I’m pretty ticked off at Sarah. Jacob, too. In fact, there are a bunch of people in Scripture that rub me the wrong way. That's one of the things that stood out to me in this last month of Bible reading.
Each time I read through the Bible I find new aspects that I had never before realized. This is only partly due to the fact that I am in a new season and have a richer view of God each time, but mostly it is because the Word of God is alive. It is the tangible communication of our Creator that lives and breathes and moves, even while it is consistent and unchanging.
I’ve read the entirety of the Bible several times, though it’s only been in the past decade that I’ve sought to read all the way through each year. Having anticipated 2021 to be quite full, I’ve opted to write a brief review each month, rather than every day, with an attempt at keeping it under 900 words. (If you would care to join me, I’ve written my schedule at the bottom of this post.)
This January I read through Genesis, Exodus, and the first four chapters of Leviticus. In addition, over the past two days I listened to those sections being read by my Bible app at an accelerated pace. After having spent time focusing on going verse by verse it was fascinating to go at a fast clip, seeing even more acutely how the narrative wove itself together.
The following is a list of 6 aspects that I either realized or remembered in my January reading. It was so incredibly encouraging to me, and I wanted you to see its splendor as well!
1. I saw God offering Himself to His chosen people, promising their preservation regardless of their choices. He give promises to Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Pharaoh, and though there is no record of God speaking to Joseph, there was rich communication, allowing Joseph wisdom and foresight to give the Israelites food and land through the famine.
2. I found myself disliking Jacob and Sarah more than ever, because they looked like me. Sarah could be filled with fear, spite, anxiety, selfishness, and bitterness, and Jacob’s self-centered pride ruined relationships and resulted in bitter consequences. Yet Sarah’s submission to her husband commended, and her belief in having a son was counted as righteousness. Jacob’s conversion to Israel (in which ‘the God of my father’ became ‘my God’), and his transformation from a spineless trickster to a sacrificial leader (Genesis 32:9-12) were pinnacles of God’s grace.
3. There are pictures of Christ EVERYWHERE! In Exodus 30:11-16 the Lord called each of the people to bring half a shekel as an offering to the Lord, as a ransom for his life. “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less.” JESUS IS OUR HALF SHEKEL! He Himself is our ransom.
4. In that same chapter we see specific items in the tent of meeting and the ark for the testimony being anointed, thus consecrating them, “that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them will become holy. WOAH!!! Usually unclean things would soil anything they touched, but the holiness of God extends His own purity, transforming anything that comes in contact with it! Jesus is the “most holy,” and when He touches us, we become clean, without defiling Him in the least. WOW!
5. Only a few verses down, in Exodus 31:6, Moses records the Lord saying, “I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” God had perfectly provided the means with which to obey His commands. And even today God will use the talent and skill of His people to do His will. (Introspective: what has God given YOU talents in?)
6. Leviticus can seem intimidating, yet it is richly beautiful! What an incredible blessing for God’s people to know exactly what was expected of them in order to be in right standing with God!
In the month of February I am looking forward to seeing the continuation of in-depth laws for offerings, social justice, purification, the roles of the priests, and a continued look at the journeys of the Israelite and their sin and salvation. Care to join me?
January: Gen 1 - Leviticus 4
February: Leviticus 5 - Deuteronomy 18
March: Deuteronomy 19 - 1 Samuel 29
April: 1 Samuel 30 - 1 Chronicles 15
May: 1 Chronicles 16 - Job 35
June: Job 36 - Psalms 78
July: Psalms 79 - Proverbs 20
August: Proverbs 21 - Jeremiah 33
September: Jeremiah 34 - Jonah 4
October: Micah 1 - Luke 12
November: Luke 13 - Romans 12
December: Romans 13 - Revelation 22