The Displacement Element in Biblical Narrative Stories of Faith

As I read the biblical narrative stories of faith in both the Old and New Testaments…I see basically two things happening in terms of life-scripts, direction, purpose, and God speaking to us.

The first is the calling of people like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter, and Paul…who had promises of God…or clear missions, goals, or final outcomes…given to them at the beginning of their journeys of faith.

This causes a slight problem for many Christians who are faithfully following God and going about their normal Christian practices of prayer, reading and studying the Bible, being active in fellowship with other Christians, and sharing their faith with others…because God has not spoken directly with them yet regarding a specific calling upfront like the examples of the people listed above.

But the second thing that I see that is happening in the Bible…probably more often…is that God still works unseen in people’s lives who are trying to be faithful and do the right thing…even though God does not at first reveal to them directly by speaking to them in the Spirit…a major promise, missions, or goal upfront at the very beginning of their journey of faith.

This second type of biblical character can see God’s hand at work in hindsight…part-way through their journey of faith…or looking backwards after it has finished and all the dust has settled.

Examples of this type of experience with God…in the biblical narrative stories of faith…might include Ruth, Hannah, Esther and Mordecai, the three Hebrew young men in the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, and the ten apostles other than Peter and Judas Iscariot.

Ruth is interesting here…in that she does not even know that by marrying Boaz, she has become part of the royal line that produces the future King David in direct line to Jesus Christ the Son of God…born far ahead in the future in the first-century A.D.

In fact, I think that every positive biblical character did not have a full and complete understanding of the unique and critical role they played in the unfolding saga of God’s eternal plans and destiny for mankind.

It is safe to say that there is not a single person on the planet today that has a complete macro and micro grasp of the higher ways and thoughts of God.

The point I want to make here is that as Abraham gets his calling from God to go from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…with each step that Abraham takes God is displacing whatever normative plans Abraham might have otherwise had back in Haran…with a new life-script beyond anything Abraham could or would have dreamed up…beyond anything Abraham could self-compose, contrive, or self-orchestrate.

This worldly unconventional element of displacement of our ways with God’s higher ways…illustrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith according to the two general patterns described above…contained within God-composed journey of faith life-scripts starting with the detailed and highly specific life-story calling of Abraham and continuing throughout the Bible all the way through to the New Testament first-century…is in my view as big as anything else in the history of mankind.

This is as big as the discovery by Copernicus that the earth revolves around the Sun, or Einstein’s theory of general relativity, or the discovery of Edwin Hubble of the Big Bang expansion of the universe, or the discovery and understanding of DNA.

This biblical concept is as big as the American Declaration of Independence…the American Constitution…the victory over tyranny during World War II.

This biblical concept of the displacement of our ways with God’s ways…integral and fundamental to a genuine journey of faith following Jehovah in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament…is as big as the discovery by Martin Luther that “the just shall live by faith” rather than pilgrimages, relics, and indulgences…and that common people should have access to the Bible translated into their own languages…that started the Protestant Reformation.

The concept that the living God…the brilliant Creator of the universe…can play a pivotal role…indeed take the lead to craft and shape a journey of faith for each one of us…that bears the stamp of divinity in being 100 percent contrary to the opposite worldview of pursuing on our own our self-validation and acceptance according to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…entirely outside of the zone of human literary invention…how can this biblical concept not be as large or larger than any other concept or event in the history of mankind?

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog…and for new readers…what do you think of this idea of the relative importance…in terms of an apologetic argument for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible…and as inspiration in our own walks of faith following Jesus…in the larger scheme of the history of mankind?

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Author: Barton Jahn

I work in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have six Christian books self-published through Create Space KDP. I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on two more books on building construction.

2 thoughts on “The Displacement Element in Biblical Narrative Stories of Faith”

  1. There is an old saying, “sin takes us places we don’t want to go and keeps us longer than we want to stay.” I believe that Jesus is the same way, but with one important difference…sin reveals what we are, but Jesus reveals WHO we are!

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