This fall I get to walk through a study with an awesome group of women that will take us though the whole bible. (Seamless by Angie Smith-see the link at the bottom of the page). Since we are doing this I decided to attempt to read (most of) the bible in 12 weeks. By some miracle I am in the 4th week of the plan and am still on track. (At the bottom of the post I will share what this plan looks like).
I have never read the whole bible in a year much less 12 weeks. I’ve read the bible in it’s entirety (maybe minus some prophets) but not with in a time frame that my brain can recall events from the book before. Reading the narrative of the bible chronologically and in succession has given me a richer, fuller, more contextual picture of the events. (And I am loving it) Like I said I can’t believe I am this far into it and still on track. You will see at the bottom of this post what I have read and what is coming up for me. To give you a basic idea I read about 20 chapters a day and I did skip Leviticus. I didn’t skip it because it’s unimportant, I skipped it because I knew it would bog me down…
Reading the bible at this quick of pace you run into a lot of hard things in just one or two days. Things I do not understand, suffering, laws and rules, judgment, and individual stories that make a person go WHAT THE HECK?….
I read through the suffering of Job
The rules of Deuteronomy
And phrases like this….
“for I am sorry I have made them” -God
As I am editing this I just finished Judges…talk about a rough book. I can not wait to dive into Ruth this evening.
Phrases like “For I am sorry I have made them” That is a hard thing to hear. It’s hard to hear that God looked down on his creation and said I am sorry I have made them. It is not something I can fully comprehend. It’s not something I can explain. I wrestle with it but I still don’t fully understand why God said this.
What I do know is that God has a big huge giant ridiculous amount of love for his creation. A love so big and all encompassing we can not understand it.
His love for them is so huge he can not bear to see how deep the corruption ran. He watches us make poor decisions. Decisions he knows will leave us in a pit and farther away from Him. He knows that we will rely on those sins instead of Him. In spite of that he keeps pursuing us even as we run farther away. Because of Jesus and in spite of what we are doing he keeps pursuing us. God loves his creation and hates how sin penetrates and destroys their lives. We know that he is love because he came to be our deliverer. His actions did not end at the flood. He came down. He saved us from sin. As the Nicene Creed tells us about Jesus “who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven.” He came down from heaven, took on our sin, and destroyed that sin on the cross.
As you read this keep in mind that I am not God (thank you Captain Obvious) and I can not know his ways (again thank you Captain Obvious).
What I do know is that he is perfect and Holy.
His love is steadfast.
On a much smaller and much less than perfect scenario I love my children and hate to see when sin is in their lives and I can see where it could cause harm or destruction. I look around at our world and think I am so sorry you have to live in a world where sin and destruction is all around. When they lose their tempers, do not listen and run into the street, or lie and try to hide things these are all things that are hard to watch. God was looking down at the people he made and saw how rampant sin was and how destructive their lives had become for them. He knew he needed to put an end to the sin and destruction.
When I discipline my kids it’s the same type of deal. I discipline them to end destructive habits. When I discipline them I do not want to destroy them. I want to destroy the sin and the destruction that sin brings.
A huge difference between this analogy and when God was looking down at his people is that we are NOT our children’s savior.
We may be used by God as Noah was to care for his family and save them from the flood but ultimately the responsibility of redemption as on God’s shoulders and it still rests on his shoulders, not ours.
When sin and destruction comes into our lives we can we can run to our Savior. When sin and destruction is running in the lives of our children we can point them to our Savior and we can lean on Him also.
A prayer for us while we read these tough stories we do not understand or events in our own lives we do not understand yet continue to wrestle with:
Settle our unsettled thoughts
Guide our curiosity
Organize our confusion and chaos.
Let us speak honesty and openly with you and with these women surrounding us and learning with us.
Let us see your big love in this huge yet seamless narrative of your people, including us, and your plan and love for our lives.