Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days: Two Months Down Less than One to Go

The last few weeks have been spent reading the Major and Minor Prophets in the Old Testament.  Assuming I finish my reading today, I will finally be in the New Testament.  Yes, I've been reading for 68 days and am just now starting the New Testament.

While reading the Prophets I have had a hard time deciding how they relate to me and my life as a Christian.  I have found a few things that really stood out to me.

God gave the Isrealites many, many chances to change their ways before taking action to get their attention and punish/correct them.  A Veggie Tales song immediately comes to mind - God is a God of second chances, second chances...  But they kept rejecting Him, over, and over, and over, again.

We have all dealt with rejection at some point in our lives.  It is a very hurtful experience.  Can you imagine what it is like to be God and have people continually and constantly reject Him, when all He wants is to have a relationship with us?   It is amazing that He keeps trying and He continues to be faithful to us, even when we are not faithful to Him. 

I have had many times when reading the Old Testament that I haven't liked the punishing God depicted there.  I have finally realized that it is because I know that I will and do mess up and I don't want to think about possibly being corrected myself.  But as a parent, I know that children learn from correction and while it isn't pleasant for anyone involved, it is a necessary part of learning. 

God has a plan for our lives.  If we follow that plan getting from Point A to Point B is usually a much smoother experience than when we decide we know best and do our own thing.  I believe we still get to Point B, where God wants us to be, but the path is just much more difficult as we have to learn along the way what God was so willing to show us. 

I found it interesting that the people whose faith was noticed by others were not people who were trying to impose their beliefs on others.  I'm thinking about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, aka Belteshazzar Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  I never knew that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had different names.  I find it interesting that they are know by their Babylonian names not their Hebrew names, yet Daniel is the opposite. 

Daniel kept praying to God even when the law said he couldn't.  He didn't go around telling everyone the law was wrong. Daniel just kept on living the way God told him.  Did he get in trouble? Yes.  But in the end because of his quiet, steady faith in the power of God, un-believers (King Darius) witnessed and recognized the power, greatness and sovereignty of God.

This same theme was seen again with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  They refused to go against God's laws for them, were willing to endure the consequences of that refusal, and confident in God's protection of them.  They did not go around telling everyone else how to live, or that what the were doing was wrong.  They just did what God told them to do and let their example speak for itself.  When God rewarded their faith and unyielding belief in Him, unbelievers were awed by the power and greatness of God.

I think it is such an important lesson for us to remember.  How we live our day to day lives matters so much more than anything we can say.  It is the true test of our faith and what those around us really notice.  To bring others to Christ, we don't have to even mention His name.  We have to live a authentic life for Him.

Are you reading the Bible in 90 Days?  What is standing out to you?


1 comment:

Lisa said...

I absolutely loved that you had some of the same reflections I did upon reading the Old Testament. I have several friends who are reading the Bible in 90 days. Way to go!!! That is a lot of dedication and prayer.