OK, so I confess that the Old Testament has been stressing me out lately. I mean no irreverence by saying that. In fact, if you know me, you know I am an avid studier and follower of the Bible. Last April, I decided I would work my way through reading the entire New Testament (mostly using my audiobooks). I have grown up in church and I got to the point where I felt like I had heard every story in the Bible a million and one times.
So, listening to it on audiobooks has kind of revolutionized my study of it … it makes the writers, the people, and Jesus Himself seem more real, more human. When your brain doesn’t automatically pause at each verse, you start hearing and understanding certain things in their fullness. It’s a beautifully written masterpiece and I enjoyed drawing comparisons across each book as I went through them. Though each writer has his own voice, the message remains consistent. All in all, I really enjoyed the New Testament. I decided I should go ahead and make it my goal to study the Old Testament the same way so that at some point in 2009, I will have completely read through the entire Bible.
But, HOLY FREAKING COW. Going to the Old Testament after the New Testament was like seeing how the problem was solved only to go back in time and watch the horrifying train wreck happen before your very eyes! And just like a real train wreck, I can’t look away no matter how disturbing it is. By the 3rd chapter of Genesis, Adam and Eve had completely blown it for all time! (I already knew this, of course, but I’m trying to approach each story from a fresh perspective.)
Sometimes I wish I could jump into the book and roundhouse kick a few of the idiots (yes, I said roundhouse kick because Chuck Norris is all my students have talked about lately). It’s very interesting to me how Adam and Eve hid in the Garden once they disobeyed God and they actually believed God didn’t know where they were and what they had done?! Seriously? Picture this … they’re hiding, God sees them, and yet He still plays along with their charade until they’re ready to confess. Same with Cain … did he REALLY believe God didn’t know he had killed Abel?! I am AMAZED at how these people underestimated God … but then, are WE really all that different? Even I have to admit I underestimate God, too.
OK, so then I get completely creeped out with some of the ways these people handle the situations they are thrown into. For instance, when they moved Abraham told Sarah to tell people she was his sister so they would avoid any problems. And then he just LETS the king take his WIFE into his home because the king doesn’t know they are married. How weird. If Sam told me to do that, I’d be like, “what is wrong with you?!”
And don’t even get me started on Lot … his daughter gets him drunk and sleeps with him and the dude doesn’t even REMEMBER what happened. Now, I know they had all this importance placed on preserving the family line, but REALLY?! And what kind of a father offers his two daughters up to the men of the city in order to deter them from their focus on the visiting angels? LOT! Again, had I been his daughter in my post-feministic mind, I probably would have had a few kind words for my father.
All this to say that NOBODY is ever allowed to argue with me about the Bible being boring. That book contains more drama than any book ever to hit the New York Times Bestsellers List. It’s full of people who messed up and had to run back to God to fix it. Is that really so different from what we do today?
And I don’t want to hear that things are so different nowadays and that the world has just gone downhill because from my vantage point, that is simply just not true. We are dealing with nothing new under the sun … and if that’s the case, then we could really learn from these people in the Bible. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I cannot forget Sodom and Gomorrah and the fate of Lot’s wife. Gives me chills.
Perhaps we all need a roundhouse kick in the butt …