Yesterday I mentioned the importance of reading verses of Scripture in their context. Today I want to give an example of one who read the Scripture outside of the context.
I heard of a pastor who preached a sermon entitled, “Where are the Lions?” The pastor took the title from Nahum 2:11, “Where is the den of the lions?” He then used great oratorical skill to push the people in the church to use their gifts.
I can hear the sermon now, “Where are the lions? Where are the bold one? Where are the lions? Where are those who have gifts but aren’t using them? Where are the lions? Where are those who are using what God has given to them?” What a great way to creatively call the people of God to rise up and serve the Lord!
However, the only problem is that this isn’t what Nahum 2:11 means. In the context of Nahum 2, the lions are the leaders of Nineveh whom God has destroyed in his judgment of the nation. They will not arise again, because God has destroyed them.
Nineveh is like a leaky pool, whose waters are drained out (Nahum 2:8). Israel was invited to come and plunder Nineveh (Nahum 2:9) because the land lays desolate (Nahum 2:10). You have no need to fear the roaring lions of Nineveh, because they are gone (Nahum 2:11).
Using God’s word to say something other than it’s original intent is an improper use of Scripture and is dishonoring to God.