You know, it's one thing to take a verse out of context.
It's a whole other thing to completely misread it.
I had this happen the other day. This year I'm reading through the Bible using The Chronological Bible. It's been very interesting reading Scripture in *real-time*. And one of the things I do is keep a quiet-time journal. In this journal, I write a verse or two that really struck me that particular day.
So, on Monday, I found myself in the book of 1 Kings – reading the very exciting story of Elijah facing off against the priests of Baal. And the verse that stood out to me was 1 Kings 18:21.
But when I copied this verse into my journal, I miswrote one of the words. This is how I wrote it (from the NLT translation):
"How much longer will you waver, hovering between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him!"
But then I looked again and realized I had made a mistake. It does NOT say *hovering* between two opinions – it says *hobbling*.
(Interesting sidenote: The ESV says "limping" – the KJV says "halt" – the NASB says "hesitate")
Upon my first reading of this verse, I had in my mind a picture of myself hovering. Kinda circling around two opinions. Yes, I believe that the LORD is God, but I sorta hover over still trying to control my own life.
When I saw that the word was actually *hobbling* – it kinda stopped me.
Let’s go to the dictionary first:
HOVER - To remain suspended over a place or object; to move to and fro near a place; to fluctuate around a given point
HOBBLE - To walk or move along haltingly or with difficulty
You see, hobbling is something that is done to a horse or a person for a very specific reason:
A hobble is a device that prevents or limits the locomotion of a human or an animal, by tethering one or more legs.
You see, when I read what I thought I read, I had this idea that it was just harmless hovering that Elijah was talking about. Sorta innocent waffling, being a little wishy-washy, just kinda hanging around, a little unsure about trusting.
I thought I was just a hummingbird hovering around two opinions.
I am a completely grounded dodo bird, crippled and tethered to my unbelief.
Wavering between trusting God and having complete allegiance to Him – or not – is not without consequence.
I will be impeded, thwarted, stymied in my walk with the Lord if I don't stop WAVERING!!
My walk of faith will become a measly shriveled crippled thing.
This is how that Scripture truly reads (and I happen to believe that Elijah shouted this to all the people present on that mountaintop):
"How much longer will you waver, HOBBLING between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him!"
I read in this verse a conviction, a command, and a courageous stand. YES, I choose God – and that means I choose to follow Him, NO MATTER WHAT!
Joshua said it this way:
"But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve…But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
There's something else that happened on this day in Elijah's life. It's the rest of that verse – it's the reaction of the people:
"But the people were completely silent."
How pathetic. How sad. What a terrible loss…
So, today I am putting myself up on that mountain with ol' Elijah. And when he shouts out his words, and the crowd stands silent, I am standing up on singularly un-hobbled legs and shouting back to him…(please picture me with an upraised fist):
"Count me in, Elijah! Today I choose God, and I will follow and serve Him with my whole heart!"
Lord, rain down on me fire from heaven –
Let me run like a spiritual thoroughbred!!
What are the things that hobble you in your walk of faith?
Linked today with Joan at the GRACE CAFE
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"