Even the Dull Parts of Scripture Provide Crucial Teaching

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

I’m convinced the most boring parts of the Bible can teach us far more than we realize.

If we were to list the most tedious sections of Scripture, three types of passages would probably dominate. First would be the lists: genealogies, exile records, and census information. Second: purity laws, like those associated with the Book of Leviticus. The third type consists of descriptions of buildings, like the second half of Exodus, parts of Kings and Chronicles, and the end of Ezekiel. Many of us are exhausted by reading these sections, skimming them in our Bible reading plans and rarely expounding on them in our preaching and teaching.

Yet they all contain gems that we easily fail to mine. One bit of popular theology, in particular, would be soundly squashed by carefully studying one or two “dull” texts. I’m referring to the idea taught—and even sung—in many churches today, that we need to wait for the Spirit’s presence. A close look at the building descriptions throughout the Old Testament challenges this common misconception.

In the second half of Exodus, God tells Israel how to construct the tabernacle. He gives instructions, in minute detail, on how to fund, build, furnish, and decorate the house of God (Ex. 25–31). They did it all exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses. After 15 chapters of detail, we are relieved to hear that “all the work of the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed” (39:32). And Moses blessed God’s people (39:43). With the house of God finally established, a fiery cloud covered the tent, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (40:34). Notice the chain of events:

God commands ⇒ the people obey ⇒ “the work was finished” ⇒ a blessing is given ⇒ God’s presence comes.

The next building project we encounter is Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 2–7). Instructions are given to David (1 Chron. 28:11–19), then carried out by his son Solomon (2 Chron. 2–4). After Solomon finished the work, he blessed the people (6:3), fire came down from heaven, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple (7:1–3). We see the same sequence of events as in Exodus: commands, obedience, “the work was finished,” blessing, presence.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Andrew Wilson