Welcome to Week Three Plus!
I fell a few days behind on my reading plan, but have continued on.
After week 2, I started into the New Testament. Even though it’s much smaller in volume than the Old Testament, I found myself having to take more breaks due to the desire to be more engaged in the words I’ve read more often than those in the OT.
When I began seeing those red letters, forming together Jesus’ story, I couldn’t help but slow down, trying to take it all in. I began to become a bit discouraged that I couldn’t buzz through those chapters as quickly as previous chapters.
However, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe it’s a proper response to seeing God’s Word spoken directly by God himself. It should be something savored and drawn into slowly as a soul quenching refreshment.
Those red-letter words became life-giving to me. They simplified the gospel where sometimes Christians lay down a set of rules to follow. They reminded me of all those years ago, when I was little, of walking up to the church stage because I didn’t want to go to hell where worms and gnashing of teeth would be. I wasn’t sure what “gnashing of teeth” looked like, but it was sure to be terrifying.
Where the Old Testament made me jealous of the Israelites because God had chosen them as his people and then made me shake my head at them forgetting their history with him, the New Testament included me in those promises. It told me I was chosen too. Through Jesus’ apostles, God delivered the message that he wanted all people and had made a way for everyone to enter into a relationship with him.
You see, in the very beginning, sin broke that unity with God and his chosen people were required to make sacrifices along with their repentance in order to be within his good graces. And through this unity, God literally led them through the desert, fulfilled all his promises to them, and fought for them.
Then in the New Testament, by God sending Jesus who fulfilled prophecies, spoke for God, was God, and who became the once and for all sacrifice, there was no longer a need for people to make animal sacrifices to God because more than sacrifice, he wants us.
Since week 1, I have wanted to come up with a summary statement of the entire Bible since this reading plan is a brief run through of the Scriptures. But how could I possibly come up with a statement that accurately tells and describes what I’ve been reading while so many before me have spent their life’s work studying?
But, here’s my attempt anyway–
Above all, God wants us to turn to him and pursues us even when we try to do life without him.
There’s been several times throughout my life when I’ve doubted and ignored God’s presence. There’s definitely been times when I’ve chosen to do life alone and put all my desires before seeking him back because I just didn’t want to listen to what he had to say. This was my life and I didn’t want to hear what he thought because those around me seemed to have a pretty good life without his involvement.
As I read through the scriptures, I saw story after story of people turning to God (and not turning) when disaster hit or when they couldn’t figure a way out of a certain situation. God honored those who turned back to him, even the ones who followed him, didn’t care, then returned back to him at the end of their lives.
There’s always hope, but it doesn’t rest in what this world can offer us.
If you’re in a place of doubting, unbelief, with even a shred of curiosity, I encourage you to attempt reading through the Bible and challenge God to give you some clarity. I promise he’s up for the challenge. You can find a plan here that works best for your reading/listening pace.
And if you’re not there yet. It’s okay. I just want you to know there’s still hope in every situation. Even though we may not see it or feel it, as long as there’s still life within us, there’s still hope. And there’s a God who loves you, desires the best for you, and can’t wait to fight your battle for you.