The Bible is weird. Confusing. Intimidating.
But the Bible can also be absurd. Shocking. And at times appalling.
The Bible tells one unified story about God. We see this fully realized in Jesus and the work of the Spirit. So it is easy to read the words of Jesus when he says: “Love your enemy” or the words of John, one of his earliest followers, when he says: “God is love”.
But it is much more difficult to read accounts like this from Moses:
“the Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them—men, women and children. We left no survivors.” - Deuteronomy 2:33-34
How could a God that is love slaughter seemingly innocent people? Is this not hypocritical?
You may have asked these questions. Or you’ve wondered if the God of the Bible is so great why do such horrible things happen? Where was this God of love on 9/11, at Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub, or your own personal experience of hell on earth.
If the Bible is a collection of books about this incredible God, then what are we to do with the appalling parts of the Bible and the appalling parts of our lives?
I don’t have all the answers and I probably have a lot of the same questions that you have, so over the next two weeks we are going to ask these questions together. We are going to look at these complicated parts of the Bible. Now I won’t have a nice easy answer that resolves all this, but what I do have is a complicated, nuanced, and challenging grand narrative about a God that created the universe and decides to draw close to you and me.