Our Bibles are not the clean, happy books we think they are. They’re full of scary stuff. Yes, there’s faith, hope, and love in those pages; but look hard enough and you’ll find witches, ghosts, dragons and things that go bump in the night. The Bible is full of strange things . . . and even stranger things.
In 2016, I spent October, a month we normally look for ghosts and goblins, digging into some often ignored passages. I titled the series Stranger Things from the Bible after the Netflix series that drew us into the Upside Down. There’s much in the Bible that might also seem upside down.
The Stranger Things series, set in the fictional small-town of Hawkins, Indiana. Hawkins doesn’t feel all that far removed from our own small-town in Illinois. I felt the similarities and the callbacks to the heydays of the 1980s would go over well with our crowd. I also hoped that the strangeness of the stories would disarm my hearers and allow the punch of the message to surprise them.
And it helps that I love these weird Bible stories!
These stories might make us uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), right? The Bible’s stranger things deserve our attention. We can gain much from these stories.
Saul and the Witch
I began the series with that bizarre story in 1 Samuel 28, when Saul consults a witch, asking her to bring up the ghost of his mentor, Samuel. The point of the story is not about being bewitched, bothered, or bewildered. Rather, the story calls us to consider just how far from God our disobedience can take us.
Our obedience now provides confidence later.