The Bible records more murder, mayhem, sadness, and disgusting human behavior than an entire season of Desperate Housewives.
Quentin Tarantino has nothing on this violent disturbing book. To me this is rather confusing. Wouldn’t more people like the Bible and maybe even believe in God if the Bible were more like those sweet, uplifting Chicken Soup for the Soul books or an episode of Barney?
Take today’s Old Testament readings for example. In the Book of Judges a bunch of guys need wives and so slaughter every person in another town except the virgins. Then in the Book of Ruth everyone but the two women die in the first paragraph. Wow.
Sometimes I just want to read the sections that tell about Jesus holding children on his lap and healing blind people.
So, why did God let all this awful stuff find its way into the Bible? Ask God that question as you join me in today’s reading and see what happens.
Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.
TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)
Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Judges 21:Israel is practicing brutal but common self protection. They have nearly obliterated one of their own tribes and now make up for it by massacring another. This was common among the various nations of the day.
Ruth 1:22: Ruth is a beautiful story. It reminds us that there are hundreds, if not millions, of stories of God intervening in average lives and turning them into something bigger and better. Ruth was just a widow, like millions of others. But God turned her story into a precursor of the story of Christ.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Reality TV is not real. If that spoils it for you, I apologize. Obviously there are elements of these shows that are real. The competition, the ups and downs of relationships, the tears and laughter are true elements of life. But in the name of entertainment the producers and directors carefully craft what we see, manipulating situations and splicing scenes, and therefore producing an hour of TV that is anything but real. The producers keep the show just dangerous enough to be exciting but safe enough so they don’t get sued.
Is that what we expect of God and the Bible? That he direct and produce, manipulate and splice life so that it’s safe but exciting?
Maybe that’s why we get so uncomfortable with the violent, painful sections of Scripture. The are bold, gritty, ugly, real, not sanitized. And God rarely gives a narrated voice over to explain why he would let such things happen. Just like real life.
And when I am being real, I appreciate these sometimes incomprehensible sections of the Bible more than reality TV because they let me know God will be there for me even when my heart and life is at its ugliest.
- What story or character in the Bible most matches your life?
- Are there any links between these four readings?
- What part of the Bible do you find most difficult?
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Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com