Hello, Dear Reader.
It’s been a long while since I last blogged. Please, forgive my laziness.
Anyway, let’s get straight in.
I’m pretty sure many of you have heard a sermon, a message or seen a social-media post about David or Joseph (or another person in scripture) and the core of that message was linked to you, the individual – where you were the emphasis of the message.
How encouraging! How Nice! Nothing like a bit of eisegesis ( the act of imposing meaning or yourself onto a text and is often described in terms of reading one’s ideas “into” the text rather than “out of” it.) to convey a gospel message, right?
Eisegesis is something common in [some] churches today. Rather than read the scripture in context and give out the intended message some preachers tend to preach on the text, then point it in the wrong direction. Rather than a scripture message being read for what it is, some preachers divert and make the message about the audience. Preaching like this can be quite dangerous as it often subtly (sometimes blatantly) places emphasis on an individual rather than on God.
The whole Bible is for us Christians, no doubt about that. But we need to be discerning in what applies to us and what doesn’t. We need to understand context and interpretation. Job 32:8 “But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.”
Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
What we need to understand is that certain parts of the Bible (particularly the OT) are a foretaste and illustration of Jesus Christ and His work of Salvation.
Many times preachers will use David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) as a metaphor. It’s usually along the lines of this: Goliath represents a difficult situation, or even a person, being the opposition, standing in your way and it needs to be slain/taken down… and you represent David.
The preacher will speak with passion and half the audience will be up on their feet, lips pursed, shaking their heads with emotion.
Preacher: “Slay your Goliath. That Goliath must fall!!”
Now, don’t get me wrong I can understand what some preachers might be trying to convey when they use the story of David & Goliath. We all want obstacles in our lives to be brought down. But the thing is WE ourselves, do not bring down obstacles… in fact it’s only by His grace that we overcome obstacles and pass through trials. It is all for our own good and His glory (Romans 5:3-5).
Using ourselves metaphorically as the central character for David & Goliath is not the intention of this passage of scripture.
David’s story is a preview of Christ coming to kill sin & death and rescue His people.
We, the individuals, are compared to Israel; fearful, powerless, unable to fight and in need of a rescuer to fight for us. Just as David slayed Goliath, Jesus has slain sin, death and its power over us.
Let me ask, what happens when that Goliath of a situation rises again, hmmm?
How many obstacles/difficult situations do we face in life? Many.
But, how times did David kill Goliath? Just once.
One thing is certain… and that is the work Christ has done once and for all.
Joseph in the Old Testament
We are not “Joseph”. Some preachers may have you think that because people have rejected you (like Joseph by his brothers) and falsely accused you (like Potiphar’s wife did) or forgotten about you (like the chief cupbearer) that Joseph is a good character to liken yourself to. God will elevate you to a higher level and your enemies/those who wronged you will see you and be ashamed and sorry.
But let’s take another look at this story…
Joseph’s story can illustrate two things:
1) A picture of God’s work through Christ work towards us.
2) Joseph was used by God to save a Nation which as a result preserved the bloodline through which Jesus Christ, our Saviour came from.
This will not sound sweet but we were like the wicked brothers whom Joseph saved despite their evil against him – just as we sinned against Christ, yet He still saved us from death. The brothers rejected him and were hostile to him, yet He still displayed love and mercy to towards them -just as Christ merciful to us.
It was Joseph who made His identity known to his brothers -Just as Christ has made Himself known to us.
Joseph caused them to recognise their wickedness – (Read what they say in Genesis 42:21)- (just as Christ does to us) Joseph’s wisdom and kindness also help save a nation. Remember the famine?
It was Joseph who people went to for provision, just like us who are lacking; we come to Christ where abundance can be found.
And finally, the bowed to Joseph brothers in their remorse, humility and submission… Just like who? That’s right; us.
How come no one wants to be Job, or David during his dark moments? or how about Apostle Paul? No? Funny how folks tend to pick who they want to be and at which moment.
My point for all this is to make us know that Jesus is the central character of the Gospel. The Gospel points towards Him. He alone is the hero and we are the ones in need, the ones who need to be changed from our wicked ways, the ones who despite all our sins, are still loved by the Messiah. Romans 5:8: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
Peace and blessings to you all.