man had conceived how Yahweh would save him, so he declined the salvation offer. Then a rescuer in a boat came by: same reaction. Then a helicopter: again, offer declined. Eventually, the man drowned and says to Yahweh: “I had faith in you, but you didn’t save me; you let me drown. I don’t understand why!” To which Yahweh replies: “I sent you a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter; what more did you expect?”
The Faulty Assumption:
The man was expecting a supernatural rescue and had thus put Yahweh into a box. How many followers of Yeshua have done the same and put Yahweh in a box? However, Yahweh will not climb into man’s preconceived box. If one does, then like the man who was unable to be rescued – whose faith did not result in action – a simple, easy action of climbing into one of the devices Yahweh sent to reach and save him, neither will your faith alone be sufficient. Faith without action is dead faith.
The Music Box
Isaiah 42:18 – “Listen, you deaf! Look, you blind!”
Isaiah 42:23 – “Which of you will listen to this? Who will hear and give heed?”
Mr. Holland’s Opus is a 1995 film starring Richard Dreyfuss as Glenn Holland, a high-school music teacher; Olympia Dukakis as Principal Helen Jacobs, and William H. Macy as Vice Principal Gene Wolters.
Gene Wolters, who believes that Holland should be pushing the classics – Brahms, Mozart, and Stravinsky – one day hears loud rock and roll music coming from Mr. Holland’s classroom and promptly calls him on the carpet to question why he isn’t using classical music for his lessons. Principal Helen Jacobs asks what she “can tell the school board,” some of whom believe that Rock and Roll is the music of the devil, and Holland replies: “Mrs. Jacobs, you tell them that I am teaching music, and that I will use anything from Beethoven to Billie Holiday to rock and roll if I think it’ll help me teach a student to love music.” Helen Jacobs replies: “That’s a reasonable answer, Mr. Holland. I can tell them that.”
Many people assume that one or more genres of music is the music of the devil – and will only listen to Country, Jazz, Opera, you name it. And what about those folks who will only attend a Church service if hymns are played on an organ – none of those contemporary songs for them. Each of these groups is putting music in a box – one of their own conceptions and limitations. Every music style, even Rock and Roll, has artists that play songs with a Biblical theme or message. I will deal with this more thoroughly in the next article titled: Yahweh Outside the Box.
The Faulty Assumption:
Gene Wolters wanted to put Glenn Holland in a box. Fortunately, a wise Helen Jacobs does not permit that to happen. The same goes for music today. Many still only want hymns played on the organ, or will only listen to a certain type of music. This puts music in a box, just as many want to put Yahweh in a box.
The Bible Box
Isaiah 6:10 – “Make the heart of this people calloused, stop up their ears, and shut their eyes.”
The Bible box that many want Yahweh to climb into takes many forms. Here are three of them:
- The One Translation only box. The KJV people believe Yahweh only speaks to the world via the “pure” word of the 1611 version. This is their box. This same attitude exists for the people who only use the NASB, or only the NRSV, or only the [pick a favorite translation]. Pretty sure Yahweh never climbed into any of those boxes!
- Another popular box is what I call the Minimal Canon box. This box only has 66 books in it. No other source for receiving the Word from Yahweh is permitted to enter their eyes, ears, minds, or hearts. All other books or texts are considered unreliable and are to be rejected. Pretty sure Yahweh never climbed into that box, either!
- The box I call the Maximal Canon box may have up to 80 or more texts but is still a box into which many want Yahweh to crawl. Again, no other source for receiving the Word from Yahweh is permitted to enter their eyes, ears, minds, or hearts. And again, pretty sure Yahweh never climbed into that box either, and never will!
The Faulty Assumption:
Acts 2:17 – “I will pour out from my Spirit upon everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
Each of the above Bible boxes formed by man has tried to put Yahweh into a box – to be a limiting power as to when, where, and how Yahweh can speak or reach people with his Word. However, Yahweh will not limit himself to man’s conceptions and limitations. Yahweh did not climb into any of those boxes, and never will! He is full of surprises, and will once again use dreams and visions to reach those who will listen, who will not limit him to a box of a set number of writings.
The Faulty Box Method
1 Corinthians 2:9 – “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no one’s heart has imagined all the things that Yahweh has prepared for those who love him.”
So, how do the various methods of trying to box Yahweh in agree with the Bible? Not well! Not well, at all:
- Jobs friends made a marvelous effort to put Yahweh, and Job too, in a box. Yahweh set the record straight.
- In the past, Yahweh spoke in “various ways to our ancestors through the prophets” and in the time of Yeshua’s walking on the earth, “Yahweh spoke to us in a son,” Yeshua himself (Hebrews 1:1-2). Yahweh didn’t place all his words in just one person, as it were, all his eggs in the same basket, or “box”!
- Torah was delivered by angels (Acts 7:53), and the entire Yahweh-breathed Newer Covenant scriptures came through many who were inspired to write down the words. Yahweh used many different individuals to get his Word out. Again, not just one “box.”
- Every creature in heaven and on earth, under the earth and on the sea gives him praise (Revelation 5:13). Yahweh even uses animals, birds, fish, and every human and non-human life form to praise him. No single “box” here.
- The heavens declare the glory of Yahweh, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork (Psalm 19:1) Oh, so not only does the written word declare Yahweh’s glory, so do the heavens and the sky! Try putting an ever-expanding heaven in a “box” – can’t be done.
- Even if all the above were quiet, the stones themselves would cry out (Luke 19:40). And believe me, the stones have been crying out loud and clear since even before the nation of Israel was re-established in 1948, but since then, the cry has been deafening. Not one archaeological discovery has negated what the Bible teaches and has only contributed to our knowledge of the scriptures.
Being Mr. Holland
1 Corinthians 12:28 – “And Yahweh has placed in the community . . . those who speak in various tongues.”
Bible translators know that it is impossible to bring an understanding of Yahweh’s word to indigenous people until one first understands their culture. The culture determines what words and concepts one uses in their translation to properly convey the message. The translators cannot stay in one of the traditional Bible Boxes and expect to make an impact. Neither can we unless we merely want to preach to the choir. And given the state of the choir today – either sleeping, comatose, or just plain dead – it’s time to let Yahweh out of our preconceived, limiting boxes, and like Mr. Holland, use any and all resources we have to teach Yahweh’s Word. Your limited way of receiving Yahweh’s instruction may not be another’s.
1 Samuel 23:7 – “He has boxed himself into a corner.”
David, according to Saul, had boxed himself in. Stop trying to put Yahweh into a box, – to put Yahweh into a box built upon conceptions and limitations. Any box one tries to put Yahweh into disagrees with scripture, which clearly says that Yahweh is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, whose thoughts cannot be contained, who dwells in unapproachable light, and who is full of surprises! You really think you can put him in a box? You must be reading some other Bible than the one Yahweh has given us. It’s time to let Yahweh out of those preconceived and limiting boxes and let Yahweh use whatever method he desires to teach you and others about himself.