Updated: Mar 31, 2022
Enough with the Nodding!
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
We hide behind many things.
Our status or our titles,
our backgrounds or our family name,
our schedules or our social circles.
We may even hide behind our church attendance and call it good.
And while we're there (by "there," I mean church), whether weekly or on a special holiday, we may do even more hiding. But, it's often more subtle.
We may hide behind a nod. Angie Smith knows about this nod all too well. In her book, Seamless, she writes,
One of the first things I learned about successfully fitting in with Christians was the power of nodding. It made people think I understood things I didn't, and it covered over the insecurity of feeling like the Bible was never going to make sense to me. So, when they said things like, "I'm so inspired by Paul's courage," I would bob my head and make a mental note to investigate later. - Angie Smith, Seamless
Uh, can you say, ditto?!
Enough with the nodding! This a nod-free zone.
In this series, we're creating space for questions. Let's drop these things we're hiding behind and come to God's Word, humble and ready to learn.
It's not a "been there, read that" kind of book.
There are new wisdoms and insights to learn each time. Like we've come to realize, it's the only book that reads you while you read it.
And because we are not meant to hide behind nodding, we're spending some time to get an overview of The Bible and understand how it all is woven together for one cohesive story and how it includes you and me.
Last week, we talked about creation. Of all the things God could have told us about Himself when He introduced Himself to us, He chose Creator. He wanted us to know how creative He is and how we are made in His image - how we bear the image of God! This is the foundation for the entire story. We are not just here by happenstance. We have been created for a purpose in this particular time in the story. He loves us so much He gave us His own image! He wants us to know Him and have relationship with Him.
Gosh, doesn't that just blow the first page of all the books we've ever read completely out of the water?! There's no story like this one. And there never will be.
For this reason, let's keep going.
Genesis, as we discussed last week, simply means beginning.
Genesis is the first book of The Bible and it's the first book of the Torah. "Torah" is a Hebrew word for "instruction," "teaching," or "law." The Torah is the compilation of the first five books of The Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - and these were written by Moses.
(Who would've thought the baby found in the river would be chosen by God to teach the ways of God and give the people the law, or the ten commandments, and become the first author of God's Word? God uses unlikely people in unlikely circumstances to carry out His will. We're going to see this again and again.)
17 Books of History
As we look at the first seventeen books of the Old Testament (Genesis to Esther), let's think of these as the history.
So just for fun and to make this history talk more tangible, let's pretend we're in Boston - the place of Paul Revere's ride and the tea party and hollers of "The British are coming!" And ya know, what's so interesting is they themselves were British!
Any who, we're getting off track. Main thing is, if we were in Boston, we'd be at our starting point of the Freedom Trail. If you've never been, basically imagine a red line in the sidewalk which trails for about two and a half miles to outline over a dozen historical stops. Walking this trail, you are "walking the footsteps of our founding fathers" as they like to say, or something like that. I'm not in Boston, but you very well may be. Regardless, this is important -
We, too, are at the start of our Freedom Trail. We, too, are walking the footsteps of the founding father of our faith. His name is Abraham and we'll meet him soon enough.
The Bible, as we're about to see, is a story about our freedom. And as we know, freedom ain't free. A price must be paid. A war must be waged. A battle must be fought.
Blood must be shed.
And it was. Oh dear friend, how it was. We'll get there, too. For now, let's put our feet here on the Freedom Trail marker and let's get to marching!
In the beginning of The Bible, we first learn about creation and The Fall (Genesis). "The Fall" is a well-known term to describe when sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In doing this, they and all of humankind were separated from God.
This may sound dramatic but it makes sense. We know God is the ultimate good. There is no evil in Him. So when sin entered man, we could no longer live in this perfect place with God as He intended.
So that freedom we were just speaking of? Sin entered the world with a bite and put shackles on our feet. Yet, even in this, God gave us a promise Eve would have a child to one day set everything right.
(Even from the very beginning, the story of The Bible points to Jesus. Spoiler - that's the whole point of the Old Testament. Think of these 39 books in the Old Testament as a lighthouse, serving as a beacon of hope, directing us straight to our rescue, Jesus, who we meet in the New Testament.)
In short, Genesis is the "beginning" of the love story and tells us why we need His love.
And need His love, we so desperately do. Have you ever messed up? Or, maybe you feel like your family is messed up and no where even close to the "Leave It to Beaver" family we sometimes long to portray? Well, read The Bible. You'll see we're in good company. It's full of messed up people just like you and me.
Speaking of... immediately following The Fall, sin gets bad. Then worse. It gets so bad and so rampant, the wrath of God is known. But also the grace of God is known as He graciously preserves one family, the family of Noah, as well as a male and female pair of every animal and creature, before flooding the earth.
Again, we get another promise. The rainbow is a promise God will never again flood the earth, but it is also a reminder. Even when we don't deserve relationship with God, when our sin is great, He gives us another chance because His love is greater.
Quick insert - Job (pronounced "Jobe") is the 18th book of The Bible, but it's worth mentioning now because it is believed Job lived not long after the flood.
Job's story is not the easiest to read because Job was righteous before God yet great pain, suffering, and loss he knew. (When prosperity gospel is preached, it makes me wonder if skipped they book of Job.) Even though it's hard to imagine such terrible affliction on someone who was "blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil" (Job 1:1), it's an incredible book and worth your time. It's rare because the curtain is pulled back and we get to see the schemes of the enemy up close.
The remarkable takeaway about Job - Even in all of his suffering, he never doubted God's goodness.
He knew these three things and never wavered -
He is good.
He is God.
He is good at being God.
No matter what came or what was taken from him, those three truths remained steadfast in Job's heart and mind.
How I pray it is so for us. In all the ways we're tempted to doubt, may God's goodness and sovereignty be a truth which never wavers within us.
Friend, today was our first step in the Freedom Trail. We've got a lot more ground to cover, and I can't wait to spend more time with you next week! Same place, same time. Or different time. You know where to find me!
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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