i'm an english nerd. when i read through scripture i adore looking for repetitions, foreshadowings, and intriguing adjectives. i soak in the tantalizing examples of lives of faith expressed through spirit filled fearlessness, and the eloquently fashioned poetry of the entire book leaves me simultaneously satisfied and still thirsting for more. very often than i am allured into spiraling daydreams as to the purposes of each delicious, purposeful word articulated through the inspired writers of the book of truth. oh how i love to read this love letter known as the holy scriptures.
my palette was first teased, (as i shared in previous posts) by the gorgeous poetry found in the song of songs. i have never, in all my life, heard or read such romantic lyrics as those found in this 8 chapter poem. descriptions of beauty give full-bodied shape to the poem and my soul is intoxicated by stanzas like these:
"while the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance."
"do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."
your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue."
"place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
it burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away."
how can one not even be the least bit curious to read the scriptures when it is filled with words like this? perhaps it is because we are people that demand facts and statistics. but even this is an unimpressive reason. i believe it is something much deeper, i believe that we cease to indulge in scriptures because we are absolutely terrified of a little bit of mystery and because in scripture, there is no room for reasoning.
over the last year or so of reading stories found throughout all 66 books of the bible i have been repeatedly paused over one tiny three lettered word. "b-u-t". though i will never count all of the times this pin needled utterance is used, i wonder if it isn't one of the most commonly written expressions; i bet it is. the technicality of these three letters are seemingly insignificant. however, when you dress them in the infinite purpose of scripture their significance is exponentially magnified. but demands grace. but leads to salvation. but exemplifies hope. but is the life-vest of sanctification, the lowered basket of healing, the very breath of life. but is the exception, the multi-faceted jewel of an enchantingly redeemed world.
webster defines this reading speed-bump with other expressions like these: "exception, save, only, just". and in moments of depravity, the word offers life, hope, and sovereignty. in similar fashion to the ways in which my soul is ravished by the poetry of the song of songs, so too i am undone by the monstrosity of the ways scripture utilizes this word. if i were to highlight all of the moments when "but" magnifies the dazzling hope that is christ in the midst of darkness, it would take a lifetime to complete. so i will feed the minds of each reader of this blog by pointing out a few of the bountiful examples that this word is used. may it, by the grace of christ and the movement of the holy spirit, cause you to crave, seek, and passionately pursue a life of knowing god more fully.
"after many days had gone by, the jews conspired to kill him (saul)
BUT saul learned of their plan."
"BUT, god was with him and rescued him from all his troubles."
"therefore do not be foolish, BUT understand what the lord's will is."
"for i hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side... BUT
i trust in you, o lord."
"BUT god demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we
were still sinners, christ died for us."
"BUT, where sin increased, grace increased all the more."