The beginning of a new year. It is a time when many goals are being set: health goals, financial goals, professional goals, and a variety of other personal goals. Another particularly popular goal set by many is the one to read through the Bible in a year. This is one that many people find difficult to complete. Those few who persevere through Leviticus and Numbers eventually will fizzle out somewhere between Deuteronomy and Joshua.
It’s tough. Beginning in the Old Testament can definitely be challenging, at best, and often times a difficult read. When you couple that with trying to cram in two to three chapters a day, it becomes even more complicated. But here’s the thing: His word–it is good. It is a giant unfolding story of love, grace, and redemption. From beginning to end, it is one big story pointing to Jesus.
This year? Let this year be the one where you journey your way through the Bible with a different pair of eyes. This year, instead of taking in big chunks each day, slow down and take the time to savor the smaller pieces–digesting and enjoying the goodness wrapped in them…a goodness often overlooked.
The beautiful picture God paints through the words and stories of the Old Testament, words and stories that reveal His love and His mercy–that reveal Jesus–I somehow missed all my life. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I understood that while there are overarching lessons that can be gleaned from Old Testament stories, the heart of every story bears the shadow of the cross and gives us a glimpse of Jesus. As I have been going back and reading through familiar stories, ones I have read and heard since I was a child, I now find myself seeing it all differently. As I read, I am caught up in the magnificence of God’s amazing love for us and am in awe as I find Jesus and the story of our rescue laid out so beautifully.
Over Thanksgiving, my family and I were sharing some favorite scriptures and my brother shared this verse: “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them”. (Genesis 3:21) He shared how it was a reminder of God’s character–how even in our failures and in our shame, he loves us and cares for us. This verse stuck with me. I have been mulling it over and over for the last couple of months. He clothed them. It causes my breath to catch and my pulse to quicken. There, in a moment where Adam and Eve rejected God and His goodness, He clothed them–covering the nakedness of their sin, covering their shame.
I have always been so caught up in the verses that lead up to this passage, the verses outlying the fall, that I overlooked the words of love and grace so beautifully said. I understood and grieved over the brokenness of sin and yet did not see the act of mercy; I did not see the promised hope of redemption that is found in Christ. For all these years, I was missing out on an intimate whisper from God, a whisper that points to the One who came to clothe me, to cover me, from my sin and shame.
- I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” Isaiah 61:10 (ESV)
- For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:27 (NIV)
This year, as you open up and breathe in His Word, take your time. This is a story about Jesus–our Rescuer, our Hope, and our Refuge; this is His love story to us. I hope that as you journey this year through God’s Word, it brings you closer to Him and the understanding of His great love and His great grace.