Need some advice.....

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Scarlett O., Oct 15, 2005.

  1. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    ....I have been teaching the senior adult women in Sunday School for 9 years. Even though I am only 44, these women meant alot to me as when I was a child and young person. They were my teachers and mentors. And now I am privileged to be their teacher.

    Anyway...when I started teach the class, they already had a habit of closing the class by standing in a circle, holding hands, and saying in unison, "May the Lord watch between thee and me while we are absent one from another."

    Well, that's nice.

    But it's really not.

    That verse is found in Genesis 31:49. It's Laban talking to Jacob when Jacob was running away from him.

    Jacob makes his casing for running and Laban relunctantly allows him to leave with his daughters, flocks, etc....

    But he leaves Jacob with this final thought. "If you abuse my daughters in any way at all or my grandchildren, I may not know about it but God will. May God keep watch over you while we apart and I can't keep an eye on you and how you treat my family. God is watching you, Jacob."

    It's not a blessing or a prayer. It's a curse.

    We are reciting a curse at the end of my Sunday School hour every week.

    These ladies have recited it as a blessing every week for longer than I have been in there. And they mean it in sincere recitation of a blessing.

    But it isn't a blessing. Not at all.

    Should I tell them the origin of the verse and change what we say? This option would hurt their feelings, I just know it.

    Should I just forget it and allow their misguided and uninformed "interpretation" to stand?

    This really bugs me and has bugged me for a long time and I have never mentioned it to anyone.

    Sorry to bring such a trivial thread to you, but it drives me crazy and I guess what I really need is for someone to tell me to just roll with the punches and move on to something more spiritually substantial.

    Peace-
    Scarlett O.
    <><
     
  2. Rachel

    Rachel
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    Scarlett how about doing the next lesson on those verses? Then change the prayer or blessing for now on.

    If it was me I would have said something a long time ago.
     
  3. donnA

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    I think I'm with Rachel, not sure I would let a misinterpetation continue in my class. And as teacher it is your responsability.
     
  4. Gayla

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    I agree about teaching the portion of scripture, then changing the prayer.

    Maybe even be prepared with a more appropriate prayer/blessing.
     
  5. Karen

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    In my opinion, I would let it stand, at least until I was REaaally sure my interpretation was correct.
    Maybe it really isn't a curse as much as an exhortation.
    For example, I recently talked on the phone to my child away at school. I always admonish and give advice in all kinds of ways as well as tell him I love him. But I would not call it a curse to remind someone that God is watching and to behave yourself.
    Reading it again tonight, Laban was perhaps not cursing Jacob; he was reminding him of truth about God. Laban was also expressing fatherly concern for his daughters he might never see again.
    It is appropriate for fellow Christians to remind each other of God's watch care over us.

    Karen
     
  6. Thankful

    Thankful
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    Two out of six of our study references state that it is a curse and not a blessing. The others do not address this verse; however, these women are using it as a blessing and I think they would be devastated to discover that they have been using a curse when they were speaking well of each other.

    Could you somehow change the tradition without telling them why. Perhaps, suggest they pray or use another verse such as

    The Lord bless you and keep you;
    the Lord make his face to shine
    upon you, and be gracious to you;
    the Lord lift up his countenance
    upon you, and give you peace."
    Numbers 6:24-26


    Or ask each one to recite their favorite verse each week. Try something different and then maybe later on you could have the lesson about the verse when they would not be embarrassed that they didn't know the meaning.

    Perhaps visit with your pastor?
     
  7. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I think Karen has a point. Myabe it is not a curse but an accountability statement.
    We are and should be accountable to each other.

    But if it bothers you that bad, teach it from that angle. Approach it that this verse teaches we are accountable to God, and that God is watching.

    Teach it and let the Holy Spirit open their eyes. You may even see that some open up and say, "Hey that is not a blessing"
     
  8. donnA

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    Gen 31:
    24But God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.”


