My son has perfect, straight, white teeth, and has never had a cavity in his life. So to read that God has given the people of Israel “cleanness of teeth in all your cities” seems to be a wonderful thing. Especially for families who can’t afford dental care for the whole brood. But could this be too good to be true?
Yes! Cleanness of teeth meant the people were starving. There was not enough bread to go around. It was not a sign of great oral health. Instead, life was painful and bellies were sore as God reminded the people of how they had abandoned worship of God.
Sometimes we read biblical texts and think that this has nothing to do with us. But perhaps it does, in ways we might not have yet thought of. God likes us to ponder things, to continually re-evaluate meaning, in order to decide what might have importance in our lives. The truth is, God’s word is always current, which we discover when we creatively think and pray over what we read in scripture.
Challenging God, you share wisdom in stories and images as you call us to seek truth and share our lives with the world. May we always worship you in beauty and truth. Amen. — CJ