I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalm 37:25
This was the psalm in last night’s Daily Office. And if you asked me when I stopped believing that the Bible was the inerrant word of God, well, it was this verse read one Sunday about four years ago.
Every time. Every. Time. I read this and I think really? Because I’ve seen people begging. I’ve seen children begging. What are you trying to tell me?
6.36 Million children died of malnutrition in our world last year. For scale, that’s as if the entire population of Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the territories died. In a single year. Any of Massachusetts, Arizona, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri or Maryland died. The entire city state of Hong Kong died, last year. From hunger.
And a literal reading of scripture would tell me that the righteous’ children don’t beg for bread. So, there would not be a single righteous person in any of those places.
I’m sorry. I don’t believe it. I won’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I’m not really sorry either.
After Gabe died, people told me to read the psalms to find comfort.
Can I just come out and say it? King David may have been a King. He may have been beloved of God. He may have been righteous in the end. He was also a whiny git.
The psalms are blood thirsty. There is none of this “God, please get this person off my back. God, please change their heart.” David wants God to wipe the evil parts of the population off the face of the earth. Almost every psalm is this horrible mix of “God they are so terrible. So mean to me. So cruel. Their presence insults you. God, please kill them.” I swear, King David is a whingey 8 year old asking his Dad to please beat up the bullies for him.
The psalms didn’t give me comfort. They left me confused. They left me annoyed. They left me frustrated. They left me feeling more alone than before. I had to piece through the psalms.
There is beauty there. There is comfort. It’s just not easy and not simple. You have to look for it.
I suppose that was the other way the scripture became less inerrant. The problem is that people who want the scripture to be inerrant want it to be easy. They don’t want to have to think about their faith, to interact and to bear responsibility.
The scriptures are a series of stories. They have an over-arching theme, but little unity. Written by different people, with different motivations. They have much to teach us.
But it’s a mistake to think of them as fast food. It’s a mistake to guzzle them down, to blindly accept.
Because there cannot be 6.3 million unrighteous children in the world.