No other book is like the Bible. When we read the Bible, something happens.
Hebrews 4: 12 (KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(ESV) 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.
Deher: Stories tell us how to think and what to do. They teach us what to love, what to fear, what to hope for, and whom to trust. Stories reveal to us how we differ from others and who we are the same. They tell us where we came from , where we stand, and where we are going. Stories impose order on chaos. From grand cosmic myths to intimate family tales, it is in stories that we find meaing, purpose and the truths by which we live – or, if we are unlucky, the lies that lead us astray.
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If we don’t understand ourselves as part of a greater story, or tradition, we will have no idea what we are supposed to do with our lives. In our modern world, we have lost the story that for centuries gave most people in our culture a way to make sense of their lives: the biblical narrative.
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Our Lord understood Himself as a part of a greater story. He found himself in the scriptures.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
We should read the Bible because the story in the Bible is our story. It is the story in which we, in Christ, are saved and in which we play a part in the redemption of all of creation.
This morning, we are studying one of the very early episodes in this great story: the story of the plagues against Egypt. The Bible itself tells us why this particular story is of importance to us:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
Moses hears the gospel, is empowered by God to bring freedom to God’s people and Moses obeys.
Did they all live happily ever after?
What does this story tell us about the Christian life?
We can expect resistance. Dogged, irrational, insane, powerful resistance. This is the message not only of the story of the plagues, it is a message that pervades the bible, from Genesis to Revelation. We are to expect resistance of the most dogged, virulent and irrational kind.
We are also, finally, to expect victory.