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15 February 2008

Marty Robbins and Priestly Clothes

I was reading about Bezalel's careful creation of the priests' sacred clothing in Exodus 39 this morning, and when I got to the end of the description, I couldn't help thinking, "Wow! That's gaudy!" Although I've read this passage before, for some reason I've always had the mental image of a much simpler-looking priest ministering to God in the Tabernacle; maybe a guy in a white robe with a splash of color and some gold here and there.

But no, this "gaudy" outfit is exactly what they wore. The Biblical description of their clothes just doesn't match the image my mind has painted for me.

Recently I had the privilege of playing some old music for a senior lady's going-away luncheon at church. (Err... I mean, our church fellowship's building.) I picked out several songs, many of them being Marty Robbins tunes (he's one of my all-time favorite artists, believe it or not -- my dad loved his music and as a result I have a deep love for his music, too). One that I chose was "El Paso," one of his best-known songs.

I know it by heart, but it's a long story/ballad, and I wanted to make sure I didn't get the sections out of order. I have to tell you, I was actually shocked when I pulled up the lyrics for the song. All this time -- more than 30 years, I guess -- I've thought that the action happened at "Roses Cantina," but apparently it happened at "Rosa's Cantina!"

I'm sure that sounds a little goofy, but it was a weird realization, and I promise I'm not making this up just so I'd have a practical illustration. That situation made me wonder how often we make assumptions about what the Word of God says based on what we've heard rather than what we've read and studied for ourselves.

When I sang "El Paso" for the luncheon, I sang it with the word "Rosa's." That sounds just the same as "Roses," so for the listener there was no apparent change, but in my head I now involuntarily visualized a lady rather than a flower. Quite a difference on my end.

When we read the Word and see that it actually says something different from what we'd thought, assumed, or even been taught, how willing are we to study it, listen to it, take it to heart, make adjustments, and change our way of thinking? Our lifestyles should adjust to fall in line with the Scriptures; not the other way around.

(Click on the image above to purchase Mary Robbins' "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs" at -- it's a must-have for any music collection)


Anonymous said...

Both of my children were born "Out in the West Texas town of El Paso" and I know exactly which hill Mr. Robbins is referring.There is ony one. It is the end of the Rocky Mountain chain. New Mexico is just a stone throw away. I think it is interesting how life experiences also lend meaning to scriptures. The older I get, ah hhmmm, the rich God's word becomes.


Tony M said...

I played and sang that song a while back for my two youngest boys... Alex, I think he was 8 at the time, began to get this sad face and tear up as the song went along... but you're right, one of those that everyone should hear (and enjoy). Oh, and Alex likes the song, and no longer is outwardly saddened when hearing it...

I think I'd "heard" it as "Rose's" - not "Rosa's" but still a girl's name. I think you're absolutely right that we should be open and willing to change our viewpoints based on what God reveals through scripture, not try to make scripture fit into our mold of what we think God meant to say. When hearing someone discuss the Bible, such as a preacher or teacher, we should have our own Bible open, reading along, and should check the validity of the discourse at some point (not necessarily during the preaching/teaching, which might be considered rude and might make you miss some of it, but at some point). Not that we shouldn't trust anyone, just that we should verify what's been presented. And if what's in God's word doesn't match our existing perception, we definitely should change it (our perception; I don't mean to mark out and scribble in your Bible :).

But that's kind of what you already said, and have been hinting at throughout your blogs, eh?

Tony M said...

By the way, Bezalel was quite gifted by God, no? He will be a neat guy to meet in Heaven.

Preston N said...

So often people read the bible with many presuppositions or preconceived ideas that so often they end up hearing or reading what their presuppositions says and not what the literal text says. Ultimately it is our responsibility as "truth seekers" to make sure our theology is what the Bible states.

I especially like Tony's comments because in the end when we stand before God we will have to give an account in what we believed and if we were seeking the truth or not. Sadly, many people will not change their theology but want to adhere to their presuppositions, because in the end it will often require them to change - and as we all know change at times can be very painful.

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