In today's reading in Luke, an apparent contradiction in the text caught my eye.
At Luke 1:50, Mary says "And his mercy is for those who fear him." But later at 1:74, Zechariah, John the Baptist's father, says "that...we might serve him [God] without fear."
Such apparent contradictions often appear in scripture. A few minutes of work and we can often bring some clarity to these kinds of things.
It was similar in the OT reading for today, where at Numbers 22:20, God tells Balaam to go with Balaak's men. V 21 says Balaam did so. But at v. 22, we read "But God's anger was kindled because he went." It is an apparent contradiction, all the more evident because Balaam would utter these words in his discourse at 23:19: "God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?"
When we read such things, we should stop and consider. Did God change his mind with Balaam? The explanation might be as easy as God seeing some intent or design in Balaam's heart when he rode off with Balak's men that caused his anger.
So too with the instruction in Mary's words to fear the Lord, and the apparent contradiction to serve without fear spoken by Zechariah.
Mary's counsel is easily understood as reverent fear or awe. That is how we much approach God. Zechariah's counsel means we can be fearless in our approach to God. we can be bold to approach the throne, as the Bible says.
Those truths do not contradict.
The truths of scripture are worth a little work, and a few good study resources, we can enhance our understanding and appreciation for all the truth it contains, even the apparent contradictions.
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
Some Favorite Sites
Desiring God Ministries
Bible Design Blog
Calvary Baptist Church