On the Table: Bible Stories

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The Bible is a collection of some of the greatest and earliest stories in human history. Love stories, dramas, action-adventures, romantic comedy, war epics, soap operas–you name it and there’s something to fit your bill. Given our love of Story here at the Rabbit Room, I thought it would be fun to hear what 0139be354a3fe2540a2b94b981b56bbesome of our favorites are. We don’t want any obvious answers here, though, so let’s all agree that the Gospel story is the big one and look a little further. In fact, let’s keep it to the Old Testament. So let’s have it, what is your favorite Old Testament story and why?


matt-conner-thumb.gifMatt ConnerThere was a guy named Jabez, who… (ha!)

There is this strange story … actually it’s just a point within a story in Daniel that I find completely fascinating. Paul mentions that we don’t battle against flesh and blood and instead draws our attention to the spiritual battle taking place around us.

In the book of Daniel, there’s a quick mention of an angel coming to attend to Daniel and he says to him something along the lines of “I would have gotten here sooner, but it took me twenty-one days to get to you because a spiritual evil force over the kingdom of Persia withstood me…” I just find that completely profound and absolutely interesting.


eric-peters-thumb.gifEric Peters – The OT seems to possess a more-than-fair representation of strange, gory, and not-so-safe-for-the-whole-family vignettes. I know I’m only supposed to have one, but here are a couple of my favorites: the first is in 2 Kings 2:23-24 where a pack of smart-alecky, loitering boy scouts, presently taunting the prophet Elisha, get mauled by a couple of hungry she-bears. “Go on up, you bald head.” I like this one because it seems like it would make a good B movie.

The second story, and perhaps the one I can more readily make sense of and identify with (I wrote a song based on this on my 2001 album, Land of the Living) is the story, also starring Elisha, of the swimming iron in 2 Kings 6:1-7. In a congregationally-supported new sanctuary building campaign, several Hebrew men, having outgrown their current digs, meet at a point alongside the Jordan River and proceed to cut down some local trees from which they will begin construction of their new state-of-the-art, modern A/V, fully Power-Pointed, plush assembly hall. At one harried, hacking point, one of the tools suffers a manufacturer’s malfunction (made in China?), and the iron axehead falls off the wooden handle into the river below. Being made of iron, it, of course, sinks like a proverbial stone to the bottom of the murky creek. Being a poor man and having borrowed the tool in the first place, this gent probably suffers a bit of a conniption fit since he has no way of recompensing the man from whom he borrowed it. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, get over it, one might say in today’s non-prophetic world, but not in those non-potable times; not when there were real live God-ordained prophets roaming the sand-laden streets, handing out basketfuls of deliverance and omens seemingly left and right. These scared gentlemen request that Elisha saunter over and help them solve the poor man’s dilemma. Elisha, as to be expected, obliges. He asks them to point out where, exactly, the axehead fell into the river. They point, he picks up a twig, tosses it onto the river at that spot, and, like a Cheerio in milk, the iron swims to the surface. All is well with the world.

Great thanks to Charles Spurgeon, I am vaguely able to make a little more sense of this OT snippet. At first glance, this appears to be a story of a miracle – a physical one. It is to my understanding that iron normally does not float on water. But I suspect that it is also the story of the underlying miracle that God – the same God of Elisha, Abraham, Moses, David, the father of Jesus – should daily care for the seemingly mundane, day-to-day occasions of our lives, that it is a miracle that ANYTHING should ever go right in this world, much less go wrong, and, to crown our oblong heads, that He finds us worthy of such mercy and attention. This is no small thing.


russ-ramey-thumb.gifRuss Ramsey – I love the story of David and Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul who was crippled when his nurse took him to flee as David was bringing and end to Saul’s reign. “Mephibosheth” means “a shameful thing” and he lived in a place the bible calls “Lo Debar” which means “a land with no pasture.” So you have this man in his 20’s, “crippled in both his feet” the text tells us four different times, and the image we’re given is of “a shameful thing living in a land with no pasture.” David remembers a covenant he made with Jonathan, Saul’s son, to show kindness to his descendants after he took over Saul’s throne. When David asks if there are any descendants of Saul left, a member of the old guard named Ziba remembers Mephibosheth and tells David about him. David send for him and brings him into the palace–an event I assume must have terrified Mephibosheth since he was essentially living in hiding from none other than David himself, as he was a legitimate heir to Saul’s throne.

