Recently my five-year-old granddaughter “wrote” a story. Her creative mind and artistic abilities never cease to amaze me. As if by osmosis from listening to countless stories, she seems to know that every good story entails characters, a setting, conflict, plot and a theme. The plot of her story involves the timeless conflict between good versus evil. But what really caught my attention were the super-heroes of her story: Pooh Bear and his trusty sidekick Piglet.
Poor Rabbit became the villain.
Just by glancing through her picture book, one can sort of make out the plot of the story. Rabbit is up to no good. Yet, never fear, Pooh has super-hero, lightning power to stop Rabbit from his evil antics.
Have you ever imagined Pooh Bear as a superhero? Oh, a cute, lovable bear for sure! But I never suspected that his fuzzy exterior harbored such incredible powers!
It is also interesting to note the “point of view” of the story. In this case, the story is told from the narrator’s point of view, and this narrator happens to be a five-year-old little girl who adores Pooh Bear.
When studying the Bible, we also find characters, settings, conflict, a plot, and various themes. The Bible is presented as one cohesive book, made up of 66 distinct books categorized into two different parts, the Old and New Testament. Incorporating various types of genres, these 66 books were written over a span of thousands of years by various authors and from a variety of points of view. Often when reading the Bible, we spend very little time contemplating the point of view of these various authors. Instead, we tend to read the Bible from our own point of view. When we speak to the Bible from our own vantage point, it’s easy to make the Bible about us and miss the point of the author altogether.
The Bible is not about us.
Rather each book of the Bible was written by a particular person at a particular time for a particular people. God breathed, the author wrote his narrative, letter, psalm, prophecy, or other genre with a particular purpose in mind. He meant one thing. When we read the Bible, we seek to find and understand that one thing the author himself intended. What was he seeking to communicate to his listeners and how would they understand his words? What was his point of view?
Currently, I am leading a group through the book of Exodus, an Old Testament narrative likely written by Moses. As the narrator of the story, Moses could easily have made himself the hero of this story. He does not. In fact, Moses does just the opposite. Instead, Moses openly shares his own flaws and failures.
When you think of Moses, do you think of him as a murderer? Nope.
Yet, in the second chapter, Moses clearly shares how he murdered a man.
When you think of Moses, the lawgiver, do you think of him as a lawbreaker? Not me.
Yet in chapter five, Moses shares how he broke the law by failing to circumcise his own son. (Fortunately, his quick-thinking wife saves his life.)
I have never thought of Moses as a lawbreaker. Yet, this is how he tells God’s story. This is his point of view. As a man God called to help rescue the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt and lead them to the promised land, he gives credit where credit is due.
Who does Moses write to? The people of Israel.
When? After Yahweh rescues them from bondage and oppression in Egypt.
Where? The people of Israel had left Egypt and were wandering through the wilderness.
Why? To document Yahweh and His work for generations to come.
Moses had a front-row seat to God’s strength, power, signs, and wonders. He could have made himself look pretty good. Yet Moses writes this narrative so that the people of Israel and God’s people for generations to come would not remember him, but that they and we would know and remember Yahweh, the LORD, the I AM WHO I AM.
The point of view of Moses? God is the Hero of the story.
God is and always will be the Hero of the story.
What part of the Bible are you reading today? Consider the point of view of the author. How does he know and experience God? What does he want his listener to know and enjoy about God?
Lord God, thank You for the Bible and the way You have revealed Yourself to us through it. Thank You, too, for Your grace and mercy to us as we seek to know and enjoy You through Your Word. May we ever view You as the Hero of this story. And may we have humble hearts like Moses to think and live with You as our Hero.
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