This past Sunday we continued our trek through The Whole Story of the Bible, entering into the world of the Judges. This bit of the story contains stark contrasts.
On the one hand, we continue to marvel at God displaying his power on behalf of his people — lop-sided victories and a magic fleece (Gideon), bandits overthrowing kings (Jepthah), and an ancient superman whose strength breaks the backs of Israel’s foes (Samson).
On the other hand, every one of Israel’s deliverers is revealed as flawed and deeply imperfect, and both people and chieftains continue to devolve into ever-increasing acts of such darkness and wickedness that this tale would receive a parental-advisory warning, even by our culture’s standards.
This darkness is a display of the dehumanization of humanity. And in order to comprehend why this is so tragic, one needs rightly understand the image of God, and how we are meant to reflect that image. Our friends at the Bible Project have created a six-minute video (along with some other helpful materials) that will help you better understand this theological concept, and how it sheds light on the tragedy and significance of the story of Judges.
For further study on the book of Judges itself, I suggest you continue exploring, by means of the following resources:
- Review last week’s sermon on Judges.
- Click here to find a whole page of videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this remarkable history, Judges.
One important note. This coming Sunday, March 11, we will take a slight break from moving through one book at a time in The Whole Story, as I will be out of the pulpit. But it is just a slight break. Tim Tomlinson, President of Bethlehem College and Seminary (my alma mater), will be preaching. His study and sermon will be on the 23rd Psalm.
So how is this just a slight break?
Well, for those of us reading each book of the Bible every week, as we make our way through The Whole Story (and using the Read Scripture app to do so), you have also been reading one psalm per day. This has been a helpful and encouraging practice, as the Psalter forms a strong foundation to our worship and prayer lives.
Therefore, Tim’s proclamation will serve as a very minor detour on our journey through The Whole Story. And, having spoken with Tim, and hearing how this familiar psalm has been captivating his heart, mind, and imagination in new and fresh ways, I am eager to sit in the gathering alongside you as he preaches. You won’t want to miss it family!
Finally, for those of you who might be a bit behind in your reading along with us book-by-book, the next two weeks afford a wonderful chance to catch up; especially as our next book of study will be Ruth (just four chapters long!). As always, please feel free to email me with questions or ideas for The Whole Story.
Looking forward to our Gathering on Sunday,
As I sit down to write this little article, I’ve just come from a hospital room visiting one of our long time members at Calvary. In addition to the circumstances that caused him to be admitted, he has been battling a serious health condition for many years.
We continue to study the 400 year history of God’s covenant people, the Israelites, as found in the books of first and second Kings, but as seen through the eyes of Yahweh’s prophets. Our most current study? The prophet Amos, and his poetry, sermons, and oracles.
Child Dedications May 2017
Six children were dedicated this past Sunday. We pray God's blessings upon these children and their parents!
The main aim of the sermon series we are currently in, The Whole Story, is to inspire you to read through the whole Bible over the course of about eighteen months, which began in January 2018. A foundational reason for this is that we believe that on this journey we will experience, week by week, the exciting truth that the Bible is a unified story that points us to Jesus.
The book of the prophet Hosea. Honestly, in first reading, it can be difficult to grasp. There are quite a few movements and shifts in thinking, and our author mixes various styles of writing and a multitude of images and themes. So as I spent time over the course of a week with this book as a reader, and studier, what struck me was that I needed to process and meditate on Hosea as a whole. To step back and see the larger picture. To not get lost in the details. And I kept asking the question, “Is there a major theme here that you are trying to communicate, Father?”
We are now making our way into the “Prophets Before the Exile” section of The Whole Story. I really like the way our Read Scripture plan breaks a bit here from the order of the books of the Old Testament in our common English translation of the bible. For the Read Scripture plan is more in line with how the story actually unfolded.