    29It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’

    48And Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me this day.” Therefore its name was called Galeed, 49also Mizpah,£ because he said, “May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from another. 50If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us—see, God is witness between you and me!”


    God told Laban not to speak good or bad against Jacob, apparently Laban intended to do as God had said because he repeated it to Jacob. I don't think it is a curse or a blessing, but more neutral.
    They took stones and piled them up to make a covenant. Jacob agreed tot eh covenant because he took stones and made the pile of stones also.


    44Now therefore, come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.”
    45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46Then Jacob said to his brethren, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap. 47Laban called it £Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it £Galeed.


    Why would Jacob agree to a covenant that was a curse to him?
    It is a covenant agreeing to friendship(even if a shaky one),and saying God will judge between us, leaving the whole thing in God's hands.
    I think it is more neutral then a curse or blessing.
    I think if I were you I'd put some more study into it and even apeak to the pastor before I did anything.
     
  9. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    Thanks folks for everyone's input. I really appreciate it.

    I think for right now that I will talk to my pastor about it before I decide to say anything or not.

    Peace-
    Scarlett O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  10. Humblesmith

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    I'm sorry, but I don't see the connection. Are you sure that's where they got this short prayer? Did they say that's where they got it from? or is it just something that sounds similar?

    Even if they did, this is not the application that they're using it. If I say "Come over to my house tonight" I could mean it for ill or for good. Repeating the same words in another context does not necessarily have the same meaning.

    Respectfully, I think the issue is overblown.
     
  11. Johnv

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    Scarlett, do you know for sure that this blessing is actually from Genesis 31? Or is it possibly a concidental resemblence? I suspect it might be coincidental, and if that's the case, then I as a teacher would have no problem with is remaining.
     
  12. Scarlett O.

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    Genesis 31:49 - "....and he (Laban) said, "The LORD watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another." KJV
    ........................................

    Sunday School closing - "May the Lord watch between thee and me while we are absent one from another."

    The closing is the same verse. And I have heard it all of my life used as closings for various occassions.

    It wasn't until I began teaching the class that I decided to look up the verse and found it's meaning.

    I probably won't say anything to these ladies in the way of pointing out any negativity on the part of the closing. You have to be really careful with old people. Especially ones that you care about very much.

    I'm still mulling all of this over. Thanks again for the input.

    I may, indeed, be making a mountain out of a molehilll. That why I asked the general BB.

    Peace-
    Scarlett O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  13. Johnv

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    IMO, if they use it as a blessing, then it's a blessing. They're clearly not using it in the OT context. No reason, imo, to ban its use as you described. In fact, I submit that banning it based solely on missing context may be tantamount to scripture worship.
     
  14. Scarlett O.

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    Hmmm...scripture worship. I never thought about that.
     
  15. Johnv

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    I've been admittedly guilty of that from time to time.
     
  16. ccrobinson

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    Scarlett, have you considered that maybe they really don't like each other very much and know exactly the context of what they're saying? ;) :D
     
  17. TexasSky

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    How about you accept the fact that the women don't mean it with hostility, whether Laban did or not, and that when they pray it, they are praying it as a blessing.

    Don't apply meaning to their words that they do not mean. Just because Laban used it as a curse does NOT mean that the phrase is a curse.

    I wouldn't even bring it up for fear of offending the dear ladies needlessly. If I DID bring it up, I would approach it from, "How wonderful that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, for the curse Laban gave is now a blessing shared by Christians."
     
  18. TexasSky

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    One other thought - I think the word "curse" is wrongly applied anyway.

    Yes, Laban was reminding Jacob that God was watching him. Since when is God watching you a curse?
     
  19. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Fortunately, they love each other very much and me, too much! They are very good to me.

    Peace-
    S.O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  20. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    Well, when I read it, it sounded like he was so angry and I read in a couple of Bible commentaries that it was a curse.

    But Bible commentaries are just mortal people's opinions, I know that.

    Peace-
    S.O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     

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