Rediscovering the importance of passages we ignore

I'm sitting in a room with with other preachers who get together every year to work through a biblical book. We bring in a commentator to help us exegete the text, and then discuss together how we could preach it. It's always a good week.

This year the commentator is Daniel Block, who is currently finishing a commentary on Deuteronomy that should be out in another year. We've just been discussing Deuteronomy 7:1-11, which is certainly a challenging passage to preach today. It's the sort of text that preachers like to avoid because it raises troubling questions about the complete destruction of the Canaanite people as part of the conquest. Yet Block has presented it in such a way that most of us can't wait to get home and preach it.

It's a good reminder again that some of the most neglected passages of Scripture are highly relevant to us today, and that our job is not to make them relevance, but to discover and demonstrate their relevance. This is the challenge and the joy of preaching.