David brings him in and restores everything he lost to him, except one thing– his independence. David vows to treat Mephibosheth as one of his own sons, and sets a place at the King’s table for him– which means for every meal, Mephibosheth must be carried to his place in the Kingdom and sit at the table of the one who took him from his land of desolation and restored his reputation from being a shameful figitive to an adopted son of the King.

It is a hard and glorious picture of grace to be called by the One who holds all the cards and to have to remain in his presence when it would seem much easier if he would just give us independence from him so we could go and make something of ourselves. Part of Mephibosheth’s restoration is the requirement to live as a son of the King, not merely as his subject.


randall-goodgame-thumb.gifRandall GoodgameThe Book of Jonah is my favorite story. Mostly because it makes Jonah look so terribly bad. If today’s “faith based” publishers were deciding on the Biblical canon, Jonah would be among the first to go.

The way I see it, either Jonah wrote Jonah, or he told the story and it was written later. Either way, this makes Jonah pretty amazing. I want to be just like the guy who tells this story about himself, the way it is told in scripture. With no self-pity, no sugar coating, and no concern for his reputation, Jonah reveals the depth of his ingratitude and the fathomless depths of God’s mercy. His prayer at the beginning of Chapter 2 is astounding for its dichotomous combination of poetic prophecy and immature sincerity. When I read that prayer, I believe that Jonah has been healed of his selfish ways. Then, only one chapter later, Jonah is revealed to be just like me – full of contradictions.

Jonah is not afraid to question God, and God is patient with Jonah. And though Jonah’s personal story reveals God’s power, grace and mercy, there is a much bigger story being told that gives my own struggling journey of faith a proper context. God is always up to something much greater and more wonderful than we can imagine. And, since Jonah told this story sometime later, I draw encouragement from his transformation from a confused and self-centered prig into a selfless testifier of the Greatness of God. I love this book. I named my son Jonah Goodgame.


ron-block-thumb.gifRon Block – One of my favorites is Elijah. From the first moment where he quotes Deut 11:16-17 at Ahab in 1Kings 17:1, it’s a dramatic story of the ups and downs of a faith-man. One of the best parts of the story is the contest between Elijah and the false prophets; Elijah’s stand of faith, his total confidence, the humor of his inspired and cutting sarcasm (“Where is your god? Maybe he’s talking, or he’s withdrawn to a private place, or he’s on the road, or maybe he’s asleep and you’ve got to wake him up”). Total victory follows, with fire from heaven and death to the false prophets. And then, immediately following this victory and the people turning back to God, wham! He caves in to fear of Jezebel.

It’s an up and down story, the paradox of a strong God using our weak humanity to accomplish His purposes.

I’ve not heard many sermons on the divine use of sarcasm.


jason-gray-thumb.gifJason Gray – This may be too obvious, but I have to say that the story of Jacob is my favorite because of how it defies all Sunday School conventions. It’s nearly impossible to wring a moral out of it. Jacob betrays those closest to him by stealing from his brother and cruelly deceiving his father in a “survival of the fittest” bid for the power and standing of a first born. Jacob is a fugitive on the run in the desert with his brother Esau – understandably angered and driven by a desire for vengenace – in hot pursuit. When Jacob lays down to sleep with a stone for a pillow the Lord gives him a vision. I think we’d hope or at the very least expect for him to be tormented by the restless dreams of the guilty and that his conscience would be seared and awoken. But instead Jacob is blessed with a vision of grand beauty, angels ascending and descending stairs. More than that, he’s given a promise:

“…All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. Yes. I’ll stay with you, I’ll protect you wherever you go, and I’ll bring you back to this very ground. I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you.”

And so it goes with Jacob, he lies, he cheats, he steals and leaves in his wake a trail of broken and befuddled people. And yet God blesses him and continues to direct him surely down the path that was always set for him.

Much later, Jacob encounters the Angel of The Lord Himself, and has the gall to wrestle with him and demand to be blessed yet again. He is blessed with a new name and a wound he would carry in his walk for the rest of his days,
this wild horse of a man broken at last.

