Running to Bethlehem
March 12, 2010
Okay, I'll take the bait. Carl just wrote, "If the game is simply to get from Text A to Bethlehem, what do you do with a book like Judges? Preach 200 sermons which essentially say, 'This judge failed, but surprise, surprise, there is a judge who didn't fail; let's talk about him, shall we'?" My gut reaction is, well, actually, yes, that's exactly what I'd do.
And that's because one of the key insights of Reformed theology is our stress upon the unfolding covenant story of the Bible. What we find in the OT tells us something about God and something about ourselves--that God is a glorious Redeemer who will send a Seed who will triumph over the enemy and that we are sinners who are in deep need of God's deliverance. And beginning with Matthew 1, we find in Jesus that he is the Seed who has come to save his people from their sins.
As a result, while I would be careful to pay attention to what the text in front of me says and means--who was Gideon, for example; what was God doing there; etc.--I would point out repeatedly that 1) God is the true deliver and judge of his people; 2) that human judges failed repeatedly and were not the promised Seed; but 3) that the Seed would come and he will be a perfect Judge and King who would come and rule forever.
If there isn't a sense in which God serves as the main "hero" of the story in whatever text to which we come, then it really isn't preaching. If we are simply content with delivering the content of the text in front of us without making those, dare I say it, Christ-centered connections and applications, then what we are delivering really is an OT lecture that could easily be delivered at your local synagogue.
And so, I'm pretty content to run week-by-week to Bethlehem and Calvary--whether I'm preaching Colossians or Exodus (as I'm right now). Because it is only as I preach Christ from whatever text I come across do I remain faithful to my calling as a Gospel minister.