Day 31: The End

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Well, it’s my day 31. For 31 days, I’ve read no books or magazines, just the Bible.

But here’s what else I’ve done.

  • watched a lot of TV at night
  • kept up with my Google Reader, which I haven’t done in ages
  • stalked Facebook, probably to a worse degree than usual

So although I haven’t “cheated,” I’m not sure that I’ve been especially virtuous, either.

I’ve read about two and a half months in my one-year Bible in the span of a month. And here’s what I’ve found: for some reason, during this time, the amazing works of God in the Old Testament have spoken to me amazingly. Seeing Christ as far back as Leviticus (and only because I’d already read Genesis and Exodus) is beautiful.

I’ve also read in Mark and Luke, but as you’ve probably seen for some reason those passages haven’t spoken to me in the same way. I don’t know why, and I feel kind of guilty about it. Because, of course, those are Jesus’ words! THE words that form our A.D. faith!

Maybe someone out there needed to know that God speaks through the Old Testament, too. It’s just a relevant to our modern-day faith, even if we don’t have to follow the Levitical law.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and you’ve learned along with me.

And now I’m going to go break my fast by rereading The Passage and taking a long, hot bath.

Day 30: Atonement

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“He cared for them [the Israelites] with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” Psalm 78:72

The same skillful hands that led the Israelites lead me today. A wondrous thought! Am I as precious to Him as they? I know the answer – it’s found in a Love Letter and nailed, scarred hands and feet.

I wonder if He is ever impatient, full of fire at our tactless lethargy. Has it really taken us more than two thousand years to spread His Gospel to all people?

Where the God of Jeremiah had righteous anger, where He literally saw blood – the spilt blood of Israel – He now sees just The Blood. Blood of His lamb. The only sacrifice that made Him breathe deeply and say, “Yes. That. Is. Enough.” Thank You, Jesus.

Black as my sins were,
He said, “I will take them
Pound them to My feet
Push them to My skull
Anchor Me to the cross
For your communion
Your atonement
Your redemption
– Your chance.”

__________

I share these thoughts again this year because I want to end with atonement. We began with the scapegoat in Leviticus, a gorgeous sign of what was to come in Jesus’ sacrifice.

Everything, EVERYTHING in the Old Testament sets up the atonement in Christ. Yes, there have been other lessons and stories scattered here. So much to learn in the whole Bible.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one more time that the whole shebang is about Christ. It’s all His story and God’s work and His plan. And His plan was redemption. Not through animal sacrifice, but through the blood sacrifice of His only precious Son. The true spotless Lamb.

There will be a wrap-up post tomorrow on what this 31 days has been like for me. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it … but more than that, I simply desire to give Him glory. I hope I have done that.

Day 28: Ruth

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I’ve been contemplating my reading of The Book of Ruth for a few days now.

(Of course, the true reason I haven’t written is that despite the best intentions, these posts weren’t written in advance as I had hoped; yesterday was Libbie’s 4th birthday and I threw her an entirely-too-big Beauty and the Beast party!)

Here is what I noticed this time around reading Ruth: despite the fact that she had been married for 10 years to her husband (Naomi’s son), Ruth had not had children with him. I think that must be significant; because in other parts of the Bible, a woman’s barren womb is a big deal – think Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth.

I read a few articles/sermons about the topic. One argued Ruth was not barren per say. Her first husband’s name (Mahlon) means sickly, so it’s possible he (and perhaps his brother, Orphah’s husband) were sterile from childhood sickness. Another sermon by John Piper argues that because the Bible says “the LORD gave [Ruth] conception” (4:13), Ruth was barren but God opened her womb.

I don’t think it especially matters, but the fact is that Ruth was without children in her first marriage. Yet she clung to her mother-in-law in Naomi’s time of trouble and trusted her enough to go to Israel with her. As a Moabitess, I doubt Ruth expected to be regarded with much favor in Israel. But she leaves everything she knows in Moab to go with her mother-in-law in search of a new life.

