Yesterday I began reflecting on a lecture that Bryan Chapell (pictured, left) gave this past June at the Encounter09 conference. Chappell is president and professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. His Bible teaching can be heard daily via the Internet on Living Christ 360.
But yesterday I talked about his emphasis is that one of our key preaching responsibilities is to look at each text and see what it teaches us about Christ.
In review, he held that all of scripture points to Christ’s person/work in one of four ways
- PREDICTING the coming & work of Christ
- PREPARING FOR the coming & work of Christ
- REFLECTING the coming & work of Christ
- A RESULT OF the coming & work of Christ
But what about some of those “hard” passages? How do the judges point to Christ…even the poor ones like Samson? We may find it easy to see Jesus in the throne & reign of David, but what about in the Bathsheba and Uriah story? Or his falling away in old age? What about Solomon’s compromise?
Chapell points out that some passages point to Christ in that they are meant to be dead ends: God has filled the Old Testament with caveats: “That is not the answer. Don’t go there.”
Oriental thinking is different from Western thinking, and the Bible is an oriental book. It is often speaking around the truth so that you can get to an understanding of the truth.
God sent Judges: perhaps they were the answer that God’s people needed. How does the judges plan work? Not well. While some of the judges were better than others, all of them fell short. After Samson’s judgeship, there is the condemning declaration “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6). First dead-end. A judge is not what we need.
OK, well if we only had a king! How does the kingship work? It was not enough. We glorify David, but even he falls woefully short.
OK, well if we only had a king with just enough wisdom then everything would be ok, right? How well did Solomon turn out for Israel? Another dead end.
There is dead end, after dead end in the Old Testament. None of the answers offered are enough.
But with Jesus,
- We’re going to have a better lawgiver
- We’re going to have to have a better judge
- We’re going to have to have a better king.
- We’re going to have an ultimate prophet
The Bible takes great care to tar every person in the Bible except one: the hero, God in Christ. In the Old Testament, some of the main players have good characteristics, some have bad characteristics, most are a confusing mix so that we can identify the perfect one when he comes.
So, what about hard cases like Samson, or David’s adultery, or Solomon’s polygamy and attendant idolatry.
There is only one who is sufficient for all our needs: Jesus Christ himself.
As they say, “That’ll preach.”
You can find the audio of this lecture here.