Four months ago I encouraged you to make 2019 a year of reading the Bible. I have been very encouraged by how many of you have committed yourselves to do this. I know many of you have stuck with it. I also know some of you have gotten behind. That often happens with any kind of New Year’s resolution. Here’s your reminder to pick it up again. Don’t despair, just pick up your Bible and read it.
Perhaps you’re running a few weeks behind. Maybe you quit completely. Maybe you never even started in the first place. I hope you will pick it up again. Don’t let the time you’ve missed be a hindrance to you. If you’re not too far behind, and you think you can catch up, go ahead and binge read; that’s the best option. But if you’re farther behind, and you don’t think you can catch up, just pick it up with whatever readings are assigned for the day you read this. It’s not like reading the Bible is only beneficial if you read the whole thing. If you read two-thirds of it, that two-thirds is beneficial to you. If you read ten percent, that ten percent is beneficial to you. However much of it you read, that is God’s Word going into your mind, and this is good.
For those of you who have kept up with the readings, you’ve been reading about a lot of laws and a lot of wars. This can be tedious and tiresome. Sometimes there are things in the Scriptures that bother us. I invite you to ask me about those things when they come up. I am here, not just to preach and teach, but also to listen to you. Some of it is hard for me too, so I’ll give you the best answers I can.
I won’t give you a full explanation of all the laws and wars here, but I want to remind you of two basic truths. First, much of this material teaches us about God’s justice. Remember that God is holy, and we are not. Were we to receive what we all deserve, we would all receive much worse than anything we see in the Old Testament.
Second, read the Bible in the context of the whole story. Remember where this is going. It is moving toward God joining himself to us in human flesh and suffering the full punishment of our sin. The cross stands at the center of the Scriptures, for this is where justice and mercy kiss. Nowhere is God’s justice seen more clearly than at the cross, when darkness covered the whole land and the full wrath of God was poured out upon his Son. And nowhere else is God’s mercy seen so clearly, for the Son of God bore this condemnation willingly in order to save us. This, finally, is the gracious truth revealed to us in the Scriptures, and this is why I encourage you to read them.
The peace of Christ be with you all,
P.S., Now that Lent is over, we are resuming midweek Bible study on April 30 at 7:00. We will be reviewing the daily readings for the previous week. I won’t prepare much for notes, so come with questions.