It’s a mysterious story that has such a ring of truth to it because of how difficult it is to make a nice and tidy morality tale out of it. It reminds me that those who are broken and walk with more of a limp than a swagger have most likely met with God. It reminds me, too, that God’s will for my own life has less to do with my own virtues than I would like to think. That is both humbling and a relief.


jonathan-rogers-thumb.gifJonathan RogersI know you said Old Testament, but can I offer up an obscure New Testament story? The story of Philemon has become one of my favorites. Philemon was a leader of the church–Colossae, I think it was. Apparently the local church met at his house. He was also a slave-owner. One of his slaves, a man named Onesimus, ran away. Not only that, he apparently stole from Philemon on his way out the door–not an uncommon thing for fleeing slaves, I shouldn’t think. Somewhere along the line, Onesimus became a Christian and ended up with Paul, who was imprisoned, probably in Ephesus or Rome. I like to imagine Onesimus was a jailbird (perhaps he continued his thieving ways and got caught?) who had the misfortune of being cell-mates with Paul. “I’m bunking with a preacher?! And he’s friends with the slavemaster I ran away from?!” (I’m just being imaginative; the book of Philemon doesn’t indicate that they were roommates).

However they knew each other, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon to face the music. But he did more than that. He wrote Philemon a letter on behalf of Onesimus. He said, in effect, “I’m not going to tell you what to do, but I’m sending Onesimus back to you, and I hope you’ll find it in your heart to receive him, not as a slave, but as a brother. Receive Onesimus as you would receive me. And if he has wronged you, charge it to my account.” Here is the gospel at work–making brothers out of slaves and slavemasters. We don’t think of there being a lot of narrative in Paul’s epistles, but this particular one seems like part of an epistolary novel. I’d love to know what happened when (or if) Onesimus got back to Colossae.


pete-peterson-thumb.gif Pete Peterson – Well mine, as you may have figured out from the picture at the top of the post, is Samson. I mean, holy cow! This guy kills people with the jawbone of an ass! It’s amazing to me that there’s never been a great movie made of this story (at least not one that I’ve seen). Maybe the reason is that it’s just too well known to really surprise anyone. I don’t know. It completely fits the mold of movies like Spartacus, Braveheart, Gladiator and the like and I’d love to see it done right. The imagery of Samson in chains between the pillars at the end of the story is cinematic gold. Someone needs to get on that.

Profile photo of Pete Peterson

Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.


28 Comments

  1. Caleb Land

    I think the story of Jephthah is one of the best and one of the most tragic stories in the scriptures. First it is a great story of redemption that alludes to the gospel in that Jephthah is the despised and rejected who ultimately becomes the savior of Israel. That’s the great part.

    Unfortunately it ends up being one of the most difficult stories to digest as he is forced to kill his own daughter because of his tragic and hasty vow after his victory over the Ammonites.

  2. Jud

    The exploits of David’s “Mighty Men” always seemed cool to me in a “Wild at Heart” sort of way (2 Sam. 23:8-39). What could be cooler than a dude killing 800 guys with a spear in a single encounter? If nothing else this passage provided ample fodder for choosing names for my video game warrior characters.

    There’s some pretty interesting stuff in Judges, too. The story of Ehud (Judges 3:12-30) never fails to middle school boys chuckling when they discover it for the first time.

    And I’d be negligent to not mention one of my favorite bits of Biblical trash-talk: “He who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.” (1 Kings 20:11)

  3. Kory

    My favorite OT account has become the story of Josiah. Accounted in 1 Kings 13, 2 Kings 21+, and 2 Chron 33+, Josiah is a king who comes to rule at a very young age (8, I think) and in the midst of his reign, when he was about my age, actually, uncovers the “book of the law,” or “book of the covenant, “presumed to be Deuteronomy. Upon learning and comprehending the contents of the book, he goes on an absolute rampage of both personal and “national” repentance, destroying every idol and “high place” that he can get his hands on. The scriptures account that neither before nor after Josiah was there ever a king that turned to God with such fervor and commitment. He is, in a manner of speaking, the model King of the Kings. There’s much more to the story – God’s promise to Josiah about his death is very interesting to me, as well as the way/reason why he dies. But I won’t ruin the story. 🙂

