"But they were disobedient and rebelled against You. They flung Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets who warned them in order to turn them back to You. They committed terrible blasphemies." Nehemiah 9:26 HCSB

I grew up in Texas. Not the South. Texas. There is a difference. If you have to ask, then you’ve never been to Texas. Or met a true Texan.

As a Texan, and particularly as a man Texan, I like the idea of flingin’ things. Like, “That fella flung the ball downfield for a touchdown on the very next play.” Or, “During the county fair cow chip toss, one gal flung a fresh one right into one of the judges.” Flung sorta sounds like fun.

That's why “flung” caught my attention in the verse above. Not your average Bible word. Here is a test: Worshiped; Sanctified; Flung. Which one of these three does not belong here? Which one of these three is not the same?

It is translated as the not so colorful “cast... behind” in the ESV and NASB and the really looses it’s umph, “turned their backs on” in the NIV. This Hebrew word, transliterated shalak, is most often translated as “throw” or “hurl” or “scatter.” The word implies intensity or violence. In the phrase of Nehemiah 9:26, it literally means “to thrust behind one’s back” or formally reject someone or something. Ouch. Like the New Testament, “Get behind me Satan,” flipped to become, “Get behind me God.” Sounds like trouble.

Not a fun flung that one. 

Toward a God who chose them, loved them, and provided for them, rebellious and disobedient is what they had been. They had fling off God’s Word. They had turned their backs on God. But here in this one chapter that captures their history, Nehemiah 9, they are turning back. Humbled and repentant.

Led by the Levites, priests chosen by God to intercede for the people, the Israelites confessed their sins. Confession leads to blessing.

Thank God for his magnificent mercy.

Thank God for His longsuffering lovingkindness. 

Try Psalm 16:8 instead, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” 

Footballs and cowchips can be flung. Not God’s Word or His love for you. 

(In case you are wondering, shalak is pronounced SHAY-lak in Texas or shaw-lawk for the rest of us. And, in case you wanna share this or comment, use the tools below. Thanks, Dear Readers.)