A few months ago I got this crazy idea: Read the Bible in 90 days. Now, this feat has been accomplished many times before I stepped onto the scene, and, hopefully, many others will do this after I’m finished. While this isn’t unique, it is the first time I’ve ever done it. If you’re up for something new, or you want to challenge yourself, I suggest trying this reading plan. Here are some pros of the plan: 1. It’s short. 2. You’re only in Leviticus for two days. 3. Reading in large chunks at a fast clip causes new things to really stand out.
Because the word of the Lord is alive and active, we are promised that our Bible reading will not be the same from day to day. Sure, we’ll read the same words; sure, God never changes; but, the word of the God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Each time we read God’s word, something powerful and piercing happens. How do we respond to that?
‘Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. The Three R’s. When my husband brought up the thought of homeschooling our second grader, I cringed. My apologies to homeschoolers, but I had a really stereotypical idea of you. As God melted my heart and brought me into agreement with my husband, I began digging deeply into the world of How to Teach Your Own Child. Being able to do some hands-on enrichment activities really excited me, but before we could create a volcano, attend physics camp, and study marine biology, the fundamentals needed to be taught: reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.
In reading the Bible at a fast clip, I’ve noticed some fundamental things that have jumped out at me more than ever before. God repeats Himself…a lot. He also reminds us…a lot. And, He does these things, just like a good parent, for a good reason.
Ask any good church-goer about the Exodus, and the story of Moses crossing the Red Sea will be retold. This forty-plus year event, though, does not happen merely on the pages of the book Exodus. God brings this up over and over again throughout the entire Bible.
Count how many times God says, “I am the LORD (your God)” in Leviticus.
In Psalm 136, the psalmist really got on a roll as he repeated, “For His mercy (NKJV) endures forever” over and over and over again.
God repeats Himself because these are crucial, foundational truths. Maybe we know our theology super well and can debate with the best of the Facebook theologians, but how about the fundamentals? If we have read all the fancy books, served at every soup kitchen, debated all the “others”, but we have not love then we’re nothing. A heart that is made new by the Holy Spirit, one that is abiding in Christ Himself and surrendered to the will of the Father, this fundamental must be repeated so we never go our own ways. God repeats Himself to turn our minds off vain things and back onto Him. God repeats Himself to take our eyes and hearts off the things of the world, and ourselves, and fix them instead on Him.
Closely related to repetition, remembering is another foundational principle that jumps out as you read the Word, especially at a clip. God employs repetition so that we will remember. What are the lessons from the Exodus? From the wandering in the wilderness? What are the lessons from the people doing ‘what was right in their own eyes’ during the time of the Judges (and now)? God causes us to remember through His words, but also through symbols, such as the tabernacle, the pillars of cloud and fire, the animal sacrifices, the memorial stones, the Lord’s supper. We are prone to wander because we are prone to forget. Remember all that the Lord has done; He is faithful. Remember your First Love. Remember Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice for you. Forgetting results in disobedience, in justifying our sins, and doing things in our own ways. Simply put, “You shall not forget.” (Deuteronomy 25:19b)
The fundamental “Three R’s” are Repetition, Remember, and Repentance. Another way to think of repentance is “return”. When the Israelites complained instead of trusting the Lord, Moses called them to return to the Lord in their hearts. When the people trusted in the Baals, the prophets cried out for them to return to the Lord. Gomer, a picture of Israel, left her husband, Hosea, a picture of God, for her lovers. Wrongly, she believed her lovers provided her with her bread and water, her wool, linen, oil, and drink. But, she will chase her lovers…but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now.’ (Hosea 2:7)
What lovers are you running to? Who is enticing you to follow their ways and not God’s? Is it outright disobedience, or is it disguised as Scripture…looking and sounding so familiar, perhaps even spoken by a man of God…but twisted and misleading? Or, are we depending upon our own strength, our own understanding?
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17) God, the prophets, and Jesus Himself repeated this often so we would remember: REPENT. Turn from your own ways to Jesus. Turn from the lies to the Truth. Turn from the darkness to the Light. This is foundational.