I can’t remember when I was introduced to this particular tool for bible study but it has become an invaluable one for me. It can be very enlightening and at times a bit uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable if the truth were told. But then God’s word has a way of shinning truth into situations that as adults we tend to want to gloss over or look at with rose colored glasses. I love wearing those rose colored glasses when I am looking at my own behavior. In my humanness I often times switch those spectacles to a magnifying glass when I have it zeroed in one someone else!
In my quiet time yesterday the focus of the devotional I was reading was in 1 and 2 Samuel. I have been reading a wonderful book “Praying the Names of God”, one day my small group may actually return to it and get it finished. But I had picked it up the other day and began reading it again.
A very dear friend, who also happens to be our Minister of Congregational Care at our church has always encouraged us to make sure that when we are reading scripture to make sure we are placing them in the proper context. For as long as I can remember she had always encourages us to make sure we take the time to ready just a bit before and just a bit after. Drinking in the entire passage and making sure we have the full flavor of what the passage means.
2 Samuel 22 is a song of raise that David pen just after begin delivered from his enemy Saul.
He praised God for being his fortress, his deliverer, his ROCK, the horn of his salvation, his stronghold, his refuge…he goes on and on praising how wonderful and thankful he is for God’s protection and for his blessings.
I continued to read on and I came to verses 21.
21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
David had a clear picture of his behavior. He knew when he was being righteous and he could also look clearly on his behavior when it was not the picture of uprightness.
As I read the words “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness” the very fist thought that came to my mind was what happens to the context of the scripture if the meaning is reversed.
Reverse paraphrasing is a unique bible study tool that can drastically put biblical principles in very clear definition. I have used it many times as I facilitated Disciple 1 last year. I also employ this technique during times when I am looking for insight during times of personal or emotional struggle.
When you take a passage of scripture and revise it, reword it in the negative or in the juxtaposing meaning it really can clearly define for you how the world acts in certain situations. It can also give you a very clear picture of places you never want to go. It can help to totally transform what it is you believe.
“The LORD has dealt with me according to my wickedness;
according to the filth of my hands he has punished me.
“The evil one has rejoiced over the choices I make;
according to the actions of my life he has taken pride in the knowledge that he has distracted me.”
When I place the juxtaposing definition in my head it really does crystallize for me the goal. I want to have that Godly vision to see my behavior as David saw his. I want to be able to say “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness” with complete confidence. However the reality of the situation is it leans more to the first example I sited.
But when I take the reverse and place it before me it really gives me a very clear road map of exactly where I do not want to go.
God’s word is so rich and so applicable to every day life.
My prayer for today and in reality it should be every day is to have the clarity of David.
To have the transparency of seeing my behavior as David saw his.
Click here to read the passage in it’s entirety.