R-Rated: Preaching the Wrathful Passages of the OT
Tips to help wade through these difficult texts and preach a God who takes justice seriously.
"You shall utterly destroy them." "Leave alive nothing that breathes." These violent texts of the Old Testament may seem shocking and even morally offensive to our "civilized" ears. So how can we better understand the character of God and live faithful lives before him as we probe these puzzling, troubling texts? How do pastors go about unpacking these texts for their hearers? Simply ignoring them will not do. Some scholars will claim that any texts connecting God to violence are the result of ancient writers' own superimposed barbaric views rather than reflecting the true character of the "actual God." But this move imposes a pacifistic grid on the Old Testament that Jesus himself and others in the New Testament do not assume. Other theologians simply allegorize these texts—although, again, the New Testament doesn't take this view (Acts 7:45; 13:19).
Since all Scripture is profitable for our learning (2 Tim. 3:16-17), we can benefit ...