And . . .
When The Stones of Gilgal saga opens, the Children of Israel are on the verge of claiming their Promised Land, but the Bible story didn’t start there. Our young heroes were born during the forty years of the Wanderings, and before that came the Exodus when their parents escaped from slavery in Egypt. But wait . . . Were the Children of Israel Egyptians? If not, how did they became slaves there? And just who was this Israel that they were children of . . . ?
When I first heard the ancient biblical tales as a child, it was in the beautiful but archaic cadences of King James English. One of the oddities of those stories was that nearly every one began with the word and. Modern translations have dropped many of those introductory and’s. That is not the way we begin stories in contemporary English. There were 23,876 and’s cluttering the stories of the old KJV. Translators decided to trash the ones that weren’t needed for a clear understanding of the text, leaving only 19,087 in the popular New International Version (NIV). Almost five thousand little words dropped as unnecessary for the modern reader. But those conjunctions are present in the Hebrew. The ancient storytellers used introductory ands to reinforce the fact that all those random biblical episodes are connected. They are part of one larger story—God’s story.
Take the Plunge—Swim with Sword Swash
Jumping into the stream of the Bible narrative is like plunging into an ever-increasing river. You can enjoy a good swim without understanding where all the water came from, but if you really want to know the river, you must paddle upstream and discover its headwaters. The Stones of Gilgal novels tell a story from a broader part of the river. These Sword Swash Bible studies go back to the source where the story of our planet and the human race literally springs out of the ground. Genesis tells the story behind all Bible stories. And there we meet the ultimate hero of them all—God himself.
If you want to receive maximum benefit from Sword Swash, look up each scripture passage that appears in these lessons. Read the surrounding context and meditate on the verses. Imagine yourself in the passage or story. Are you an on-looker or the speaker? Are you the main character, or someone else? What is God saying to the original characters or readers? What is God saying to you?
A sprinkling of scripture may wash off a little of the grime of life. A gulp of God’s water may help us get through a desert patch in life. But it’s not enough for a healthy daily practice. There may be days when you need to swish through a Sword Swash, a single lap across the pool, speed strokes—which is why I include the answers at the bottom of each lesson. But if you want stamina for the long haul . . .
Dive in. Immerse yourself in the living water that flows out of scripture. Swim in it every day. You will be surprised at the strength and endurance you build with that kind of daily exercise.