Museum of the Bible
Our family returned last week from spending time in the eastern half of the lower 48. One of the highlights was visiting the brand-new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. As with all the museums in D.C., after a few hours you’ve only scratched the surface in taking in all the exhibits. But we saw enough to be positively impressed, and I for one would like to return again someday for a more in-depth look.
The museum is focused on the Bible’s history and impact on the world. Though from what I understand the founder of the museum is an evangelical Christian, what’s presented is not so much the message of the gospel but information and displays about the Scriptures. For those who believe the gospel and accept the Scriptures as God’s Word, visiting the museum will be an edifying experience. For those who don’t believe the Scripture is the inspired Word of God, they will still learn much about the Bible and, hopefully, come away with a desire to learn more about its message of salvation.
If you plan to visit the museum, my one piece of advice is to be intentional about what to see. Some of the displays are interesting but not extraordinary (is David Hasselhoff’s album version of “Amazing Grace” really museum worthy?). The real treasures are the ancient Bibles and manuscripts. Also worth seeing are the re-constructed village of Nazareth (including a lesson from a “rabbi” in a synagogue) and the walk-through multi-media presentation of the stories of the Old Testament.
On Sunday morning I preached from Psalm 34. Here David praises God for his gracious deliverance from a particularly harrowing episode during his flight from Saul’s murderous pursuit of him in 1 Samuel. At one point David sought refuge – in all places – with the Philistine king of Gath. When the king’s servants realized who they had on their hands, the notorious Philistine-slayer David, they took him to the king. David knew that meant certain death. To escape, he pretended to be insane, drooling on his beard and scratching on the doors with his hands. Convinced that his servants had brought him a madman (hadn’t he plenty of those already? – 1 Samuel 21:15), the king threw David out of his presence.
In Psalm 34 David gives all praise to God for this salvation – I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears (v.4). We might say that the Psalm is David’s “personal testimony”; he recounts how the Lord saved him from certain destruction. As Christians we also have a testimony of God’s gracious deliverance. Jesus Christ has redeemed us from sin and death by his sacrifice on the cross and resurrection. And so we can use David’s words in Psalm 34 to testify to God’s grace towards us.
David also invites all who read his words to come to know the Lord as Savior, as he himself did: Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (v.8). As Christians this should be the desire of our hearts, as well. We should long to see others experience the joy of God’s salvation by coming to faith in Christ. Just as we might want all our friends to experience the fantastic food at a new restaurant we’ve discovered, so we ought (even more!) to want others to come to experience the most fantastic thing of all – personal knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria!