On a parody focused TV show several years ago, the characters in the show were experiencing a widespread flood. Keeping with the parody theme, one of the characters built an Ark (like Noah). However, this “Noah” happened to be homosexual, so he filled his Ark with same sex couples of all the animals.
When questioned on the efficacy of filling an Ark with same sex couples of all the animals, the character replies,
“There are parts of the Bible I like, and parts that I don’t like.”
The joke the TV writers were going for aside, isn’t this something that true for all of us? There are parts of the Bible we like, and parts we don’t. We probably like the parts that talk about God’s love, mercy and grace. We may not like so much the parts that talk about God’s holiness and justice. We like the parts that talk about our creation in God’s image, but not the parts that highlight our open rebellion against our Creator (a.k.a. sin). We like knowing Christ and power of His resurrection, but we’re less enthusiastic about sharing in His sufferings or being conformed to the image of His death (Phil 3:10).
If I really look at my life and how I treat others, there are actually lots of the Bible my actions say I don’t like. I must not like the parts about forgiving those who’ve hurt or wronged me (or my family). I must not like the parts about not trying to earn God’s favor with “good” works. On days I’m stuck in traffic, I must not like the part about loving my neighbor.
Here’s the thing. All of the Bible is important (1 Tim 3:16-17). We have to learn and try to live all of it. That’s why it’s so important for us to read, study and pray through all of what God has written to us. Devotion books, topical studies, and deep dives on favorite or well-known passages are all fine, but if that’s all we do, we will gradually tune out the parts we “don’t like.”
You might like to eat oranges. They are good for you, and if all you eat are oranges, you definitely won’t get scurvy. But you also won’t get other nutrition your body needs. A balanced diet is necessary for physical health. In the same way, taking in all of what God has written to us in the Bible is necessary for spiritual health.
I get it – reading Numbers feels like eating Brussels sprouts. But part of maturity is eating our vegetables even when (or especially when) we don’t want to. Part of spiritual maturity is reading all of the Bible. Some of it “tastes” better than other parts, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t clean our plates.