It is estimated that Shakespeare had a working vocabulary of 30,000 words; the average American has about 7,000 in his repertoire ("repertoire" is probably not included in most people's list; it means the storehouse of words that people normally draw from to use. And if you think we use more, just listen for awhile and you will realize people often express one word to mean many different things, "that's unbelievable," "Dude!", "awesome," "get me that thing." Not too creative if you ask me).
Shakespeare died in 1616, five years after the King James Version of the bible was written. So just like the large vocabulary that Shakespeare would poetically and precisely put to use; the KJV interpreters used a bit more expansive terminology and phrasing than our modern versions seem to use. As a result, you will often find very unusual phrases and words that won't normally be found in most American's daily speech. For instance, how often do you say these following phrases?
- 1 Kings 16:11- "And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.
- Deuteronomy 25:11 - When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets.
- Genesis 40:17- And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
Why not try to go to Panera and ask for some bakemeat on the side of your "Pick 2" order instead of an apple; they wont know what to think?
For me personally, there is one phrase in the old King James that has always been fascinating because I think it perfectly describes what happens to people as they grow older and not wiser. It is found in Deuteronomy 32:15:
But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
Funny words, aren't they? But think about it...this is exactly what happens to people as they consume things, buy things, accumulate things and never once give thanks to the Giver of those things. They wax fat! Wax in this sentence means to "Grow, increase in size and change from one stage to another." A waxing moon means it is getting bigger and brighter in sky, you have Q-tips because your ear accumulates wax, and a belly that drinks a lot of beer, eats a lot of french fries and snacks on Hershey's kisses clearly "waxes" fat.
All of those realities are physical in nature, but here in Deuteronomy the writer is mostly talking about the soul of a person. We all have a tendency to grow lazy, apathetic and callous if we are not responsive to God and his word. It is just normal, and we must be vigilant to keep it from happening to us. Let me show you how that happens by comparing some things we are all familiar with:
HUMAN LIFE: as a child grows up and becomes a teen, (if they have been raised by good parents), they naturally are active, adventurous, curious and wanting to try new things. As they become young adults they will have a passion to become independent thinkers and take risk. Newly married couples carry that youthful zest for life and together they dream big dreams, filled with ambition to have a nice house, a happy family, and a dog (no cats allowed!), they often are willing to eat hot dogs and baked beans just to get there. But something happens to a person around the ages of 45-50: the body starts to slow down, get sore, and it wants to sit. Dreams morph in to doubts, and ambition becomes a desire to retire and get away from it all. Risk turns into comfort, leisure and security. The man Caleb in the bible is a rare find - - you will be hard-pressed to find an 80 year old willing to fight for the promised land anymore. The battle cry of most older people is, "Give me a comfy davenport, Fox News, and a fresh supply of Vitamins and don't ask me to do anything else...I'm tired out!"
POLITICAL LIFE: A new country usually begins with a group of people wanting to explore new land: Hacking through the wilderness or risking the possibility of death & suffering through the adventure of traveling the perilous oceans. All in order to form a brand new society, "I want to be FREE!" If someone is sick, hungry or without resources; for the most part they have to rely on themselves or the small group of pilgrims they are traveling with. As they begin to grow, start farms, build houses, they slowly join in community and form alliances. The more people, the need for more services: Mayors, Judges, Police, Teachers and Doctors. A town becomes a city, cities form states, states build a nation. And as the nation grows, so do the demands of the people from that nation. Risk somehow is no longer expected from people, and security which once was the fruit of hard work becomes a demand and a right. Nations who wax fat often crumble from within...like an old rotten forest that is dying from decay or overgrown with dry tinder waiting as fuel for a forest fire. I wonder, do you think America is coming close to catching fire?
CHRISTIANITY: When God calls a person out of darkness into light, there is nothing like the fire of a new believer! "I cannot believe that God loves me and I am saved from his wrath." Usually those who are forgiven much, love much and you will see them serve, sacrifice and spread the word out of sheer joy. But, as they grow many of these same people forget that hell is still burning. Instead of worship, they begin to demand from God; grace starts to morph from "things given to me that I do not deserve" into "the freedom to do whatever I want because I am his child saved by faith alone." As Christians wax fat, they even begin to get tired of serving, "I've paid my dues - let others step up so I can go home and watch QVC." Once they would do anything without their left hand knowing what their right was doing. Now they want recognition - they want a job or title in the church that gives them significance - they want people to notice - they want the pastor to visit. And if they don't, they will find a new church that will.
Waxing fat is allowing yourself to shamelessly grow callous toward God and his amazing grace. Ask yourself today:
(1) What do you "really" deserve?
(2) Why is it so hard to serve others?
(3) What is a little bit of pain and suffering as compared to an eternity of "eternal pleasure at His right hand? (Psalm 16:11)"
I hate getting fat.