The Breadth of Scripture

We are going through Genesis on Sunday nights, and and so far we are up to about chapter 41, right in the middle of the story of Joseph. I enjoy going through chapter by chapter, as it gives me a chance to preach sermons I would normally not, such as think carefully before agreeing to be circumcised, and any prostitute who agrees to a deal for a goat is probably up to no good.

Now we come to the story of Joseph. Chapter 39 closes with Joseph sitting in prison, and God basically saying "It's okay, I'm with you, and I have a plan!" Chapter 40 deals with the butler and baker and their dreams, and Joseph asking the butler to remember him when he is restored by Pharaoh. Chapter 40 closes with the words that the butler did no remember Joseph, and I see this picture of Joseph sitting in the dungeon, with rags for clothes, his head in his hands, wondering what God is doing with him.

As I said before, I love going through chapter by chapter, because I never would have preached on this story. We want to preach on Joseph being victorious, and David killing the giant. We don't want to hear about these dark places in scripture. Places where men commit unspeakable acts against God and their fellow man like David, or where God seems to have forgotten someone like Joseph rotting in the prison.

Scripture says all scripture is profitable. To me, we don't do justice to scripture if we don't preach these stories. The return of Joseph is so much sweeter when we know the depths of travail that he went through. Hear the pain in his voice as he asks the butler to remember him.

"Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.
"For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon."

All of scripture is profitable. It is easy to preach on the stories of conquering giants, pulling down Jericho, surviving the flood, receiving a promise from God, but they are made whole by the stories of adultery and murder and pride against God, wandering in the desert, drunken foolishness, and not believing God's promise and trying to make it happen yourself. (David, Israel, Noah, and Abraham for those interested.)

We must preach all of scripture. The triumph and the tragedy, the pain of wandering from God and the pleasure of basking the love of the Father. We do injustice to the scriptures if we do not take all of scripture, and only take whole. If we only take the good parts, we don't have Christianity. We end up with something altogether different.


Anonymous said…
i like that last link, it cracks me up.


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