Less than Meets the Eye?

27 Aug

I grew up watching a cartoon called Transformers that came out this summer, in which the catch phrase was, “Transformers, more than meets the eyes.” It was really cool for a grade school kid. Who am I kidding it is really cool now. There is a passage in the scriptures that talks about people being “less than meets the eyes.” Not in a demeaning sense in which they are evil or corrupt but are the opposite of their outer appearance.

It says in Jeremiah 17:5 which is a poem in structure…
“Lord, Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a bush in the desert, which does not see when prosperity comes, but lives in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.”

What is so bad about being “a bush in the desert?” Moses encountered one (Genesis 3) and it resulted in the nation of Israel being set free from Egypt. Like most things in the bible a bit of the culture might clear up the picture. There are several different words for our english “bush” in Hebrew. The one used here is “Ar’ar, which sounds similar to the word for cursed (arur) and is part of a wordplay which is central to this poem.

Maybe a few pictures would clear things up…
arara_en-gedi_dig.jpgarara_opening_1.jpgarara_opening_2.jpg

In the desert when water and nutrition is at a scarcity this plant offers hope. In fact, the closer you get the better it looks. But then when you open it all you hear is a psssst, and inside, only dust. You were fooled and you are still hungry and still thirsty. This passage of scripture seems to warn us that some people are “less than meets the eye.” Maybe it is their beauty, money or status but something about them seems to be what you need. And then you throw yourself into that job, relationship, contract and all you hear is pssssst, with the only thing left in your possession being dust.

In America it is easy to put our faith in shiny things and plastic people but we will be cursed. Cursed? Strong word. Often when we think of curse we think of a figure scowling and planning our downfall. Maybe the curse is simply an observation. When we put our hope in things and people that won’t last we are bound to reap the consequences.

Here’s a book called Plastic Jesus to check out, because every once in a while Christianity is superficial.

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3 Responses to “Less than Meets the Eye?”

  1. Jennie August 27, 2007 at 8:15 pm #

    That movie was definitely worth the wait! Good thought on the bush. Sometimes in the desert of life things that may not be good for us can look so good. This is a reminder to look deeper.

  2. Mien Le August 28, 2007 at 7:55 pm #

    I think I’ve been doing that too often, especially being so far from home and coming from a church where I felt so at home, I base finding a church on the appearance. Going to Mars Hill here help me realized that just because they have a nice building and a healthy size community, it still might not fit me well. Then again, I don’t want to go around finding a church based on what they can do for me but rather how can come and bring all of me to where I am at?

    …you’re right, Christianity can be superficial once and a while.

  3. Rob August 28, 2007 at 9:24 pm #

    You might want to check out Church of the Apostle’s. Their not as polished as Mars Hill is (and set in stone theologically) but they might have the environment/feel that allows you to feel comfortable in your own skin. You can check out their website: http://www.apostleschurch.org for more info. Let me know if you check them out.

    P.S. Even though I play with a large group of people in Stockton, I miss our tennis games.

    Here are a couple other places to check out as well on the net:
    http://www.seattlequest.org/
    http://www.relevantmagazine.com/churchdirectory/church_listing.php?store_city=SEATTLE&store_state=WA

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