Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Babbling Brook

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? “For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” Acts 17: 16-20.

Some sneered … some believed. Some things never change.

Do you know anyone that is a bit of a babbler? For me a number of people potentially come to mind … sometimes myself included. A close pastor friend once referred to me as conversationalist, which is a nice way of saying: babbler. In the verse above, they are referring to the apostle Paul as a babbler … so is that a good or a bad thing? In Paul’s case, he was provoked due to the evil around him, and he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection endlessly in the market place every day. Was this good? Of course it was. But make no mistake; if we stand up for the truth of the Bible we will be considered a babbler by many. Talk of Christ resurrected, the miracles of the Bible, the Rapture, prophecy, the foolishness of evolution and global warming, challenging false teachings and religions will always be viewed by some as babble. We must stand for Christ!

Let’s look deeper into the word to better understand how God would want us to be more like Paul. Here are some ways babble is defined: to utter words, sounds, etc. in an incoherent or indistinct jumble; to talk foolishly, incessantly, or irrelevantly; to disclose secrets, or confidences, carelessly or impulsively; the sound of a bubbling stream, or birds in the trees. This is where we get the phrase: babbling brook.

Everyone knows the story of the tower of Babel. The people’s languages were confused by God because they were becoming too smart for their own good. And when they could not understand each other, they scattered. “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech. … Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11: 7, 9.

Paul describes the resulting dilemma; “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” And; “But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp?” 1 Corinthians 14: 6-7.

Do you know a person who babbles on and on when you get them on the phone? The most modern forms of babble are email, twitter, and facebook. I get a hundred pieces of email each day. There are currently 5,850 emails in my inbox from past year and those are the ones I didn’t just automatically delete. I only try to forward those that will give something of value or laughter to others. For me facebook is a major source of babble and shallowness. But on the other hand, facebook is being used by many to accomplish great things. This is the challenge. One person’s passion or livelihood is babble to others.

Some sneered … some believed. Some things never change.

When we look at the Paul’s supposed babbling in Athens we see; “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” So Paul went out of their midst, but some men joined him and believed. Talk of Christ resurrected, miracles of the Bible, the Rapture, prophecy, the foolishness of evolution and global warming, and false religions will always be viewed by many as babble.

The same was true for Peter and John when they preached the gospel and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and only one way to salvation. Arrested as babblers, even though they gained many followers, they were eventually released … and said, “O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? ‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’

So there is obviously both good and foolish babble. The fact is that the more we give witness of God’s Word, the more we will be viewed as a babbler by those who do not understand, and those who have rejected God’s Word, and those who have chosen political correctness. PC is another way of describing those who have chosen to unconsciously accept the teachings and philosophies of the world in order to be accepted and to not offend others. And of course to not be considered a babbler. When my Christian friend said to me “okie dokie” this past week, he was in effect writing me off as a babbler. I am sure many others will send this post to the trash when they receive it as so much babble. Most not telling me this because they want to be politically correct and not offend me or anyone else. For the same reason, many who have accepted the gospel won’t forward posts with spiritual or political content.

Some sneered … some believed. Some things never change.

In conclusion, I hope to be viewed like Paul, as a babbler for Christ. Anyone who has ever sat with a pole along the banks of a babbling brook, stream, or waterfall and listened to the peaceful sounds of the water flowing over the rocks knows that all babble is not useless noise. Like a babbling brook or good jazz that captures and relaxes the mind … some babble is beautiful music. We must find the words that are music to the ear … words that lead others to the Creator and Savior of mankind.

God Bless you my friends, Bob

1 comment:

  1. If you must babble, at least babble for the right reasons, and you could not have chosen a better reason in all the world to risk being too loose-lipped. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. What you have laid up spills out; listening to what dominates our babbling tells alot about us. We Christians may be fools, but we are fools for Jesus' sake; and there is no one else on whose behalf I would rather be labeled a fool for. Keep babbling, then; there are some of us out here in blogland who enjoy hearing what you have to say. Ian.