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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Too Beard, Or Not, A Biblical View

      If you check out my profile picture you will discover that I have a full beard.  My thing with beards started when I was in the Army.  Every time I went on leave I would let my beard grow till I had to return to military duty.  It aggravated my wife quite a bit. When I left the service in 1978 I started growing a beard on a serious basis.  I made up my mind I was not going to shave it off and I didn’t for quite a few years. Somewhere along the way I found a Biblical basis(Leviticus 19:26-30, and 21:5) for not shaving my beard.  I also found a reason for not trimming my beard and several other things that are pretty much standard for me today. 
     My wife was constantly on my case to shave it off or at least trim it. She liked it the few times I trimmed it in a Kenny Rodgers style.  That all ended when she went on my truck with me.  We stopped at a mall somewhere along I-10 in Louisiana to get a something to eat.  It ended up being a pizza place.  As we were sitting and eating a little girl about probably three to four years old walked up to our table.  She took hold of my arm and in the sweetest southern drawl possible said, “Mr. Santa Claus can I give you a kiss?” My heart melted as I said, “Sure” She left and went back to her table and watched us the whole time we were eating. My wife was smiling from ear to ear and she said, “Now I know why you don’t shave your beard. Experiences like that are priceless.”  I agreed that they are and since then she no longer gives me the hard time she used to.  When she seems like she might I just say, “Remember Louisiana?”

     There are a couple other benefits to having a beard that I can’t explain or prove but I know it is true.  At least in my case it’s true.  When I was in the military for 13 years I caught every cold or sniffle that came through the barracks.  Since I started growing a beard I hardly ever get sick. I have been sick only a handful of times since I got out in 1978.  I have asked other people I have met who have a beard and they generally agree they have had similar experiences.  So there may be something to having a beard.  That being said I have shaved seven times I know of since leaving the service.  Each time I have a new Grandchild I shave it off, and now every time I have a new Great Grand Child I shave it off. I have six grandsons and one granddaughter.  Also I have two great grand-daughters. Which includes two sets of twins. 

    There is a story in II Samuel 10 that relates how some of Kind David’s men went on a mission for him and the people he sent his men to abused them by shaving off half their hair and half their beards.  When King David heard of it he had his men go into a private place until their beards and hair grew back. It says in the Bible the men were humiliated.  It implies being without a beard was not good.  In America beards were very common.  Even in the pictures of the Civil War many American soldiers had beards.  It wasn’t till the time of the Spanish American War that shaving became a standard practice. 

       Most American military units banned having beards for a number of years. About the time of the Vietnam War some of the Navy personnel started growing beards again as a part of Navy tradition.  The Army however has stayed pretty much away from it.  While on vacation in September I met an Officer at a skydiving center near Ft. Bragg who had a full beard.  He explained that he was growing it to make it easier for him to blend in with the Afghan community where he would be serving shortly.  So the Army is willing to make exceptions. If people stood up for what they believe maybe more would have them.

      If you happened to read the verses I referenced for Leviticus you noticed there were several other things we were commanded to do or not to do. Not trimming beards was not the only thing I learned that we should not be doing if we are following God’s Word.  We should not get marks in our skin (tattoos), shave our heads, eat anything with blood in it, or listen to enchantments or those who claim to have gifts of visions, or fortune telling.  You can find most of this in Leviticus 19:25-30 and 21:5.  If that is not bad enough Leviticus 20:1-5 makes it pretty clear that abortion is a crime against God as he is the author of life, not death.  In fact God said anyone who participated and did not punish those who did killed children, he would kill them and destroy their nation.

     Sadly many of the things mentioned are standard practice in the world we live in today.  Today’s world has a sort of smorgasbord view of the Bible. Most people pick and choose the things they do not want to obey.  Many say the Old Testament does not apply any more.  Yet they will tell you creation is still valid.  Their view on the Ten Commandments will depend on the denomination they follow.

  When I found the verse on marks in the skin it verified something I had learned growing up.  It condemned me for some time as I already had a tattoo, but I realized God can forgive most anything.  Then I found two verses in the Bible that literally changed my life.  I found them while I was going through some trials in my life that God gave me a very clear answer to.  Listen to him, not man.  The verse I found at that time in my life was 1st John 2:27. It makes very clear who we are to listen to and follow.  The second verse he gave me was Jeremiah 17:5 and it makes clear my trust should be in him and not in any man.  The issue that bought it up was the issue of tongues.  I finally came to believe what the Bible says on the matter and contrary to some denominations it has nothing to do with your salvation.  That is entirely in the hands of God and His Mercy and Grace.

      Reading the Bible and listening to God can cause you problems also. Genesis 1:29 tells us something God said we had the right to.  Yet many of the laws of man today go against that teaching.  Even our Declaration of Independence says we have certain rights given by God.  My only question is who is benefitting from the present laws, God or Satan?  The Bible says every Word of God is true and every man a liar.  Based on that verse, it becomes clear to me Satan is twisting the Word of God to accomplish his will on this earth.  The Bible also says,”My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” He did not say the evil ones, the lost, or the sinners.  He said very clearly “My people are destroyed”  The only way we have of avoiding destruction is knowing what His Word says and standing on that alone.

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