Monday, February 23, 2009

45 days immersed in God's word

Today I reached the milestone of completing half of the "read the Bible in 90 days" plan. It is an answer to prayer that I've been able to keep up with it (sometimes, like today, through completing two days in one). It is not easy to read 10 - 20 + chapters of the Bible each day, and requires me to prioritise Bible reading over lots of other activities or reading that it would be nice to complete. That is exactly why I chose to attempt this plan. I wanted to purposefully devote my late pregnancy to learning about God. A challenge like this seemed like a great way to do so!

At times I have wondered if there were really benefits to soaking myself in Scripture at such a rapid rate. I think it was somewhere between 1 Samuel and 1 Chronicles that I began to wonder if being soaked in ugly stories about Israel's history was at all edifying! I remembered though, that Israel really lived through this. God really bore with his people through this. Couldn't I stick with it a few days? Before I knew it I was paging through the more familiar pages of Job and the Psalms. The more I've read, the more convinced I am that reading through the Bible quickly does have benefits. I've gained a stronger perspective on God's work through in and through his people - the "big picture" of who God is and what he cares about.

I believe that God blesses our efforts to seek Him, even if the results are not immediately evident. Here are a few of the aspects of Scripture that I've felt the Holy Spirit has particularly applied to my heart as I've commited to reading God's word. . .

* We had a terrible wind storm in January. I was home alone and a little afraid of the wind. It was hard to stand against it as I tried to stake the tomatoes, rescue the roses, and tie back the sunflowers. As I looked at the wind God reminded me of how much more terrifying his wrath is. I had a good picture of this through the Bible history I'd been reading!

* I've coloured in many themes during my reading time. One of these is the fatherless and widows. I'd never noticed before the way that Job's defence of his righteousness hinges upon the way he treated the poor. Job says that if he had mistreated the poor and fatherless he would deserve his suffering. However, instead he had been as a father to the fatherless (Job 31:18) and shared his food with the widow (Job 31:17).

* Fear is another theme I've explored. The fear of God has become clearer to me, as have our other fears. God is a Father who speaks to the realities of human emotions and reactions. He does us the great kindness of not leaving us to our own devices. Instead, he reaches down to teach us how to love and fear Him in the midst of it all!

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