As a part of "The Year of Health" Mark and I are working on our physical and spiritual health. One of the spiritual health components is a hard core Bible reading plan unofficially dubbed "B90X". Essentially you read through the entire Bible in 90 days. It didn't seem too daunting...until about halfway through Day 1. There is a lot of reading. It probably takes me 45 minutes to an hour each day to make it to the next stopping point.
I have to say though - I am thoroughly enjoying it. (Well, OK. Leviticus and Numbers were a bit dry at times...) I have learned so much...so, so much - and I'm only in Judges. I wanted to blog about a few things I'm learning so far.
1. There are a lot of sordid tales in the Bible! I happened to pick up a few novels at the library this week, and I find myself more shocked at some of the stories in the Bible than I am by some of the novels I'm reading. Maury Povich would have a field day with some of these folks. ("Judah...you ARE the father!")
2. Idolatry was - and is - a huge problem. I tend to think of idolatry as an Israelite issue, but when it comes to what offends God, well, I've got issues too. I have had to really examine my own heart as I read about the faltering faith of God's chosen people when they headed out of Egypt. When they built the golden calf, they hadn't seen their leader in 40 days. They didn't know where they were heading. They had just been freed from slavery, but didn't know (or trust) that freedom with God was better. And they tried to deal with the fear by "fixing" things themselves. Through some interesting circumstances recently, I have found myself doing the same thing. God is worth waiting on. Anything I produce in His place is a cheap and potentially deadly imitation.
3. God required the Israelites to drive out and destroy everyone and everything as He led them into the Promised Land. I used to think God did that because He was angry. Now I realize He did that because He is smart. He knows us. I have felt so convicted by this. It only takes one little, seemingly inconsequential "thing" to turn our eyes away from God. The things that cause me doubt or despair or fear or the things that delight me more than God Himself need to be immediately dismissed and removed from my heart. It won't be easy - it wasn't for the Israelites. But if they wanted peace in their land, they needed Go alone and no distractions. The same is true of me.
4. Prostitutes usually lead to trouble...unless they lead to your rescue. I love Rahab. Granted she was a woman of the night, but she recognized and believed that the God of Israel is the one, true God. And she loved her family enough to be sure they were saved along with her. That's good stuff.
5. People really, really needed nicknames.
B90X has been a real challenge for me - and I'm only 19 days in! I have had days when I procrastinated on my reading, but no matter where or when I picked it up, I learned something that really matters. Now I am getting to a point where I look forward to - and almost crave - my time with the Bible. It is a lot like eating healthy - once you start, your body changes its cravings to the good stuff. I hope this keeps happening.