Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gen. 11-20

The Bible: Prepare to be Shocked.

Shocked? Perhaps you mean surprised?

Nope. I mean shocked. What's shocking about the Bible? Well, how often do we think of the Bible as a kind of medicine that we go to in our time of need? When we need a hug the most? Or a shoulder to cry on? The Bible can do this better than any book, but I want to remind us all that the Bible can shock us out of our wits (and if it doesn't then we need to check our reading of Scripture).

Today's reading was Gen. 11-20. What happens in Gen. 11-20? Well, how about a father offering his two daughters to an entire city full of men hellbent on raping two complete strangers that the man brought under his roof? What about Lot's daughters giving him one-too-many glasses of wine so they could "know" him? Now, this might seem like something straight out of an arthouse movie but it's not. It's in the Bible.

The Bible is filled to the brim with various stories, subject matter, and themes (believe me, these two stories are tame compared to the Levite and his Concubine in Judges 19, which I will likely blog about when we read it). We have to recognize that the Bible can operate as many different things at once. It can be our best friend when we need someone to be there. It can be the guide to how to live our lives. It can be the place we turn to when we desire to know more about God.

We must also recognize that it can be a place full of confusion and odiousness. It can be a place where we read about a father sending his daughters to a life of emotional and physical destruction (Gen. 19:8). It can be a place where we read about daughters drugging their father and taking advantage of him (Gen. 19:30-38).

The Bible is a shocking place filled with many things and it is important we keep these tensions present in our reading of Scripture. Why? So we can recognize that the Bible reflects the deepest and darkest parts of our lives (and often times even darker... much, much darker) and is still a place that reveals a God to us who creates and restores out of love.

For further reflection: Since Lot's daughters rape him in Gen. 19:30-38 after he offered them to be raped in Gen. 19:8, what does it mean that poetic justice is depicted in this way in the Bible? Does this offend your sense of justice or does it support it? Where does your sense of justice come from and why is it offended or supported in these passages?

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