I think Ruth had a tender heart, and she wondered what would happen to Naomi, deep in her grief, if she was left alone. Perhaps Ruth related to Naomi more as women and less as mother-in-law.

It’s through Naomi that Ruth finds her new life, her new husband, and a new hope. As does Naomi.

In everything I’ve ever heard about Ruth, I got that it was fairly miraculous that Ruth, a Moabite, bore Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David – and thus won herself a place in the line of David! What great honor to be in the lineage of Christ.

But Ruth also had a child, which perhaps to her seemed a miracle, too, after years of infertility.

I want to offer up a prayer for those of you who might be dealing with infertility or another seemingly insurmountable issue.

God, We know that You care about every big and small issue in our lives. You know our hearts. For those women who might feel displaced, forgotten, or lonely, like Ruth and Naomi, I ask Your blessing. Open wombs, bring peace, and make the miracle in their lives even bigger than they could ever imagine. In Your Son’s name, amen.

This is day 28 of my 31 Days of The Book series.

Day 24: UGH.

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It’s day 24 and it’s the first day I’ve REALLY been tempted to cheat.

My kids are on “Fall Break,” which means no reprieve from parenting this week. No couple hours to myself. My daughter (we should just call her mini-me) has had 53 meltdowns this morning. I know she’s exhausted but she’s been fighting a nap for two hours, so somehow I don’t think she’s going to give in now. The rest of the afternoon should be SUPER with her not napping and in what we like to call her “Attitudey Judy” mood.

I’m pregnant, tired, have piles of work not to mention housework, and yet all I really want to do is lay on the couch with a heating pad on my knotted-up shoulder and read a magazine or a fluffy novel. Not think.

That’s been the hardest part of this, I think – no escape. Reading some light is my happy place, my escape pod from parenting two tiny ones and being pregnant with a third. Introvert Mama just needs her half an hour to pretend she’s anywhere but here.

Reading the Bible just doesn’t do that. It makes me reflect and think. It makes me consider what I could do better, what’s wrong in how I view Jesus, and oh for the love of everything how awful I am at parenting compared to our Heavenly Father.

Is it OK to want to escape? I really don’t know.

Days 22 and 23: Judges

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I’m having a harder time with Judges than I thought I would.

You know I was kind of dreading it, right? I’ve read Judges before and it’s not a pleasant circumstance.

But after reading about Moses and Joshua, who are just such pure heroes … the little heroes of Judges are depressing. Gideon? He tests God, brings glory to himself, and is kind of a twit. Samson kills tons of people and gives away his secrets and likes women too much. This whole thing with Micah making idols and hiring his own priest? I am pretty sure it’s a lesson in what not to do, but I don’t really get it.

I will say, I am writing this after my 31 days is up and I’ve been reading a lot more book than Bible lately. It’s sure easy to fill up my head with stuff that doesn’t matter … and it makes me wonder how to find a balance. Does one exist? Is balance even the answer, anyway?

I feel stuck. And I’m ready to be done with Judges. Perhaps a good dose of David is what I need. Unfortunately, that’s still a lot of Bible books away.

Day 21: Message

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[pinit]

Many years later, God was going to send another Messenger with the same wonderful message. Like Jonah, he would spend three days in utter darkness.

But this messenger would be God’s Own Son. He would be called “The Word” because he himself would be God’s Message. God’s Message translated into our own language. Everything God wanted to say to the whole world — in a Person.

 

from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally-Lloyd Jones

Miss something this week?

Day 15: Moving On – the death of Moses and its beauty
Day 16: Deceivers – an Old and New Testament example with the same moral
Day 17: The Lady with the Tent Peg – Jael: Murderess or Heroine?
Day 19: Signs – Gideon, the fleece, and asking God for a sign
Day 20: 3-Year-Old Theology – I never knew I needed an mDiv to be a parent

 

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