Thursday, November 23, 2017

"It's Better the Second Time Around"

Ezekiel 28.6-8, 17 The Message

“Therefore, God, the Master, says: ‘Because you’re acting like a god, pretending to be a god, I’m giving fair warning: I’m bringing strangers down on you, the most vicious of all nations. They’ll pull their swords and make hash of your reputation for knowing it all. They’ll puncture the balloon of your god-pretensions. They’ll bring you down from your self-made pedestal and bury you in the deep blue sea.’ ‘Your beauty went to your head. You corrupted wisdom by using it to get worldly fame.’”

I like Denzel Washington. His father was a Pentecostal minister and he attended the University of Oregon for a season. He’s starred in some great films and helps to support notable charities. Washington is an Academy Award winner and appears to be a happily married man, despite probably inflated rumors of infidelity. Unlike the demigods of Ezekiel’s time and many modern icons of the silver screen, Denzel Washington’s “worldly fame” never “went to [his] head”. Why not?

A revealing 2007 Reader’s Digest interview with Denzel Washington referred to the actor’s daily discipline of Bible reading... “It’s better the second time around.”[1] 

RD: Do you think of yourself as a spiritual person?

Washington: Definitely.

RD: In what way?

Washington: I read the Bible every day. I’m in my second pass-through now, in the Book of John. My pastor told me to start with the New Testament, so I did, maybe two years ago. Worked my way through it, then through the Old Testament. Now I’m back in the New Testament. It’s better the second time around. (italics mine)

And, later in the interview:

RD: What are you reading?

Washington: Books? I don’t have time. Except for the Bible, the No. 1 bestseller.

Denzel Washington reminds me that “worldly fame” is nothing without Christ and His Word. A man who gets a jolt out of “acting like a god” will eventually fall from his “self-made pedestal.” God promises to “puncture the balloon of [his] god-pretensions.” Life is short. I’d rather spend it reading the Bible “the second [third, fourth,...] time around.”

[1]"Denzel Washington Interview: Devoted to Family and Faith", Reader's Digest, December 2007 (

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