Finished! (Until I start again…)

I finished reading through the  Bible this morning, completing my RttBiaY program.  I know I haven’t been posting a lot about my reading lately – not that I’ve been posting a lot lately, period!  (Perhaps I’ll have some time to finish a few of the 10 or so unfinished posts which I started and never got around to finishing over the past 6 months… Some of those are about verses or passages which I had come across during my RttBiaY reading.)

But I’m excited to have finally done what I’ve set out to do many times over the years – read straight through from Genesis to Revelation!  It was a very rewarding exercise – one I hope to do many more times in the future.  I’m not sure if I’ll start again right away, or spend some more in-depth time in a few books which I decided I wanted to study some more – or perhaps both.  We’ll see.

It was great to see for myself the arc of the Biblical narrative from beginning to end.   Of course, growing up in the church, going to Christian jr/sr high schools, attending or leading dozens of Bible studies, and doing all sorts of personal study (other than reading the Bible from cover to cover), I have always “known” that the Bible is consistent in its presentation of man’s condition and his need for a solution to the problem of sin which is external to himself – in other words, the focus of the Bible is Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus Christ, and the New Testament reveals His life, death, resurrection, and the resulting freedom from sin and eternal death, sin’s penalty, which we can have in Jesus Christ.  Reading the Bible from beginning to end, however, gives one a better grasp on exactly how consistent the Bible is in this respect. It also shows all the more clearly how patient God is with His people (both Israel and the Church) — and how fickle His people can be.  And it shows all the more, with painful clarity, how much God hates sin.

But thanks be to God, for He has provided us with a perfect, spotless substitute!  A beautiful Savior, whose birth we are about to celebrate.  The older I get, and the more that I see how attached my heart can still be to the things of this world, or just to my own selfish desires – the more I appreciate the free gift of salvation which God had in mind before the foundation of the world, the gift long pointed to in the Old Testament which began life in a lowly manger some 2000 years ago – and which God also planned to send to the cross for your sins and for mine.

Do you know this Savior?  He alone can truly and permanently satisfy the deepest desire of your heart.

Thoughts on some verses from Job

I started reading through Job last week in my RttBiaY program. Job can be tough – mixed in with the often dubious wisdom and advice of his three friends and Job’s own self righteousness, there is real wisdom and truth. Figuring out which is which isn’t always straightforward.

Here are a couple of verses which I read this morning which stood out to me. Familiar concepts, to be sure – especially if you’ve ever read Proverbs:

Job 24:15 The eye of the adulterer also waits for(DR) the twilight, saying, ‘No(DS) eye will see me’; and he veils his face. (ESV)

Job 28:28 And He said to man,’ Behold,(CJ) the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to(CK) turn away from evil is understanding.’ (ESV)

Good checks on my motivation and attitude toward any sin in my life: do I turn away from it and show that I’m growing in wisdom (by fearing God more than man, by loving Him more than my sin) and understanding? Am I seeking to bring any hidden sin into the light, or am I content – no, eager – to keep it in the darkness? (Again – do I fear God or man more?)

[Update: May 20, 2008 – I finished reading Job this morning.  In retrospect, I think that much of the difficulty I encountered in the past when reading Job was due to not reading it all the way through in a relatively short amount of time – a few sittings, at the most.  Having done so this time, I find that it isn’t as hard as I remembered to discern the godly from the human wisdom…. Or, perhaps, by God’s grace, I’m growing a little bit in understanding and ability to discern the two.  May I always give Him the glory for any insight I gain when reading the Word!]

Sacrifice

It’s been a while since my last post! Busy, busy, busy…

I just finished 2 Samuel today in my RttBiaY program, and here are some thoughts on the last chapter:

2 Samuel 23-24 begins the record of the close of David’s life. In chapter 24 we see God giving David three options – three choices for judgment for his sin. The choices are: famine in the land, to be pursued by his enemies for three months, or three days of plague. He chooses the last one:

14 Then David said to Gad [the prophet delivering this news], “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD,(DX) for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” (ESV) Continue reading

Thoughts on Numbers 22-24

I encountered another tricky passage in my RttBiaY reading last week, when I wrote most of this post…

Numbers 22-24 contains the story of Balaam, a spiritual man, of sorts, but one who also loved the world. Balaam was called by Balak, king of Moab, to curse the people of Israel because they had moved next door – but Balaam ultimately blesses Israel in spite of Balak’s anger against him. There’s a difficult portion of this story which I’d like to examine: Continue reading

Thoughts on Ex 23:4-5 – Grace in the Old Testament

I came across the following verses this morning as I was doing my RttBiaY reading:

Ex 23:4(D) “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him.
5 If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.

This struck me as very interesting – an example of extending grace towards one’s enemy in the middle of the Law! The law is not all “an eye for an eye”, etc. The OT does foretell the grace of the cross, obviously – and there’s a lot of mercy and grace extended to the people of Israel by God. Furthermore, even in the OT, God sought “circumcision of the heart”, and obedience over sacrifice, etc. But I don’t recall seeing the law address grace formally. It may well be that there are other examples which I’m either forgetting or haven’t ever come across – we’ll see!

Of course, the OT economy didn’t provide, generally speaking, for the infusion of the Holy Spirit into one’s life – and even those instances where the Spirit of God was upon someone, those instances were short-lived. All this to say that it was more difficult to extend grace in the OT economy… not that it is always easy to do so now. My sinful heart often gets in the way of that!

Exodus 4:24-26 – a difficult passage

I was doing my “read through the Bible in a year” reading in the Dr’s office earlier today (turns out I have bronchitis and not the flu). I ended up reading two days’ worth of chapters, which included God calling Moses going to great lengths to persuade Moses that He would enable him to do the job He was calling him to do (chapters 3 and 4). Immediately after the narrative finally has Moses starting off in the direction of Egypt, we encounter these verses:

Ex 4:24 At a lodging place on the way(Y) the LORD met him and(Z) sought to put him to death. 25 Then(AA) Zipporah took a(AB) flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’[c] feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. (ESV)

Continue reading

Hooked

I don’t recall reading this before:

Genesis 19:11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. (NKJV)

You know the story up until that point: the men of Sodom were after Lot’s angelic visitors; Lot denies them access to his visitors, offering his virgin daughters in place of the angels(!); not satisfied with that offer, the men of Sodom nearly break down the door to get to the angels; the angels pull Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then comes verse 11, and a sobering look at what happens when the hooks of sin (see James 1:14 where “enticed” literally means “to catch by bait” – Thayer) are so deep within you that even being struck blind, you continue to search for that which you lust after… Not only do you continue to search, but you search until you become weary. What a picture!

Lord, may I never be caught up in any sin such that even Your discipline fails to get my attention!