My 3-year-old daughter and I (in an extremely rare moment) were sitting quietly while drawing on a scratch piece of paper when I decided to show her what a “stick-man” looked like. So after asking her if she knew how to draw a “stick-man”, I proceeded to illustrate one for her. I thought my piece of artistry was quite good…all she could think about (which was made obvious by her interrogating questions) was why my drawing would be called a “stick-man” if he didn’t have a stick in his hand!
There are times in the Bible when scripture isn’t meant to be taken with the literal surface approach that it seems to be saying. For example, Jesus, while discussing the dangers of adultery, urged his followers to remove their own eye and to cut off their own hand if either of the two caused them to sin (Matthew 5:27-30). The context of Jesus’ admonition (which happens to be the Sermon on the Mount) shows that Jesus’ emphasis is on the avoidance of sin at all costs, not the literal removal of the flesh – which wouldn’t have corrected the spiritual problem anyways! The Sermon on the Mount is absolutely filled with illustrations and figures of speech and idioms that are meant, by implication, to convey a very serious spiritual point without the listener or reader taking what’s being said to the fullest literal extent; to get the picture of what’s being said, the context has to be considered.
So remember the “stick-man” and look for the picture that God is trying to draw within our heart and upon our mind when the scriptures present a lesson that may make us look for the “stick” when we should be looking at the context.