Encounters with Scripture

Are you discovering (or rediscovering) anything about the Bible?

I have had a few bold encounters with Scripture in my life, but mostly they are little ones that add up.  Sometimes those little encounters get lost in daily life, so I thought it’d be cool if we wrote some down.

On Wednesday nights I am going through a study called The Patriarchs with some women.  This week we studied Genesis 29/30.  I am thinking of Rachel and Leah after they are both married to Jacob.  One’s prettier, one bears more sons, and neither one can let go of the competition.  Sisters – women – human beings are nauseatingly competitive.

Leah has three sons and hopes it will cause Jacob to love her.  Here are the things she said after they were born:

First son: “It is because the Lord has seen my misery.  Surely my husband will love me now.

Second son: “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one, too.”

Third son: “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”

Then she birthed a fourth son and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.”  After a lifetime of being known for ugliness and betrothal to someone who was in love with her sister, she made her peace , like Lieutenant Dan after the storm on Forrest Gump’s boat.  This baby’s name was Judah.  Of Jacob’s twelve sons, this is the one whose descendant would be Christ.  I thought it was cool that perhaps this small trace of Jesus was bringing peace, even long before he was born.

How about you?  Have you been learning anything from the Bible lately?

19 thoughts on “Encounters with Scripture

  1. michael lee

    I think the boundary between Old Testament God (stern lawgiver) and New Testament God (warm fuzzy ATM machine) is not nearly so distinct as we’d like. I’ve been reading Acts for The Bible Podcast, and tripping up over Acts 4, the Ananias and Sapphira story.

    Here we are, at the founding of the church, the disciples are just starting to realize how radically different the new covenant is from the old, they’re putting action to the Mandatum Novum, sharing possessions, healing the sick, spreading the good news, and in the midst of the party, who shows up? Old Testament God, protecting his holiness with deadly justice. That’s straight old school hellfire and brimstone stuff, a pretty close parallel to killing of Uzziah for irreverence against the Ark of the Covenant.

    No great insight, just an observation. It would be much neater and cleaner if Justice and Retribution God would stay in the Old Testament, pre-resurrection.

  2. Portcullischain

    I just discovered Exd 24:9-11. I must have missed it every time I watched “The 10 Commandments”, but to have 70 plus people see God and apparently sit down and have a bite to eat with Him must have been a pretty cool experience. Of course, after the whole pillar of fire, splitting of the Red Sea, clouds descending on Mt. Sinai, Moses giving them the 10 commandments and then this, the children of Israel ask Aaron to make them the golden calf. Aaron who was at the Exd 24 event and saw the God of Israel and presumably ate with Him goes…..yup, okay dokey. And then it hit me, as I was gleefully pointing my finger at Aaron’s speck, of course the plank of my own hypocrisy was causing a great deal of irritation.

  3. Sharolyn's Husband

    Mike,
    I read Revelation a couple of times through about 6 months ago with a mentor friend of mine. He pointed out that grace was not a word used a whole heckuv a lot throughout. Twice, according to the internet search I just did. The word JUDGE shows up in some form 9 times.

    I don’t know how to balance all the scary statements in Revelation with Ephesians 2:8, but it is easier to err on the side of Grace. It requires less of me personally.

  4. Sharolyn's Husband

    Ephesians 2:8-9

    8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

  5. Portcullischain

    I had never noticed either and then during my men’s small group, my mind started to wander around something in Exodus and I stumbled upon it. I’ve must have read that book a hundred times and I’d never seen that encounter with God. My only excuse is the poor schooling I received as a lad gave me poor reading habits and I’ve skipped over it one hundred times.
    -PC

  6. Sharolyn's Husband

    I have spent the majority of my Christian life looking at the Bible one verse at a time. Kind of like if you stared at the Sistine Chapel from 6 inches away and could only see one hand of an angel and then skipped randomly to another angel’s foot.

