Showing posts from January, 2018

Obscured Vision

1 Samuel 3:1-20 Give credit to the Old Testament authors—especially the author of Samuel!—because they knew how to tell stories. What they wrote was more than just history because they were interpreting the events for people at a later time, trying to help them see the triumphs and the sorrows of the earlier period. As they told these stories, they framed them carefully and gave minute details at just the right moment to really bring out their point. Not only was this a matter of artistry, but it also was a necessity since the materials for scrolls were so rare. So, the authors had to share the most important details and leave out the rest. The first two verses of this story contain multiple details like that, and the one which stands out today is this: “At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see…” If you are reading carefully, your ears might perk up at these words. As you begin to consider why the author would tell us this, you remember th

Understanding the Teacher

Matthew 16:5-12 There’s a curious little story in Matthew 16 involving Jesus and the disciples. As they are travelling together, Jesus issues a warning to the disciples which they misunderstand. In response Jesus says, “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread?” (Matt 16:8-11) When we read a passage like this, it is easy to think to ourselves, “Those stupid disciples. They are at it again not understanding what Jesus has to say”; but I want to encourage us to look a little closer at the disciples’ failure. At first glance, Jesus’ words are a little cryptic, even if we wouldn’t necessarily jump to the same conclusion which the disciples made. However, Jesus’ response to their lack of understandi

God: Promise Keeper

2 Kings 15:8-12 “Not the book of Kings!” I hear you thinking it. Your eyes already have glazed over as you think that nothing good can come from that historical book. After all, it is not just that it is a history book, but it is a confusing history book. Who can keep track of all the different kings as they enter stage left and exit stage right in the span of a few short verses? More than that, who can keep straight which Jehoahaz or Jehoram or Jeroboam or Jehoash is which? (There seems to be two of each of those, if you can believe that.) I totally understand. As I was reading through 2 Kings, I had to pull up a family tree online to help me keep all of them straight! The books of 1 & 2 Kings are not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, they are part of the word of God, and as Paul tells his young protégé, they are “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). So, as I was reading, I stopped at the end of this