Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | August 15, 2015

August 15, 2015 “The Danger of Deconstructionism”

“The Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”   (Deuteronomy 1:21)

Good Morning and a Blessed Day Everyone!

Each day as I pray and reflect on what I might write in these posts, I give consideration as to how best to describe that which is on my heart and my mind at the time in a fashion that will effectively convey what’s going on in my thought process. Sometimes I struggle deciding just how I want to express something. Thankfully, my “toolbox” contains a treasure chest chock full of words. All of these are at my disposal, and it’s left up to me as to how to assemble them in a compelling and descriptive fashion. Even now, I am finding that this rather lengthy introduction to today’s post is not really getting to the point, but please bear with me just a bit longer.

These “tools”, (i.e. “words”), are often the combination of familiar words whose prefixes convey the opposite meaning of the original word. So let me finally get to the point and focus of today’s post.  The word in this passage that I consider to be key in today’s devotional is the word “discouraged.” It is a word with which most of us are quite familiar, and it is not difficult to discern it’s particular derivation. The prefix “dis” means “a reversing, negative force.” In this context, it is used with the word “courage”,which is defined as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” Therefore, discouragement is the reversing or negation of the ability to face difficulty, danger or pain. You most likely knew that already without my rather verbose explanation, but I do this as a matter of illustrating how one may meditate on scripture and understand even more fully just what God is saying in this verse.  

   I think there is a trap that some fall into when reading the Bible or engaging in a Bible study that is similar to a movement started in the 1960’s art community called “deconstructionism.” Instead of looking at a text and meditating on what God is saying in the text and then applying the lesson to my life, “deconstructionism” asks us to think instead on what the passage means to me. When reading the Bible, the important lesson is not what does the passage mean to me, but rather, what did the author, God, intend to say and how do I apply it to my daily living. So instead of asking ourselves “What does this verse mean to me, we should be asking “what does this verse say and how does it apply to me?”

So let’s look at today’s verse: “The Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”  It is clear that God is speaking, so what is it that God says? First of all, God reminds us that He is the God of all ages…“the God of thy fathers.” Then He says “Fear Not, neither be discouraged.” He is saying, “Don’t be afraid or succumb to the negation of your courage.” The action we should then take is the application of this command of God in our daily living. We remember who it is that we serve…the Mighty God of our fathers who has proven his power, authority, and faithfulness from age to age. Christian author Jacques Philippe writes,

“In order to resist fear and discouragement, it is necessary that through prayer – through a personal experience of God re-encountered, recognized and loved in prayer – we taste and see how good the Lord is.”

Don’t make the mistake of “deconstructionism” when it comes to Bible Study. The much more important lesson we learn is not “how do I interpret this verse” but “what did God intend to say and how should apply it to my life”? As you do so, don’t be discouraged. God will reveal it to your heart. Let’s pray!

O God of my fathers; Your truth is timeless. May the written word penetrate my heart and transform my life as my mind is renewed daily by it. Open the eyes of my heart to new understanding and application of it in all I think, say, and do. This I pray in Jesus’ great Name. Amen!

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