Saturday, September 01, 2012

Eat This Scroll

Tomorrow, Lord-willing, I will begin preaching the last 5 chapters of the book of Judges.

Yuck.

These chapters are so dark and ugly, and intentionally so, because they portray the the bottom of Israel's downward spiral. They paint a (grotesque) picture of what happens when God does not intervene.

I have seriously considered not preaching these chapters (esp. chp 19).

But I will.

These chapters are Scripture. They are God's word. And we need God's word--all of it.

I was helped this week in my daily Bible reading and devotional reading through D.A. Carson's For the Love of God (Vol. 2).

Carson is explaining yesterday's reading in Ezekiel 3, "And he said to me, 'Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.' So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, 'Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.' So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth."

...the opening part shows how important it is for the prophet to empathize with God and his perspective. Trailing on from the closing lines of chapter 2 and into the beginning of chapter 3, Ezekiel in his vision is commanded to eat a scroll with “words of lament and mourning and woe” (Ezek. 2:10) written on both sides. Ezekiel eats it and reports that “it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezek. 3:3). Why would a scroll full of “words of lament and mourning and woe” taste sweet? The point of the vision is that God’s words become sweet to Ezekiel simply because they are God’s words. God really does know best; he knows what is right. Therefore even when his words pronounce judgment and calamity, there is a sense in which the prophet must be empathetic to God’s perspective. [emphasis added]
That applies to Judges 17-21, as well.

All Scripture is God-breathed and useful, and I'm going to do my best to show it this Sunday and next.