    For me, this account is relevant today and speaks deeply to the sin of idolatry. It also exemplifies the personal ferocity involved in a truly holy posture of repentance. In fact, this was a word given to me about three years ago at a time in my life when God was demanding my full attention; subsequently, I took the model of Josiah’s heart towards God and made it my own. During that time, I was given a dream through which God prompted me very directly and clearly to reach out to the woman who is now my wife-to-be. So, as you might imagine, this scripture has become very important to me, indeed, as it reveals something about God’s character which I never understood before I met King Josiah.

    –kory

  4. Loren Eaton

    An anonymous prophet is sent to proclaim doom to the house of Jeroboam. He does so, spliting the idolatrous altar and withering the king’s hang with a word. Then he sets off for home after telling everyone that the Lord has commanded him to neither eat or drink.

    On the way back, he meets an old prophet who has heard of his miraculous works. The old prophet lies to him, telling him that an angel appeared and said that he could eat with him. The anonymous prophet consents. During the meal, the Spirit falls on the old prophet, who proclaims that the anonymous prophet won’t lie in the tomb of his fathers for his disobedience. True enough, soon after a lion leaps on the anonymous prophets as he’s riding his donkey and tears him to pieces.

    The lion doesn’t touch the donkey, though, and the donkey doesn’t flee. The two creatures stand there until the old prophet comes and takes away the body and buries it.

    I love this story. It’s like a highly moral and surreal horror story, and almost no one ever talks about it.

  5. Kory

    God, I love the way the stories fit together. It is the anonymous prophet that Loren speaks of who tells of Josiah’s coming reign 🙂 It’s curious and ironic that the one about whom he prophesies is served a “peaceful” death for his unwavering obedience, while the anonymous prophet himself is served to the lions for his unwitting disobedience.

    –kory

  6. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Pete,

    Maybe AP could work the phrase “jawbone of an ass” into a song. It’s got a good double meaning

    I do wish this synonym for “donkey” hadn’t been turned into a vulgar word in these past 30 years. Several times in the Narnia books one of the Pevensies says, “Oh, don’t be an ass.”

    Long live the KJV.

  7. John Michalak

    Perhaps my favorite is the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. I know it’s typically used a typology for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, but for me, rooted in that typology, it has multiple nuances, despite it’s lack of descriptive detail. As an abstract, “concept” guy, it really works for me.

    One, is it play on the words, “to see ahead” and “provision”. Abraham probably gets the most mention in the Hebrews 11 chapter on Faith, and this Genesis 22 account is a big reason. Faith is described as trusting in what is “unseen” but I believe a broader, more practical definition would be to “see as God sees”, i.e., to trust in God’s character to provide.

    Abraham is commanded to go forth and do something unimaginable, and the story mentions him more than once, “looking ahead in the distance” at what was then a mysterious destination and a terrifying future. Isaac was the provision he’d been waiting decades for, and now God was testing him as to who he believed was his ultimate provision–God or Isaac. So it was a question of Abraham’s faith in God’s faithfulness, his trust in God’s integrity to provide for Abraham’s ultimate need. The climax is when Abraham, “lifts his eyes and looks” and this time, sees his provision appear, the “ram caught in the thicket” who he could sacrifice in the stead of his son.

    It’s also a powerful lesson on the relationship between faith and works. Abraham was certainly saved by God’s initiative and grace (in relation to his confession of faith in it), but, as with the rest of us that didn’t necessarily dictate how well Abraham would obey God in the real-world. As James 2:22 claims so emphatically, Abraham’s “faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.” Faith saw its natural result, or end.

    As I said, the details in this narrative are understated, to say the least, but this story has more pathos than I’ve seen in most of Scripture. I could go on and on. 🙂

  8. Nate

    There’s a Southern Gospel song with “with the jawbone of an ass” in it. I think Ivan Parker sang it. (I can just hear his voice singing the lyric.)

