On Wednesday evening, the Young Adult (18-28) LifeGroup that meets in our house explored three of the worst stories in Scripture.
Using Sandy Richter’s Ruth study from the Epic Of Eden, the group learned about these wretched events:
- The incestuous origins of the Moabits & Ammonites from Genesis 19 (as well as the possibility that the story’s conclusion in 19:38 was a calculated laugh line for Israelite culture;
- The gang rape and dismemberment of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19;
- The orgy for Baal in Numbers 25.
So when Richter’s video concluded I asked: Did you know these stories were in the bible? (By and large, no). Does it make you question the authority or value of the bible? And the answers to that SECOND question were especially enlightening.
“Not at all,” said one young man. “It actually makes me think it is MORE inspired because it is more real and doesn’t try to make the stories all pretty. Since it is more real, it’s more inspired.”
My heart getting strangely warmed at this stage …
And then another young man piped up. “I’m with him,” he said, referring to his fellow LifeGroup pilgrim. “Because otherwise we think the bible is just like a collection of moral guidelines, which it’s not.”
… heart warming completed.
No, the bible is NOT a collection of moral guidelines. It is NOT an instruction manual (parts of it are, yes, but not the whole). It’s not even “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (see the acrostic?).
It is instead ancient and modern, wild and serene, unpredictable and holy. You enter in to its narratives and you’ll be shocked at all the sins of yesteryear … until you realize those ancient sins have some very modern manifestations.
Its most lurid moments serve to remind you that God enters into the much and the maw of human life and somehow, someway, crafts a story of redemption — and the Redeemer who brings in — out of it all.
More inspired, not less so. More reliable, not less so.
More library-ish, not less so.
All it took was some young adults to help me see that once again.
You can gain more insights into the cyclical nature of biblical narrative, as well as the unsettling content of Judges, in my book Crash Test Dummies: Surprising Lessons From The Book Of Judges, available for purchase here. Useful for either individual reading or as a group study.