Hey, Eric here.
This is the first blog post in a series of 12 I plan to do in order to help keep us on track to finish reading the bible in a year. I will post all the relevant Bible Project videos throughout the blog in case you weren’t able to find them all. I kept them in the recommended order. If you’ve been diligent today is day 34 (Feb 3rd) , which should have you reading Leviticus chapters 14-15 along with Psalm 34. If you’re ahead on your readings I’d encourage you to slow down and reflect on what you’ve learned. Perhaps spending time to write in a journal or share with someone what stood out to you. If you’re behind, which is more likely, then I’d encourage you to “binge” read to get caught up. Also, just a reminder that you are not reading to “finish the plan” but to get to know God through Jesus. The plan is just a great tool to do so! Here are some of my reflections.
So far we have seen the splendour of creation: Its beauty, its purpose, its mystery, its goodness. We have also seen the tragic fall of Adam and Eve and, therefore, all of humanity. I wish they could’ve seen the consequences of their actions. Often, I find myself longing for the “original” world as described in Genesis. Every so often a waft of eden breezes by in the form of a hearty laugh, a close friend, or a mouth full of delicious food. It briefly drowns out the odorous stench of fallen creation, which makes itself known in the form of bitter tears, fractured relationships, and a famished world. This makes the promise of Genesis 15 potent. The promise of a coming saviour to crush the adversary, rescue us, wipe the tears, mend the fractures, and invite us into a feast.
We then see God make covenants (promises) with Abraham (and Abram if you’re picky). He’s setting the scene for this mysterious future Saviour. We get to see how some of those promises unfold by watching Jacob get his name changed to Israel, Israel’s sons forming the foundation of the nation Israel, then Israel multiplying in Egypt because of the wild things that happened to Joseph earlier. After this God decides it’s time to leave. He calls Moses into an uncomfortable situation where he has to tell probably the most powerful person in the world that a huge portion of his workforce is leaving for good. God displays his great power in an almost theatrical way. Can you imagine living in the drama of the ten plagues? Can you picture leaving everything you’ve ever known? The rush of walking in the middle of the Red Sea?
The Exodus story of Israel leaving Egypt and entering the wilderness I see as a good metaphor for us personally and as a church body. Both them and us are called to give up everything and embark on a journey toward the promise land that requires trust in God’s word. There is great hope at the end of the journey but we often get nearsighted. We focus on the hear and now rather than the future promise. We get frustrated and then grumble about others and God. The Israelites did this. The word for grumble could be translated as murmuring under one’s breath, sighing, groaning, or complaining; the word appears 32 times in the entire bible. Shockingly, 21 of those times the word was used regarding the people of Israel grumbling against Moses, Aaron (the head priest), or God. They almost immediately stopped trusting God after he rescued them and wanted to go back to their life of slavery! The first thing they grumbled about was not having anything to drink. How often is this true of us? We enter into God’s promise and begin the journey in the wilderness only to double back because at least in Egypt, even if we know it’s slavery, we can choose when we want to drink. Thankfully, God shows himself to be a God of justice and mercy. Not letting Israel get away with the grumbling but not destroying them either.
That’s all for now. Keep reading, thinking, praying, wrestling, and applying the words of the Bible. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise person who built his house on the rock” (Matt 7:24).
PS. If you’ve never trusted God before then all this probably sounds crazy and far fetched. What would compel someone to “leave their comfort” and “enter into” a promise that makes their lives seemingly harder, especially since it seems like there is no guarantee of this future promise? Keep (or start) reading the scriptures and get to know the story. It all points to Jesus and starts to make more sense once you get know Him. Promise!