One of the premises that we're working off of in my Old Testament Pentateuch class is that the traditional order of the Bible according to the Protestants is actually not the order that the books were intended to be read. That the Bible was not intended to be chronologically ordered, but rather theologically ordered. (The corollary is that the Jewish order is actually correct, with Chronicles at the end, instead of right after Kings)
As I've been reading more and more, I find myself swayed by that argument. One example -
One big change is that Ruth, instead of being after Judges, now is lumped together with the Writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiasties, Job)
When you finish Judges and transition to Samuel, you actually find that to really be the case.
Judges ends with 4 chapters of complete depravity. We have a idol being made, a priest conscripted to serve this idol, a concubine being raped and cut up, Israel waging war on Benjamin, a weird kidnapping scene. And the reader sits there and wonders, "what in the world is going on here? What is wrong with all these people!?"
And through it all, the answer was given, "There was no king in Israel..."
The reader is led to say, "oh man! We need a king! We need order and peace that a king provides! Where is our king?!"
Now, if you finish that book and begin Ruth, you're confused, "what happened to our king? What happened to the depravity?" The book just doesn't fit.
But instead, if you begin with 1 Samuel, then you feel it fit - the people are depraved here, and there is no vision of the Lord, but there's Samuel! But then the people ask for a king! And you get the, "ah ha, Judges is preparing us for this moment!" But then of course, you feel the incredible failures of repeated kings - Saul, David, Solomon, and then the divided kingdom - and you realize, "We need the true king of Israel!" And that sets the stage for the rest of the Bible.
1 Samuel 1: 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him.
I think this is an interesting idea. “Do what seems best to you, only, may the Lord establish his word.” In other words – do what you think is best, but we still pray that the will of the Lord be done. I think this is a great balance between desiring to honor god with our decision and doing what we feel is best. The Bible’s answer is, “both.” We don’t need to balance our decision making with honoring the Lord. We can do what we feel is best, and still at the same time be praying, “may the Lord establish his word.”
Deuteronomy 7:6–9 (ESV)
6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Why does God choose us and make us a treasured possession?
Why does God set his love on us and choose us?
It’s not because of our might and strength and power, but because God is keeping his oath, because God is the sovereign Lord of all! Israel
doesn’t deserve God’s love just like we don’t deserve God’s love.
We were not great, God did not decide, “oh yeah, Mickey is a smart guy, I’ll choose him for my team.”
No, God’s electing choice of me points me out as foolish and weak, as empty and worthless to the world, but chosen in order that the world might be shamed.
May I never forget my former ways of life, my hostility, my emptiness, my pride and boasting in my self.
Praise the Lord, God saves sinners.
Labels: Deuteronomy, Reflections