Summary: This is a four week series looking at some hard stories from the bible. In our first week we examine why we need to look into the closet.
Skeletons in God’s Closet, intro
They are lurking in of our closets, things that we wished we had never done, words we wished we had never spoken. Families have them, churches have them and individuals have them. Because we all make mistakes. We all have skeletons in our closets. Some are scarier than others but they are there.
Skeletons in Closets are defined by IdiomReference.com this way “To say that someone has skeletons in their closet means that they have done something in the past that they don't want other people knowing about. It does not necessarily mean that what they did was illegal or immoral, but it could. In general, it is something that would hurt their reputation. It refers to murdering someone and storing their dead body / skeletons in your closet.”
The term became a reality for a number of federal candidates in the election in the fall when the hopes of a seat in parliament became dashed because something from their past came back to haunt them. And we sometimes read stories where someone’s past has caught up with them, perhaps a criminal or a war criminal who have quietly lived their lives, sometimes for decades when the authorities arrive one day to knock on their door and make them accountable for their past. And usually all of their neighbours are shocked.
A number of years ago I was in a meeting with HC Wilson our district Superintendent and a couple of gentlemen from the denomination and they told the story of the President of one of our universities. Not Kingswood one of the ones in the States. This happened back in the early eighties. The president had a very successful nine-year term at the university, he was a sought after speaker and was considered a forerunner for one of the General Superintendent positions in the Wesleyan Church. And he had an impressive resume, he had been a B-52 bomber pilot during the Korean war, he had earned his master’s degree from a prestigious seminary and held an earned doctorate and then one day someone opened the closet door. He had been in the Air Force, but was a mechanic, he had attended the seminary, but only for awhile and had never actually graduated and he had printed the diploma for his PhD himself. Oops.
And sometimes the skeleton is never seen by anyone other than ourselves, we get reflecting on the past and suddenly a boney hand slips around the closet door and we think, “Did I really say that? Did I really do that?” And then we jam the closet door shut again and hope and pray nobody else opens it.
There is a story told by Mark Twain, it’s often time attributed to others as an actual event. But Twain was just being Twain and it was just satire but it makes a great story, Twain wrote “I once sent a dozen of my friends a telegram saying 'flee at once - all is discovered.' They all left town immediately.”
When someone says that their life is an open book there is a pretty good chance that they’ve omitted a chapter or two to make for better reading.
This summer I read an article about a book called “Skeleton’s in God’s Closet” and I thought that will preach. The book by Joshua Butler is about some of the issues that we will crack the door on over the next five weeks and is not to be confused with A Skeleton in God’s Closet which is a novel along the lines of the DaVinci Code that was written by Paul L. Maier.
How often have you heard people ask questions about the bible, if God is a loving God why is there war? Or if God is a loving God why are there starving children? Or if God really loves me than how come my ________ had to die of cancer?
And we’ve been here before, don’t blame God for those things, they belong at the feet of mankind. War is caused by man’s greed, and if we invested the billions of dollars into medical research that is spent on military spending that is no limit to the cures and innovations that we may have discovered.
As long as millions of tons of food is thrown out every year we don’t have a food shortage problem we have a food distribution problem. So many if not most of the problems that God is blamed for could be solved by man if it wasn’t for sin.
But that isn’t what we are talking about, instead it goes back to the questions if God is a loving God why were so many people killed in the Old Testament? Or how can a loving God send people to hell? Or what about when Jephthah sacrificed his daughter to God? And is there a good explanation for the story of Ananias and Sapphira who died because they didn’t give enough to the church?