Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)
TITLE: What about Obadiah?
By Gregory Kane
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Daisy looked down in astonishment at the small boy. Her question had been simple enough: which book of the Bible tells the story of Isaac’s two sons? Straightaway Clara MacLeod had given the correct answer of Genesis. But then the new boy piped up with Obadiah.
Daisy’s problem was that she wasn’t sure whether there was even such a book as Obadiah. Every year, round about September, Pastor Wilson would churn out another sermon on the importance of reading the Bible, and invariably he would tease everyone by asking them to turn to the book of Hezekiah. Daisy had learned by now that although there had been such a person as Hezekiah, he didn’t have a book named after him. Obadiah sounded just like that, but there was no way she was going to let a ten-year-old child prove her wrong.
A large part of Daisy’s difficulty was that she hadn’t fully prepared her Sunday school lesson. The story of Jacob and Esau was so familiar, she had only glanced through the teacher’s guide. The manual was excellent with suggestions for further study, but Daisy could never really find the time.
She was just about to brush aside the boy’s contribution when he spoke for a second time: “And then there’s Malachi. I think that’s where God says he hated Esau but loved Jacob.”
A satisfied smile touched the teacher’s lips. She knew perfectly well that the book of Malachi was about tithing. Her pastor turned to this book several times a year and he had never said a thing about Jacob and Esau. The lad was obviously getting himself confused...
After the service, it was a befuddled Daisy who sought out the boy’s father. She introduced herself and found out that Mr Johnston was a visiting lay-preacher.
“I just wanted to talk about your Nathan,” she exclaimed. “His Bible knowledge is incredible. He kept quoting Scripture during the class and at first I thought he was just making it up. But when I checked my Bible afterwards, I was shocked and amazed to find how accurate he had been. And he’s only ten!”
Mr Johnston gave Daisy an indulgent smile. “Nathan does have that effect on people,” he agreed. “But don’t you think it’s good for children to be reading the Word of God?”
“Well, yes, of course,” said Daisy, wondering briefly when she had last sat down with an open Bible that wasn’t preparation for a class or a women’s meeting. “It’s just that most of the kids round here would much rather spend their time watching Cartoon Network. It’s hard enough to get them to pick up a book, let alone the Bible.”
“Then let me explain. We spent some time in Africa when Nathan was only seven. He couldn’t understand the local language so would sit through the long church services just reading his Bible. Within eighteen months he had read all the way through, so he started again from the beginning. Then, when we returned here, he kept it up. Much better for a growing boy than staring at banal cartoons all day long, wouldn’t you agree?”
Daisy didn’t know how to respond to this. She thought about the soap operas that kept her glued to her cable television most afternoons. They were certainly just as banal and unproductive.
“Nathan mentioned that you made a few mistakes in your teaching this morning ...”
Mr Johnston was so sincere and friendly that Daisy didn’t take offence at his words.
“I wonder whether you have thought about furthering your own studies? Shiloh Bible Institute has a branch in town and I understand they offer evening classes.”
The idea took Daisy completely by surprise. She was about to dismiss it out of hand when something stopped her. It had been months, if not years, since she had so clearly felt the Holy Spirit nudge her. “You know,” she replied at last, “I might just think about that ...”
The lecturer was just winding up his talk on the patriarchs. Daisy set her pen aside and looked in satisfaction at several pages of scribbled notes. Tonight’s lecture had not been to the usual standard and she wondered whether the speaker had done his preparation adequately.
“I have a question,” she blurted out. “I notice that you only referred to Genesis in your discussion of Jacob and Esau. What do you think about what Obadiah says?”
The lecturer looked genuinely confused: “Obadiah?”
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