I love the Scriptures.
But sometimes I don’t know what to read when I open the cover.
I recently opened The Message and flipped to what Eugene Peterson wrote as an introduction to the prophets. Here are a few bits…
Everyone more or less believes in God. But most of us do our best to keep God on the margins of our lives or, failing that, refashion God to suit our convenience. Prophets insist that God is the sovereign center, not off in the wings awaiting our beck and call. And prophets insist that we deal with God as God reveals himself, not as we imagine him to be.
For a people who are accustomed to ‘fitting God’ into their lives, or, as we like to say, ‘making room for God,’ the prophets are hard to take and easy to dismiss.
The God of whom the prophets speak is far too large to fit into our lives. If we want anything to do with God, we have to fit into him.
One of the bad habits that we pick up early in our lives is separating things and people into secular and sacred. We assume that the secular is what we are more or less in charge of: our jobs, our time, our entertainment, our government, our social relations. The sacred is what God has charge of: worship and the Bible, heaven and hell, church and prayers. We then contrive to set aside a sacred place for God, designed, we say, to honour God but really intended to keep God in his place, leaving us free to have the final say about everything else that goes on.
Prophets will have none of this.
They contend that everything, absolutely everything, takes place on sacred ground.
And that’s why I’ve always loved the prophets.