In Touch – June 29, 2012
Posted on June 29, 2012 by under Touché,

Texts of Terror

In July I will be preaching from the book of Judges.  In twenty six years of ministry I have never preached from the book of Judges.  There are some nasty stories in there.  (Check out the Levite who cut up his dead concubine and sent her body to the twelve tribes of Israel.)  The Revised Common Lectionary (a collection of texts appointed for the church) has only one selection taken from the book of Judges.  Most preachers and commentators avoid Judges.  I wonder how many sermons you have heard from Judges in your lifetime.  The names of Gideon, Samson and Delilah and Deborah may ring some bells for you, but many of the stories are probably unfamiliar and strange.

I must confess that in July I am not taking on the strangest (I will let Mark pick up the Levite and the concubine story if he likes.)  I will preach from the stories that are referenced in the book of Hebrews in the roll call of the saints chapter 11 verse 32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah.”  We will look at their four stories in the first four weeks of July.

Some may ask why bother with stories that seem so strange, brutal and ancient, but Paul reminds us: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16) There are treasures of God’s mercy and grace that are mined here by the person who is willing to have ears to listen.  I am looking forward to the challenge of seeing what God has to say to us from these stories from Judges, and I already recognize applications that apply to the days of our lives.

So as summer heats up, I pray that you will be ready for some steamy stories of God at work with a wayward people.  Our story for Sunday could start like a bad joke; a judge, a general and a harlot walk into a bar…and we will see what happens.

As we live into a year of going deeper, we are invited to go deeper into God’s Word, not cherry picking texts that match our theology and our comfort level, but texts that may make us squirm in our seats a bit and come out the other side with a deeper appreciation for guilt, grace and gratitude.  I hope these texts of terror will be texts of blessing for you.

Hold onto your tent peg.