    There are so many great stories. My fave comes from Exodus 1. There is a Pharoah who is so obsessed with his legacy and his name that he has pyramids and statues built to commemorate himself. But his name is nowhere in the Bible. It is forgotten. Then he commands the Hebrew midwives – Shiphrah and Puah – to murder the Hebrew children by throwing them into the river. They deal shrewdly with the Pharoah and the Lord blesses them with children of their own. Not only that, He enters THEIR names into the eternal Word of God which will never pass away. They will be remembered forever.

    But the Lord doesn’t stop there. He says to Pharoah: You want a Nile River full of blood? You got it. But it wasn’t how the pharoah imagined it. It was foreshadowed with one of the early plagues, but then came to true fruition when the pharoah’s army chased after the people of God and the Lord destroyed them and drowned them in the Nile.

    The Nile was the well-spring of life for Egypt and the pharoah decided to make it into a graveyard. God said Ok, but I’m going to do it MY way.

    It is an amazing foreshadowing of the gospel where the pharoah behind the pharoah, Satan, tries to defeat the Son of God on a cross of wood. The pharoah behind the pharoah indwells Judas Iscariot to betray Christ for 30 pieces of silver, but then he sees, on that cross in Golgotha, his own head crushed. And in that action, the people of God are redeemed.

    I heard AP say one time in response to the request that he should do an Easter story like BTLOG: “But “Behold the Lamb of God” IS the Easter story.”

  9. Rebecca LuElla Miller

    Wonderful collection of stories. I think some of my favorites are Hezekiah’s stories. One, his prayer before God with the Assyrian’s in siege mode, then the unexpected summons from home that spared Judah.

    The other is Hezekiah’s prayer for healing and then being healed, though the word from God initially was the illness would lead to death. (The not so fun afterward is his showing off for the officials from Babylon).

    Becky

  10. Aaron Roughton

    Sometimes I speak with the jawbone of an ass.

    I too dig the story of Jacob. As Jason points out, the dude is not a model for fine Christian behavior. In fact, he’s a shyster. I heard an opinion once that this is why the Angel of the Lord wrastled him…He knew that the only way Jacob would accept a blessing from him is if he fought for it. Jacob would have been suspicious of a freebie. It’s a cool picture of God’s willingness to work within the constraints of our brokenness…if we insist on making things difficult.

    Great idea for On The Table!

  11. Charlotte

    I think one of my favorites, although it’s sad is the story of Michal, King David’s first wife. I just find it fascinating, the way her father married her to David, but she loved him, then David goes off, and she is married off again, then he returns, and she has to leave her second husband. It’s just such a sad story for her, and it makes you wonder all the details. I also love the story of Rebecca and Isaac. How the servant found her, etc. There are so many great ones!

  12. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Charlotte,

    A similar thing struck me recently – I’ve lately been really putting flesh and blood on the Biblical accounts. Jacob was heading with his whole cast of characters o meet Esau for the first time in years, and was afraid. He put Bilhah and Zilpah first, then Leah and her kids, and then Rachel last with her boys. And I suddenly wondered how the other wives felt about that – and how their sons felt when their father put them in front of Joseph and Benjamin in the Esau-might-kill-us-all line. It’s a small wonder years later that they hated Joseph so much that they sold him into slavery; that hatred had been built up by years of extreme favoritism.

  13. Mike

    Since Russ already described my favorite and quite beautifully I might add, I’ll tell you my favorite second story.Its the story of Cain and Abel. I know, how can this be on my list. Cain kills his brother, the first murder and all that. But think about it Cain works his tail off trying to please the Lord and Abel sits under a shade tree and counts his cows, sheep, etc. God provided the animal, the grass the animal ate and all Abel has to do is pick the best one and give it back to the Giver. Cain on the other hand tills the ground, hoes the weeds, fertilizes, harvests, and offers it to God. All his work wasn’t good enough. Its all about grace.

  14. Kerry

    A couple of my favourites have been mentioned already, so I’ll name one that hasn’t been – Deborah and Barak. It’s a lesson of the failure of masculinity. And it features one of the hardest passages of Scripture to swallow, in the Song of Deborah and Barak (Judges 5):

    24 “Most blessed of women be Jael,
    the wife of Heber the Kenite,
    of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
    25 He asked water and she gave him milk;
    she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.
    26 She sent her hand to the tent peg
    and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
    she struck Sisera;
    she crushed his head;
    she shattered and pierced his temple.
    27 Between her feet
    he sank, he fell, he lay still;
    between her feet
    he sank, he fell;
    where he sank,
    there he fell—dead.

