I've been leading a small group of Senior High on Wednesday nights studying 1 and 2 Samuel, as Israel transitions from a loose confederation of tribes ruled by judges (theocracy) to a nation-state ruled by kings (monarchy). We've had an inspiring time doing traditional Bible study seeing God at work among the Israelites and reflecting on what that means for us today.
Last night's study, however, created some new challenges for us as a group. We looked at the stories of how King Saul fell out of favor from God because he didn't completely comply with God's command to kill all the Amalekites, including all the women, children, and even animals (1 Samuel 15). We admitted having some uneasiness with a God who orders the wholesale slaughter of a people. We also struggled with God's confession that God "grieved" or "regretted" that he made Saul king. Does God make mistakes, we wondered.
We then flipped over to 1 Corinthians 14, Paul's instruction to women that they are to be silent in church and not allowed to speak. How do such words apply to our modern 21st Century world, we wondered. We discussed inerrancy and what we mean when we say that the Bible is God's word, which at times, we admitted, takes a lot of courage to do.
Sometimes when we engage Scripture, answers come easy, and implications are clear. But other times, wrestling with Scripture creates more questions than answers. Sometimes, instead of always looking for answers, maybe we should simply focus on the direction that the Bible leads us. I find a good question to ask is: how does this scripture point us to Jesus?
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Prayer for Today
O God, help us to understand your Word, especially those passages that at first glance don't seem to connect with life here today. Amen.