What are you reading right now? Please say you are reading SOMETHING right now.
Books. What an amazing way to grow and stretch and learn and expand your horizons! There have been times in my life when I’ve not had much time to enjoy them. You might know that I have five babies with not a huge spread between them. Nine years from oldest to youngest. Over a decade was so completely focused on homeschooling and raising those cherubs that reading sort of fell by the wayside.
There are always things to do. Never mind those five kids, we are animal lovers, too. When all the kiddos are home from college with the pets, there are six in the house. It’s a lot of cleaning. And cooking. And laundry.
I have missed reading and I’m determined to find ways to put books back in my life. No, it’s not my New Year’s resolution or anything. It’s more like a longing in my spirit.
I’m currently listening to Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Authors have all sorts of bias and experiences that might give them a skewed viewpoint. In fact, as I started listening, I was wondering if his lack of deeper knowledge regarding some of the people he references was going to cause the book to be a bust for me.
Thankfully, I kept listening. And I will continue to listen because the overarching themes and lessons are worthwhile. They are challenging and enlightening. Not because I didn’t know them, but because he has a unique and special way of sharing. Ways that are causing me to view things from a different perspective. New perspectives are good.
I have long told my husband and children that we have to be oh-so-careful about what we consume. Oh sure, we have to be careful with what we eat, but it’s not food about which I’m referring. Music and books and movies and even the people with which we choose to spend time profoundly affect us.
Maybe you’ve heard people say, “Yeah, but I know movies aren’t real” or “it’s just music….it doesn’t affect me.” The Rabbi pulled a story from the Bible to illustrate how even King David wasn’t exempt from the effects of poor input.
King David is referred to as a man after God’s Heart. For all his faults (and there were many) he loved God and wanted God to be pleased with him. An honorable goal, to be sure. When David became king, he did not kill all of the servants of Saul (the custom of the time), but showed grace and mercy. Mephibosheth was one such servant.
2 Samuel tells the story of David fleeing from Absalom (his crazed son). Mephibosheth was disabled and unable to flee with David. Mephibosheth’s opportunistic servant, Ziba, lied to David about why he stayed behind. David then gave Ziba all the land which was supposed to go to Mephibosheth.
After Absalom’s death, David and all the people returned. King David confronted Mephibosheth about abandoning him. Mephibosheth immediately explained himself and set the record straight.
David returned everything to Mephibosheth and sentenced Ziba to death.
That’s what should happen here, right?
David now knows the truth. The answer is EASY….punish that lying jerk, Ziba! But David can’t help but be affected by the lie he was told. Somewhere in the back of his mind he thinks, “Maybe Mephibosheth isn’t all good. Maybe Ziba didn’t really lie. Maybe I should’ve killed Mephibosheth when I took the kingdom over.”
David told Mephibosheth that the land should be split between he and Ziba. Mephibosheth was humble and kind and honest and loyal. He refused and said David’s return was all he needed. He let Ziba take the land.
Wow. On so many fronts. I think I could probably do a month’s worth of blogging on this story. A story I would have missed over and over as I read 2 Samuel.
I’ll pull just two points out of this story. One is that it matters what you allow to get into your mind. You might think that it’s just a song. Just a TV show. Just a movie. But if King David couldn’t help but be affected by something he knew to be false, you aren’t going to escape being affected either. David KNEW Mephibosheth’s character. He KNEW when Ziba told him the falsehood that it didn’t align with what he knew. He then heard the truth which aligned.
AND HE STILL COULDN’T SHAKE THE FALSEHOOD FROM HIS MIND.
The second point is a lesson for me. I’m an Orthodox Christian. Thou Shall Prosper is a business book written by a Jewish Rabbi. As I started reading, some of the people he was elevating to a place of respect are not folks I believe deserve the spot. I could have stopped reading. I’m glad I didn’t. If all I get is the changed view of the story of King David, my time has been well spent.
Tell me, what was the last book that changed your perspective? Why? How? What made you pick the book up in the first place? Did it give you something you expected or something completely different?
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