Shelling is a lot like Bible study. Focusing on the little things can get in the way of the big picture. I’ve learned to suck in a deep breath as I cross the dune. I pause and let my eye sweep across the horizon and down the beach. Color dazzles. Light flickers. Tide in or out? Is it rough on the Gulf Stream? I take in the whole picture. I enjoy it all as I move down to the water’s edge. Before my eye begins its search for that one special shell or shark’s tooth.
Understanding the Bible is like that too. You can’t let the details block out the whole picture. You need to pause; think about the sweeping themes. Don’t focus on the details of Goliath’s armor and size before tying the story into God’s plan of salvation. One of David’s great, great, etc. grandsons would be the Savior. Jesus would live without ever sinning, then die and be cast into hell because He took on all David’s (and our) sins. His glorious resurrection dazzles, lightens, gives us hope. God’s mercies to and thru David were certain! That is the broad image behind David’s whole biography.
Of course details matter. David was heroic and charismatic. He was sensual, relied too much on his cousins in war and governing. His family was dysfunctional. Yet, he never lost sight of the big picture. He was assured of his own salvation:
“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).
So whether you’re telling a story to three year olds or studying for yourself, always relate the details to the main theme of God’s purpose to save sinners, not by anything we could be or do, but only by faith in Jesus Christ’s perfect life, shameful death, and eye-witnessed resurrection.