Two of the downsides of the church using the set lectionary readings each Sunday are that a lot of the Bible isn’t read in church and you don’t get the fuller picture in terms of what comes before or after the reading (unless it is otherwise explained in the service). I’m currently reading 1 Samuel and the last couple of days have been what happened after David killed Goliath (a story we probably know very well, quite likely from our childhood). Your mind may not work this way, but I’ve been struck by how Chapters 18 to 24 read like a Hollywood epic or soap opera. They’re full of intrigue, deception and mistrust. They’re quite blood-thirsty (to say the least). They’ve also raised questions in my mind: What was the relationship between David and Jonathan? Are Saul’s mood swings symptomatic of what we would today identify as a mental illness (bi-polar possibly, but I’m no expert)? Why didn’t David kill Saul when he had the chance? I’ve also been struck by little details which I would have read previously but have never taken in before. Today I noticed that, in the midst of all the turmoil in which he was embroiled, David made provision for his parents (1 Samuel 22: 3-4).
God’s word is the living word because it speaks to us in different ways in different circumstances. It is not a stale, ancient text written for those who lived thousands of years ago; it is alive with messages for us today. In these challenging times, it really can be our daily bread. As good as it is to listen to a snippet on Sunday or read a few verses as part of a daily devotional, consider using this time to read larger chunks to get a better feel for what is going on. I assure you, that great swathes of it really do read like a Hollywood epic or soap opera.