The deeper I journey into the Bible via this Challenge, the more I am aware of (and persuaded by) the deep desire of God to be in relationship with humanity, and of humanity's innate ability to create dissonance in its relationship to God and with itself. Just when things are flowing well in one quarter of the story of our lives, in another part of our selves rebellion, sin, conflict and contention are brewing. It provides a significant quotient of the drama in scripture. Most of the conflicts we are reading about now in the first book of Kings offer fabulous examples of just how hinky life can get when we turn from God's will and (by the judgment of scripture), embrace ways that deprive us of the persuasion that it is God alone who makes, sustains and saves us in this life.
|A little test of faith, Elijah versus the prophets of Baal|
|The widow of Zarephath, her son and the Prophet|
|Priscilla and Aquila tutor Apollos|
For us, reading the scriptures, we are embracing a model of persuasion that has persisted throughout human history, embracing the testimony of our ancestors and absorbing those experiences so that we might seek and know God more fully in the here and now. Our challenge is to take those experiences, use them as a lens by which to see God at work in our lives today; and then offer our own witness to God's grace and glory working in us "more than we can ask or imagine" in order that others will be persuaded that God is truly present, and is active, in the world.