1 Sam. 11:1-14
If you ever venture outside the “bubble” of Evangelical Christianity (or as I like to define it, “Christianity which actually takes the Bible seriously”), you’ll find a lot of biblical “scholars” who refuse to let the Bible speak for itself. It claims to record the stories of God’s encounters with real people, and it claims that these people actually lived, just like Abraham Lincoln lived. It claims that these stories actually, literally happened, like the Battle of Gettysburg, on land that can be stood upon today. It is not a bunch of made-up stories to teach us a lesson.
Why is this important? Why does it matter if Moses actually talked with God, or even if there was even such a person as Moses? Because this is what the Bible claims. If we don’t ascribe any credibility to its narratives, then why should we ascribe any credibility to its teaching portions? Why should we pay any more attention to its counsel on marriage than to, say, Dear Abby? It doesn’t matter that much if Buddha never really lived, because his teachings are independent of his historicity. He taught that the physical world is an illusion anyway, so what difference does it make? But the Bible claims to be a true record of the God of the universe “invading” history. If he didn’t, then the Bible is just good advice, and I can pick and choose what I want to believe and follow. So then the standard isn't really the Bible at all; the ultimate standard is me.
Having said that, I’d like to present one strong piece of evidence of the veracity of the Bible. This chapter describes the beginning of Saul’s leadership, and in this chapter he performed spectacularly. He showed incredible courage, skills in persuasion, military tactics, and great humility and forgiveness in dealing with the people who initially doubted him. If this chapter was all you knew about Saul, then you'd predict a bright future for this guy. Of course, assuming you’ve read the rest of 1 Samuel, you know how he ended up, and it wasn’t pretty.
Here's the point: If the writer was not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, why would he include this? By the time of its writing, Saul would have been long dead and David’s kingdom would've been everyone’s standard of comparison. Why would the writer include good things about Saul and bad things about David (which 2 Samuel certainly does), if he just wanted to make up some stories? This is one of the best evidences I've seen of the trustworthiness of Scripture. Its record, virtually unique in ancient history, show severely flawed heroes.
The Bible is the record of real people who really lived and who really encountered God in real time and in real places. He's not unconnected with history, not knowing or caring about what happens with us. And the same God who invaded human history and spoke to Moses and who walked this planet for 33 years wants to invade your story as well. The Savior God we serve is concerned about our real problems in today’s world. He's here, right now, and he’s talking to you. Are you listening?
Yes, Lord, I’m listening. What do you want to tell me?