    28 “Out of the window she peered,
    the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice:
    ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
    Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
    29 Her wisest princesses answer,
    indeed, she answers herself,
    30 ‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?—
    A womb or two for every man;
    spoil of dyed materials for Sisera,
    spoil of dyed materials embroidered,
    two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’

    31 “So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!
    But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”

    There’s nothing like mocking your enemy’s mother right after her son has been killed. And how many worship songs like this have been written recently?

  15. Micah Pick

    I’m definately going to have to say that Ehud is my favorite. Another Judges favorite is when the tribe of Benjamen have to steal their wives at a dance. Also I’ve always that Ahad’s wars against Ben-Hadad made a great story. And one last one in Jeremiah 38, where the prophet is thrown into a cistern, and someone comes and rescues him. The Bible even takes the time to let us know that his recuer finds it important to put rags between his armpits and the rope. Apparently God wants to keep us from ropeburn. Which is a comforting thought to me.

  16. christina

    “He who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.” (1 Kings 20:11)

    That’s my favorite one-liner in the entire Bible! In fact, Ahab is my favorite character. He is gloriously evil. He almost upstages Elijah the way bad-guy Alan Rickman upstages good-guy Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

    He has humor in the most dire straits: calling Elijah “you troubler of Israel,” saying to him, “So you have found me, my enemy!”, and about Micaiah saying, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”–sounds like a kid complaining.

    Then when he heard God’s curse, he actually “tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.” Even he could be humbled…for a time. Classic humanity.

    He acts like a child refused a toy, sulking and refusing to eat because he can’t have Naboth’s vineyard.

    He’s too human to be a king; he has more personality to me than all the others…even King David. And God gave more details of his life, I think, than any of the other kings after Solomon. I get the feeling that God really loves him, that He gets a kick out of messing with him, in spite of all his folly. Dry sense of humor, spunk, selfish fits…I like him.

  17. Tony Heringer

    Some great stories mentioned here. One that is a favorite, because it is so weird is the story of Judah and Tamar (Gen 38). From chapter 37 on, it appears the Genesis story will wrap up with the life of Joseph – the noble, proud, dreamer. But, God has Moses put in this strange tale of Tamar tricking Judah into giving her an heir. At the time of first hearing this tale it had to seem like a throw away. Joseph was the significant figure as he got Israel to Egypt and seemingly good times (the calm before the slavery storm).

    But Messiah was to come from the line of Judah. So, here in this odd little tale, we see the unfaithful ones are being woven into the human line that will bring us Jesus. Later on that line meanders to Rahab the Gentile and possible prostitute (Tamar posed as one to trick Judah). Then we have David and Bathsheba. Bathsheba is known in the New Testament as Uriah’s wife Another side note: Uriah was one of David’s Mighty Men. They are mentioned in a post up above. To me this just makes David’s sin even that much more despicable and Judas-like. But, isn’t that just what we have in David? The man after God’s own heart is like us which is what makes God’s grace sooooo amazing!! I love David, because I can identify with him — he had rooftop gazing, I’ve got the Internet (the 21st eqivalent according to one pastor).

    It is the stories of this kind that make reading those genealogies a little more tolerable. Matthew points this up in his genealogy by mentioning these women plus Ruth (another favorite OT story – the clearest picture of redemption we have in the OT) and Mary who is mentioned to connect Joseph to the line of Messiah. Joseph finally gets his due, if in name only.

    Good thread! How about a new thread on what folks are reading this summer? I know there are some good books being read with this crowd.

  18. christina

    Quote: “Another side note: Uriah was one of David’s Mighty Men. They are mentioned in a post up above. To me this just makes David’s sin even that much more despicable and Judas-like.” –Tony Heringer

    That’s a really interesting idea! I always assumed that Uriah had received his title “Mighty Man” as an honorary posthumous award, as David’s way of apologizing to a dead man.

