Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Daily devotions: Two by Two? - Genesis 7: 2-3

Genesis 7:2-3              Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.

‘The animals went into the ark, two by two; the elephant, giraffe, and kangaroo’ was part of a children’s song that I used to sing in Sunday school. I loved to do the actions and sounds of all the animals and could even picture them in my mind walking onto the ark in perfect pairs. Two of every kind of animal that ever existed – except that it wasn’t two at all – for some ‘clean’ animals it was fourteen in all, especially sheep and cattle. Fourteen birds of every kind were also included. ‘Two by two’ might sound great as a rhyme to the word kangaroo, but ‘seven by two’ doesn’t really fit in the song or as a picture in my mind’s eye.

This is a good example of a popular misconception of the Bible. We’ve become so used to singing ‘two by two’ and seeing pictures, drawings, cartoons, as well as movies depicting this image that we take it for granted and believe it to be correct. If we don’t read the Bible accurately, then we accept the popular misconception. If we don’t take time to study God’s Book, then we will take short cuts and believe what is currently acceptable.

This is why Gospel preachers are presently struggling with society. There are a lot of popular misconceptions and even some serious deceptions going on in Church World. If people take the Bible for granted, they’ll end up believing in anything and make up their own ideas about Jesus and God. Usually those ideas will be shaped around their own lifestyle choices. It’s far easier to live with a popular misconception than it is to live according to an unpopular biblical truth. It’s far simpler to make up ideas about God and think everything will be okay rather than actually reading His Word and accepting the robust challenges of the Gospel. ‘Two by two’ and ‘kangaroo’ are far easier to rhyme for children than ‘seven by two’ or fourteen, but when we become adults can we honestly continue to accept popular misconceptions about our faith?

Questions for personal reflection

What is the actual source of my Christian beliefs? Have I succumbed to popular misconceptions or surrendered to God’s True Word?

Prayer:             Lord Jesus, Your words are Gospel and God’s Word is Truth. Somehow we’ve managed to stop regularly reading the Bible and, in doing so, have diluted and even ‘dumbed down’ the standards of our Faith. Forgive us for such arrogance, ignorance, and foolishness. Help us to humbly turn to You as the source of all that is true as revealed through the Holy Words of the Gospel. In Your Sacred Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is John’s latest lectionary drawing called “True Vine.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link:

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