This morning I had my yearly check up with my physician. He did all the ordinary and necessary things - checked my blood pressure, listened to my lungs, pressed on my abdomen, drew blood for tests, and, yes, he put that glove on his right hand. Everything seemed to check out fine and it was actually a good visit.
My doctor loves to talk! He's not one who just walks in and out to accomplish a task. Instead, he sits down with you to visit like you're a long lost family member. Much of our time was spent discussing the upcoming move of his practice to the new Grandview Medical Center complex down on Hwy. 280.
It's always interesting to hear physicians speak about the latest in medical research. There was a time when my HDL (good cholesterol) was low so a former doctor had me taking large doses of Niacin (vitamin B3) and fish oil because some tests showed that it was effective in bringing up a person's HDL. But now my doctor says current research is very inconclusive and there's really no solid evidence to support that particular benefit of Niacin or fish oil. Apparently the trendy thing in medicine these days is to check a person's vitamin D and make folks take vitamin D supplements. But even there he says we don't know what long term research will reveal. It could be that we actually harm other things by taking large vitamin D doses ... or it could be that those who are taking it will be prove to be healthier and will be so glad they were doing it. There is a lot about health, the human body, how varying things interact with each other, the impact of a person's environment, etc. that doctors just don't fully know or understand. As much as we'd like for absolute precision in the voices and counsel of our physicians, we're just not going to get it ... at least not if they're being honest.
As a pastor / teacher who is charged with the responsibility of "rightly handling the word of truth" as I must weekly stand before God's people and proclaim His Holy and infallible Word, I realize and accept that the average expectation of someone attending worship is to come and hear with absolute precision exactly what the Scripture says and means for life and practice. Yet just like those physicians there is so much that we as pastors don't know, even though we were trained in theology and Bible content. And while we as pastors / teachers should never base our teaching on the latest and trendiest info found in a professional journal, we are constantly looking for ways to better understand and communicate the unchanging truth about God, our sinful heart, and how we might then live.
The passage for this Sunday's worship (1 Samuel 15:1-35) is packed full of some tricky stuff. We find God ordering Saul to utterly destroy a nation of people - men, women, children, animals, etc. In verses 11, 29, and 35 we discover that in some way God both "regrets" (or repents) and does "not regret." We observe Saul obeying God's command yet discover it wasn't obedience at all. We also see Saul doing what looks like repentance but in reality was not true repentance. I wish I could say that this Sunday as you come to worship here at Community you will hear me explain with utter clarity and absolute precision the difficult matters introduced in 1 Samuel 15. However, I'm on the same journey you are on ... that of learning more and more of what it means to feast on God's grace as a follower of Jesus Christ. I do believe each of these hard truths is understandable and I will do my best to communicate what each means and how it impacts how we are live.
I ask that you do two things:
- please prayerfully read 1 Samuel 15 prior to this Sunday
- please pray for me as I prepare a sermon from this text that will result in our knowing and enjoying more fully God's love for us in and through Jesus Christ