I am nearing completion of two months of daily Bible reading. A commitment I made for 2017 was to read through the Bible chronologically. Each year, I seem to get off to a great start only to get bogged down at some point in the year, often resulting in my daily Bible plan taking an unfortunate hiatus.
As I have made my journey through Genesis, Job, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, I have been confronted with some concepts and principles I know I have clearly overlooked over the years. For those who wondered why Job was included between Genesis and Exodus, remember I am reading through Scripture chronologically. Many have stated that understanding the front of the Bible is essential for a cogent understanding of all of Scripture. Unfortunately, when some are pressed to support their assertions on certain matters, most specifically the continued importance of God’s commands for relating to Him and others, the tendency is to go right to the back of the book without the foundational truths provided in the first thirty-nine books of Scripture even being considered.
An important principle I have noticed is one that might surprise a few people, especially given so many view the Old Testament as full of works and the New Testament as the place where grace finally emerges onto the scene with obedience taking a backseat. The complete opposite is true. Time after time I have seen God express to His people the need for the heart to be circumcised. That circumcision was to take place by the power of God’s Word. The command to read God’s Word, to teach it to your children at all times every single day from sunup to sundown, the need for the leaders of the assembly to write down and read God’s Word, and the overall connection between God’s grace and the response of His people to that grace (obedience to His commands) are repeated over and over and over again. These are the same commands we find in the New Testament. If there is a difference from what is noted in the front of the book as opposed to the back of the book, any difference is rooted in the nature of the renewal of the covenant, specifically the provision of the Holy Spirit to write God’s Word on the hearts of His people. Even then, the writing of God’s Word on the hearts of His people was something found in the Old Testament as well.
It is based on this repeated command I have noticed declared in my readings thus far in Scripture and what I know to be true in the rest of God’s Word that I encourage you to spend time in the Word of God each and every day. It is commanded of us in Scripture for starters, and more importantly, if you are at all interested in growing in your relationship with God and understanding what it means to love God and to love others, it is an absolute requirement that you read God’s Word and hide it in your heart. While reading through the Bible chronologically and writing about what you have read each day may not be something you want to start off with, I exhort you to implement a regimented Bible reading plan. Even if that means you spend five minutes reading a Psalm as a place to start, by all means, do something. We cannot claim to be people who love God while at the same time ignoring His Word and His commands to us. That would be akin for those who are married to declaring to everyone you meet that you are married, but in practice, you are ignoring your marriage vows.
Get yourself a good study Bible, concordance, and some paper and get to it. Wash yourselves daily in the Word of God. As you do, God has promised that His Word will penetrate to every nook and cranny of your life with the Holy Spirit scrubbing off the filth of the old man. Just as you cannot take a shower once a year or once a month and honestly claim to be physically clean, in the same manner you cannot wash yourself once a year or once a month in God’s Word and claim to be moving forward toward maturity in the faith to be through the power of the Holy Spirit a cleansed and spotless bride.
So get to washing yourself in God’s Word. Allow His word to permeate every fiber of your being. Walk in His ways in loving obedience in response to the grace He has bestowed upon us. Don’t just stick one finger or toe into the water. Stand under the waters of the Word so that all of you is impacted. Trust me….you will not regret it!