    Sort of like Rich Mullins received his ONE Dove Award (one? get real…) after his death. (Oh, I probably shouldn’t have written that…:-)

  19. Rebecca LuElla Miller

    Another powerful piece of biography for me is Ezekiel lying on his side for 390 days as a picture of the siege of Israel, then lying on the other side for 40 days to picture the siege of Jerusalem. He had a set amount of food and water and was originally supposed to cook over human dung. God relented on that one and allowed him to use the dung of cattle instead.

    Or how about Hosea who God told to marry a prostitute. She kept returning to her profession and God kept telling Hosea to bring her back.

    Becky

  20. Charlotte

    Ron-
    I know exactly what you mean. Imagine you’re stuck in the front of the group! You’d sure find out how much you meant to Jacob! It’s really fascinating to think what it must have been like for these people to experience the bible stories. It must have been hard for Joseph’s brothers to always be less important than their younger brother. I wonder how similar the situation was with Benjamin, after Joseph was gone.

  21. c.Lates

    Maybe it’s because I’m a southpaw as well, but I definitely have to go with Ehud. I enjoy the picture the writer creates of the knife, handle and all, sinking into the obscenely large belly of King Eglon.

    Ezekiel 23 is also a good graphic chapter to read. You’ll never read this one in Sunday School!

  22. becky

    My favorite changes all the time. Ask me a month from now and I’ll probably give you a different answer. But right now I would say the whole book of Joshua. If you study the background, every little thing that happens in that book has meaning. It is so rich.

    And you have to love Caleb (or I do anyway). Almost every time he is mentioned in the Bible it says that he “followed God wholeheartedly.” I love his attitude in Joshua 14 when he is asking Joshua to give him the land God promised to him. “So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out. I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites (giants) were there and their cities were large and fortified, but the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” He knows the power of the one who is fighting on his side, and neither giants nor his own advanced years frighten him in the least.

    Finally, the ending of the book is just perfect to me. Joshua gives his final address to the people and sends them away to their own inheritances. Something that they have not had since Abram left Ur. Joshua dies and is buried in the land of his inheritance–what he has spent his whole life working and fighting for. And Joseph’s bones, saved for 400 years in Egypt, carried for 40 years through the wilderness, and kept safe through the time of fighting, were buried in Shechem. Where God first made the promise to Abraham that he would give him the land of Canaan. Everything has come full circle. “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed: every one was fulfilled.” (Joshua 21:43) It doesn’t get much better than that.

  23. whipple

    Is anyone else glad when Solomon’s commander finally kills Joab?

    Joab seems to have some fear for the Lord (it feels a little more like superstition than respect, given the nature of his selfish attitude), but it certainly doesn’t prevent him from being a complete schmuck. Then he’s finally revealed to be a complete coward, hanging on to the horns of the altar and refusing to leave the tabernacle and come out to face the music.

    I heave a big sigh of relief every time I see him go down, kind of like watching Jason Isaacs’ character die in The Patriot.

    And yeah, that is really quite disturbing that I feel that way.

  24. Bret Welstead

    Pete, I was thinking the same thing about Samson needing to be a movie. In fact, I said something to that effect to my wife after we read through it last month. Strength, heroics, love, betrayal: it’s got so many great story elements in it. It could be a hit… bigger than Left Behind. 🙂

  25. Dusty Caldwell

    My favorite has to be the book of Hosea. The imagery of the book is so powerful in its representation of the unmerited and unconditional love of Christ. Hosea takes for himself a wife Gomer, who was chosen for him by God, that is a prostitute. Gomer is unfaithful to him, and it appears that their children may not even be his. Gomer sells herself into slavery and Hosea buys her back. God however uses this situation as prophecy of the coming bridegroom of Israel, Christ, who is faithful despite their unfaithfulness, and will redeem them for himself despite their sinfulness. We were completely and utterly unfaithful and unable to keep the law, but Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. To quote Derek Webb (this story brings to mind the song “wedding dress”), we were that whore (Gomer), and Christ bought us for himself in our sinful state. The unbelievable use of imagery always reminds me of C. S. Lewis, and his excellent use of imagery in his stories, especially Narnia. I also love the bride of Christ description of the Church that is beginning to develop here and will be used by Paul so beautifully in the NT.

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