Previews of "God's Stories," by Pam Miller

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In an effort to be frugal my husband and I rarely see a movie at the theater but wait until it comes out on DVD (I almost typed “video” there). However, when we do that, I miss seeing PREVIEWS – which I love. My mind starts figuring out what the rest of the story must be and if I’ll like it or not; I wonder where I’ve seen that actor before, and who else should see the movie with me.

Beth Moore’s 10-week “Believing God” Bible study is all about trust and faith. Halfway through we studied Hebrews 11 which is one exciting snippet after another of stories. I realize they’re “post-views” of what already happened but if I didn’t know the Old Testament details, they would seem like “pre-views” ~ teasers of God-stories that cause me to go back to the original movie in the Old Testament to read (and visualize) the events.

These Hebrews 11 God-story “previews” are causing me to ask, “Would I want to go and see that movie?” For example, verse 20 says, “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.” Um, well…that, uh, doesn’t sound very exciting; think I’ll pass on that feature film. Then I read the whole story and find that it’s filled with deception, adventure, marital conflict and sibling rivalry (a bowl of Instagram-worthy stew)…well, now THAT sounds like a thrilling movie to spend my money on.

I also find it odd what clips made it into some of these previews. We only have one verse about Enoch which states that “he pleased God.” So I turn to Genesis 5 and I find myself asking “how did he please God?” There are only four verses about his entire life in Genesis 5, but the plot centers on “he walked with God.” So then I conclude that this “preview” may actually be the best one yet as it certainly leaves me wanting to know more. Maybe Heaven has a screening room with plush seats where we can eat super buttery popcorn and see the story played out in its entirety. 

Abraham’s story is gradually revealed in preview after preview after preview - 12 whole verses – almost giving away the entire plot. What could be left for the actual movie? And why is the opening scene (verse 8) something as “blah” as: Abraham left his house to travel to another country. Really? That doesn’t really grab my attention. But the previews ramp up to a final “what?!” moment:  he “offered Isaac as a sacrifice.” (Say it with me: “What?!” - What kind of a story is this? What is that doing in the Bible anyway? Should a Christian go and see this kind of movie?)

Ah, movie previews! They give us just enough to whet our appetite but not enough to thoroughly enjoy the experience or know the whole truth.  When reading His-story I often ask:

  • “I wonder what happened next?”
  • “What did that person think about that?”
  • “Why aren’t we given more details?”

Beth Moore explains Hebrews 11 as “a one-stop compilation of God’s testimonies of faithful men and women” and that we are to live to “ensure that God has a glorious testimony to share about each of us.”  May the preview others see of our God-story cause them to say, “She walks with God” so when God gives a testimony of our life story He will say, like he said about Enoch, “She pleases me.”