Monday, January 20, 2014

The Story

For most people reading the Bible from cover to cover is a huge undertaking. Over the next year I am studying the Bible book by book and then during our services speaking about the theme that emerges from each of these books. I have encouraged each member of our church to do the same.
So far we've covered Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, halfway through the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible).  In my Bible thats about 171 pages. So divide the amount of pages by days and you have about 8 pages to read a day. (throw in the snow days and that number of pages decrease).
Genesis and Exodus are both in a story form, which slowly dissolves when you reach the book of Leviticus. Laws abound, ceremonies and sacrifices take center stage. Admittedly the Bible does become harder to understand. But rather than dropping the whole plan, circle those hard to read texts as unread (like many of our emails) and come back to them. Underline those passages that God speaks to you through. What you may discover is that you understand more than you thought you would!
The Bible is a continuous account of God dealing lovingly with the human race. He shares His grace and mercy, makes and fulfills promises on every page. And then there are those places God shows us that His justice will prevail at the expenses of our comfort. Those may be the passages which cause us problems.
Understanding the Bible is not a prerequisite for our salvation, but learning about His ways and promises allows us to enjoy our salvation given by God. So keeping that idea in mind here are a couple of points which help me to stay the course while reading those "hard" passages.
1. There are no short cuts. God does not fast track anybody. College courses allow us to "clep" courses, but God doesn't. He wants us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ"
2. We never arrive. The children of Israel began their spiritual decline as soon as Egypt was out of sight.  Their delivery from bondage was just a step in the direction of God's plan, not the final plan itself.
3. God knows us better than we do ourselves, no matter how much we self evaluate or read self help books. He created us and knows us.
4. God didn't call us out of bondage to sit on the sidelines to observe. The Children of Israel were chosen, as are we, to share the knowledge we are given by God to the world.

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