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Showing posts from October, 2016

Inside the head of King David: "Get out of bed!"

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Ever wish you could get inside the head of King David? It's not too hard. Of all the biblical writers, King David is the most open about his self-talk. But I particularly love this one: "Come on, self. Get out of bed! Sing!"

Here's the scene. King Saul has been chasing young David around the countryside. Saul wants to run a spear through David's gut. Psalm 57 takes place in a cave where David has taken refuge. 
With the terror of having a bounty put on his head by the most powerful man in the land, can you imagine how exhausted David must be? It's about 5:00 in the morning -- not quite light yet. All is quiet except the sounds of David's companions sleeping. Here's what he says to himself: "Awake, my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn." (verse 8) It's basically a pep talk to himself. "Come on, self. Get out of bed! Sing!"
Inside the head of King David: The greatest worshipper of all time had to discipline himself …

When you don't understand the Bible

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We are free not to understand everything in the Bible. There's no need to stress when we come across something we don't get. Sure, do a little historical homework. Read the notes in your study Bible or some other resource. But sometimes there just aren't any clear answers. I am reminded of that as I prepare to preach this Sunday on a passage I'm not sure anyone really understands (Matthew 8:28-34 -- a story that involves Jesus, two violent men, a mob of demons, and a herd of pigs). I've consulted three biblical scholars, and there is no clear consensus about all the aspects of this story. But here's the good news. We don't have to force the Bible into categories or expectations we construct -- as if we were trying to reshape jello with a hammer. We can let the Bible be what it is. And it is sometimes a mystery.

So in our puzzlement, we are encouraged to read on. Read consistently. And read with a loose grip. Even with the mysteries, there is enough clarity i…