Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Old Testament Challnege: Part 1, The Pentateuch

In a bit of shameless self-promotion (or really, Redeemer Church promotion), I wanted to share what I've been working on lately (and why I've been doing little over here lately). Last year we did a New Testament Challenge in which we challenged all our members to read through the New Testament in nine weeks. We bought a curriculum from another church so everyone also had a devotional to read every day.

Well, it was popular enough that we decided to try an Old Testament Challenge this fall. The only problem, no one's worked up that curriculum (can't imagine why . . .). So we're writing our own Old Testament Challenge: Part 1, The Pentateuch! Pastor Lee and I split the devo writing duty and I thought I would share one of my rough drafts.

A couple ways you can interact: 1) Obviously I'm limited on space for content but I always welcome critiques on the writing. 2) If anyone is interested in what our reading plan looks like, let me know. I can either send it to you or perhaps even post it here. 3) If this devo interests enough people here, I will continue to share them so that I am at least contributing some sort of original content on the CIC blog. 4) And finally, if there are any churches or groups that would be interested in our material, let me know! We're pretty excited about it here in Omaha.

Day 9: Genesis 19-20

We have been reading about how God would bless Abraham, but in yesterday’s reading we learned the scope of that blessing. In 18:18 the Lord says “all nations on earth will be blessed through him”. And the blessing of the nations begins that very day, though in a strange sort of way. Abraham defends and mediates between God and the city of Sodom, acting as a sort of high priest on behalf of the city.

Yet they do not even clear the low bar of righteousness that Abraham pleaded for (only 10 righteous people) and they are destroyed. Only Lot and his family are spared and this not necessarily due to his own righteousness but rather (at least partially) to the mediation of Abraham (19:29).

But the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are not the only ones shown to be sinful in these two short chapters. See if you can keep up: Lot offers his daughters to the angry mob, Lot’s wife longs for the wicked city of Sodom, Lot’s daughters get their dad drunk and sleep with him and then Abraham tells the half-lie about his wife being his sister (again!).

Yet this is a fitting precursor to the characters we find all throughout the Bible. The stories are almost infamous surrounding David and Bathsheba, Sampson and Delilah, or the entire Israelite people during their wanderings in the desert. Or consider the New Testament example of Peter being told by Jesus, “Get behind me, Satan”. Not exactly good PR for God’s elite.

However, this should be encouraging to us for at least two reasons. First, if there is something in our Bible that would call in to question the character of one of our spiritual heroes, it actually lends an air of credibility to our story as true history. After all, if the Bible were all made up stories and fabrication, who would make up such broken, faltering fathers of the faith? This is what modern-day apologists call the “test of embarrasment”.

Second, it is encouraging to us because we are all of the broken, faltering sort ourselves. As Paul wrote, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong . . . so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:26,27, 29)

1 comment:

Carol said...

The comment that another proof of truth is the "testament of embarrassment" made me laugh. But then it made me praise the Lord, for I fit the weak category.

It is reassuring that human weakness does not deter God.