Why should we continue to study the Bible? That is not a question if you consider it the unalterable word of God. But for those who are uncertain, there is another powerful reason to pore over this sacred text.
Everything has changed since biblical times — language, communication, dress, medicine, technology — everything except human nature. We still cry as did David, dance as did Miriam, dream as did Jacob, suffer as did Job. Our marriages are troubled, families fractured, hopes thwarted. When his brothers are jealous of Joseph’s special status and envious of his dreams, we understand. When Moses explodes in frustration against a people who will not follow the only path he knows will save them, we nod our heads in rueful recognition. This is not alien to us. As the Latin proverb has it, change the names and the story is about you.
Hagar is running away from Sarah, who is angry that she has the child Sarah has so far been denied. An angel asks Hagar where she has come from and where she is going. “I am running from my mistress Sarah” Hagar answers,
Why does she not tell the angel where she is going? When you are running from a burning building, it does not matter where you are headed; only what you are fleeing.
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