Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Bible in 90 Days

About a month ago I came across a Kindle book titled The NIV Bible in 90 Days.  As the title so cleverly implies, the book is a plan that allows you to read the entire Bible in 90 days.  Though I've tried it a couple of times, I've never been successful with a one year reading plan, so one would think that this would be more challenging.  Perhaps that's right in some ways, but I actually thought it might be easier.  It's only 90 days, right!

So on June 2, which was right at the end of our California Adventure, I decided to begin.  I'm almost 30 days in, and have just finished the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible).  I've missed a few days and therefore most likely won't finish in 90 days, but I've really enjoyed it.

Here are some thoughts on the first five books:

  • The story is all about Covenant.  It's a covenant between God and man.  You could say that one of the primary story lines in this narrative is God's desire for relationship with his creation.  You first see this word in God's dealings with Noah after the flood.  It then becomes a primary theme with Abraham.  And then it's all throughout Israel's wanderings in the wilderness.  For all of the crazy stuff (see two bullet points down), there are some really beautiful passages about covenant and these rebellious people being his treasured possession.
  • God wants his people to trust him, and for that trust to then overflow to obedience.  God was very present in these stories.  He made his intentions and desires very clear, explaining in detail that following him would to blessing, while going their own way (rebellion) would be disastrous.
  • The Bible is filled with some crazy stories.  Some of them are encouraging (I love Joseph's story), but some of them challenging, even downright troubling.  I don't always know what to do about that.  I realize that's why a lot of people don't want to read the Bible, especially the Old Testament.
  • I actually enjoyed reading through Leviticus.  The laws are very tedious, and a lot is repeated, but I was reminded that there was a specific purpose for all of it.  God was forming a people.  His people.  And they were to look like no other nation.  They would be different from Egypt (where they came from) as well as Canaan (where they were heading).  The thing I was struck with is the fact that God thought this thing through.  He had a plan, and he called these people to that plan.
  • God is really big and does he wants.  That can seem scary at times, but I'm also so grateful for it.
  • God is loving.  Being big and being loving and the same time is an awesome combination.  One without the other is no good.
  • The good guys aren't always that good.  Again, a little troubling, but also refreshing
  • The sexual ethics are strange.  There are a whole lot of people you can't sleep with (sister, mom, step-mom, aunt, sister-in-law, neighbor's wife, a woman and her daughter at the same time, another man, and an animal).  So, yes, it's kind of strange that it goes into that much detail.  What's even stranger to me, though, is that it doesn't just say, "only have sex with your spouse."  Pre-marital sex (& polygamy) seemed to be tolerated more in that culture than today.  Again, part of this goes back to the fact that all of these things were tolerated in the land where they were heading, and God was calling them to be different.  Still, though, it's strange.
  • I'm reminded once again that the people who killed Jesus were a lot like me, or I should say that I would have been a lot like me.  Jesus broke some pretty serious laws.  (If you want to hear my take on this, and don't mind listening to me talk for 30 minutes, go here).
  • God is very concerned with orphans, widows, those who have been oppressed, and immigrants.
  • Jubilee, though it was probably never realized, sounds awesome.  I wonder if that's what heaven will be like!

That's enough for now.  I start Joshua tomorrow.