Saturday, April 10, 2010


I stopped reading for a few days earlier this week in a subconscious effort to avoid the unthinkable. After Tuesday's reading, which included the shocking account in Judges 19, I set down the book for a while, and that's why I'm praying for you today. I pray that you and I will keep on reading, and that we'll get the words in us in spite of the difficult and disturbing nature of the content. We need it like life-saving medicine -- ALL of it -- though sometimes it's a bitter pill to swallow. It's a pill with a promise, though:

All Scripture is breathed out by God
and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, and for training
in righteousness. - 2 Tim. 3:16


. . . the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing
to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions
of the heart.
- Hebrews 4:12

Profitable yes, but uncomfortable at best. None of the benefits promised are sugar coated or cherry-flavored; they don't involve direct and immediate self-gratification, a happy tummy, or warm-fuzzy fulfillment. The Bible is a treatment which is harsh at times, and may result in a bellyache. It will cure what ails us, though, so think of it as radiation or chemotherapy for our sin-sick souls. We might not like the flavor of our daily dose, but if we truly believe what God says in and about his word, then we'll chug it down regardless.

I may never fully understand the purpose of the account that stopped me in my tracks earlier this week. It is unimaginable on so many levels . . . the shameless intentions of the village men, the nameless woman and the evil she was forced to face alone, her "husband" (such an honorable title), and his horrifying reaction to the brutal crime. This pill burns all the way down! I can't fathom what good it does me to read this, but I believe there IS a purpose for it, and though it is hard to take, it will do us good in the long run.

It is natural to prefer the "good" parts of scripture -- the Psalms, the Proverbs, and the New Testament. These are the spoonfuls of sugar, as Mary Poppins puts it -- and indeed there's lots of sweet stuff in there! Make sure the medicine does go down, though, along with the spoonful of sugar we like to sing about on Sunday. May God bless and empower you and me for difficult reading. God give us grace to gag it down, even while we make ugly faces. God give us grace to trust that though it may distress us, it can't fail to do all the good it has promised.