Do you like detective shows? I sure do! Figuring out a mystery, hunting for clues, and accomplishing justice makes for an entertaining way to spend the evening. Hunting for clues isn’t foreign to Bible study either.
Discovering truth in God’s Word is an adventure. It meets us where we are in life and shows us the next step. “What’s the answer to this problem? How can I make this relationship better? What actions and character qualities has God promised to bless?” And so on.
To know God and His Word on a deeper level, some investigating is needed; some hunting. One way to discover the treasures that are in the Bible is to look for contrasts—things that are different; opposites.
In your quiet time, have you ever looked for people who are opposites to see what God is teaching us through them?
Recently, I finished reading the book of Judges. Talk about a culture in which crime was prevalent and justice needing to be served! The people of Israel not only had to deal with foreign enemies, but they battled sin as a spiritual enemy. There was no king in those days to be an example of truth and justice.
“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6, NKJV
When there was a righteous judge, the people did what was right. But when the judge died, they went back to sin. It’s a good book to show us how far sin can take us down the wrong road if we let it.
The evil men of the book of Judges are a blatant contrast to the love interest found in the next book of the Bible, the book of Ruth.
Ruth shows us that Boaz was a man of honor. Someone you’d want to find as the romantic lead of any TV show or movie. Someone you’d want to find in real life.
Ruth, herself, was a woman in need of a hero. Her husband had died; her mother-in-law, Naomi, was severely depressed; and they both needed food during a famine. When Ruth went to Bethlehem with Naomi, she went to work in the fields gathering the grain left behind by the harvesters.
Over time, God’s sovereign hand led her to the one man who could help her and give her a home and a family—Boaz. He protected her, loaded her arms with food, admired her faith and hard work, and didn’t take advantage of her. He was a true gentleman, and she came under his “wing”; under his protection and care. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a man like that?
God uses contrasts to get our attention.
Think about David and Goliath. Cain and Abel. Jacob and Esau. Peter and Judas. Saul who became Paul. The Bible is full of clashing personalities, beliefs, actions, and motivations. If you need something to hunt for in your quiet time, record in your journal the contrasting people you see, and ask yourself these questions:
1-What character qualities did the “opposites” have? What should I imitate, and what should I avoid?
2- Does Scripture trace how the people became good or evil? What smaller choices led to bigger ones? How can I follow God as they did, or not make the same mistakes?
3-What were the consequences of these people’s actions? How did their sin or error hurt them, or how did God bless them for their faith or courage?
Do some investigating of your own, and sketch the profiles of the people in the Bible. You’ll discover some character-building treasures and life-changing principles.
This post is first in a mini-series called The Investigative Quiet Time. Subscribe to the Pursue blog to receive future posts in this series and from other columns in your inbox!
Katy Kauffman – Column: Quiet Time Tips: Delighting in God and His Word