by Tad Lindley
Where I grew up we never saw meat on the bone except for ribs. By the time it hit the grocery store shelf the bones were gone to the Jello factory. It was not until I ended up in Kipnuk teaching that I fully appreciated the correct way of processing animals. Before I knew the word lagyaq I already had made a name for it in my mind, the dead animal house. I would see seals and caribou and other animals in different states of being skinned and cut up for cooking, freezing, or drying.
As I observed ladies processing fish and meat, and as I ate in people’s homes, I realized that the Yup’ik people really do consume the entire animal. To this day, my wife likes having my friend Freddy over to eat, because he knows how to pukuk (sounds like boo-gook). For the non-Yup’ik speakers reading this, pukuk-ing is when you are eating and you separate the meat and the cartilage completely off the bone, and the marrow from within and eat it. When Freddy eats at our house, he leaves a nice clean pile of bones. Since I didn’t grow up like that I can never get my bones that clean.
The word of God has the power to pukuk
Hebrews 4:12 tells us, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart. The NIV puts it like this: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The word of God can not only pukuk the joints and the marrow, but it can split the soul and the spirit. It can strip away the false pretenses of a man and reveal what he truly is.
No place to hide
King David understood that God has the inherent ability to discern all things about us. He wrote this psalm:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. (Psalm 139:1-8 NKJV)
There is no escaping God’s ability to divide the thoughts and the intents of our hearts from who we pretend to be. This is why reading the Bible can expose us to ourselves. This is why God chose the foolishness of preaching his word to save those who believe. (I Corinthians 1:21)
Do you want to get pukuk-ed by God?
David wanted to get pukuk-ed by God. In Psalm 51:1 he wrote, Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. He was telling God to get inside of his heart and cut away the attitudes and the thoughts that would cause him to fail. It is important for us to understand that when we open ourselves up in a true surrender to God, and we allow ourselves to be exposed to his word through preaching and Bible study, we can experience his transforming power.
True, according to the word of God, we must repent (Luke 13:3,5), be baptized in Jesus’ name (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38), and receive the Holy Ghost (John 3:5) if we would be born again, but unless we continue in God, and allow him to dig deep inside of us, even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, we will never grow in God. Do you want to get pukuk-ed by God?
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.