    I have been for the first time ever, (been a Christian for 16 years) reading the whole Bible. I am using the Narrated Bible by F. LaGard Smith. Pardon me if many of you already know what this is, but I did not. It is the Bible put in chronological order. That means when you read Acts, and you come to the point in the story where Paul wrote a letter to a church, that letter in put into the story of Acts. The 4 gospels are put into one big chronological story, with some “best guesses” from the author, who is quick to point out the reasons for his estimations of where in the story an event occurred. I am now in the story of Saul and David, and I have never read a Psalm like I am now. When David is being pursued by Saul and Saul’s men, the Psalm that David wrote at that time is put into the story. For me it gives the Psalm a very specific meaning.

    I finished the New Testament first, and I am about half way through the old testament. I have a more clear picture of the relationships between more of the characters of the bible, especially in the old testament.

    I have no specific nugget from this. But if you wanted to read the Bible and felt overwhelmed and confused by the task, I recommend this version. Or, you could read the whole thing out loud like some people that I know.

  7. Portcullischain

    Mike,
    I know Trevor in passing having introduced myself a couple times at my church. I don’t know if he knows who PC is and probably wonders why he gets referrals from a network admin blog.
    -PC

  8. Leonard

    The whole dropping dead cause you lied thing in Acts 5 kind of hit me too. As I dove into it I made a connection I never had before. Acts 4 the church prayed something like what ever it takes to make this work God will you do that? Stretch out your hand… When they prayed this the whole room shook, not so much because of their prayer but as simple gesture that God said yes.

    Everything else you read in the history of the church that moves the kingdom of God forward, that reaches hearts of people for Christ, that expresses the kindness of God as seen in the face of Christ is a direct answer to that prayer. Starting with what I am sure no one expected, the first miracle God did after they prayed this amazing prayer was do have two people drop dead.

  9. michael lee

    Jason,

    The #1 email complaint that I get about The Bible Podcast is that I’m reading the books “out of order.” I was shocked at how many people believe that the “publishers order” of the collection in the Old and New Testament is sacred and inspired, that Romans must follow Acts, as night follows day, and that it wasn’t just arranged that way hundreds of years later by virtue of length! I finally added it to the Frequently Asked Questions.

    I’ll have to check out Smith’s version, the Narrated Bible. I’m always up for squinting at old things in new ways.

  10. aly hawkins

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten excited again about engaging with the Bible…after about 10 of secretly (and sometimes not-so-secretly) feeling repelled and alienated by it. A big part of the change for me, like Jason, has been rediscovering the story of the Bible (“Hey, all these people are connected somehow, to each other and to us!”). I also got a TNIV/Message parallel for my birthday last year, and it’s great to enjoy reading scripture for the love of language and character and narrative, which are, I think, much more closely connected to spiritual enrichment than, say, 17th-century stereo instructions.

  11. Chad

    Our pastor is teaching in acts, and he just went through the story of picking Matthias to be the 12th disciple. He pointed out something that I’ve never heard before, which is that when the disciples are listed, something like 4 times in the NT, they’re always grouped nearly the same way, with Peter and Jesus’ inner circle going first, Phillip always leading the next 4, which were guys more devoted towards the actual mechanics of the ministry (including Bartholomew the encourager). The last group is headed up by the other James and included Simon the Zealot and (in this case) the recently deceased Judas Iscariot. These guys were often concerned with political issues… perhaps the PR guys.

    Anyways… I found the idea that Jesus groups his leaders towards their strengths and natural instincts pretty riveting. I was wanting him to like… stop and spend a half hour unpacking Jesus’ leadership and administrative style.

    But that’s just me…

  12. sharolyn

    Chad, I hear what you’re saying about Addison Road. I wonder when it’s peak has been, maybe judged by the most comments in one day.

    I don’t have any profound thoughts to form a post at the moment, but I did read a scripture that spoke to me.

    Psalm 18:16-19: “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

    Thankfully, unlike David, I don’t have enemies pursuing me. The phrase that struck me today was SPACIOUS PLACE. I had never heard this. Often when I am feeling stressed, it is due to lack of personal physical space. Often, it is lack of control over the events or the schedule of my life. I feel cramped. I like the hope that God can bring me to a “spacious place”.

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