One thing I have been praying for this week during my reading is to delight in the time I spend in God’s Word. This week has been a busy one for me and there were days I thought, “Just let me take care of this one thing before I settle into my Bible reading.” Big mistake—at least for me! I don’t mean to suggest that there’s a right or wrong time to do our Bible reading but I have found that if I don’t spend that time with the Lord first in my day, a few outcomes are likely:
- Bible reading becomes more task-oriented than relationship-oriented.
- The day gets away from me and what I thought might be a 15-minute delay turns into hours.
- When I open my Bible, distractions of various sorts, from within and without, begin to intrude on what I intended to be quiet time with the Lord.
What kinds of things interfere with a sense of delight as you spend time in God’s Word? What helps you to refocus?
For reflection…(With apologies to New Testament readers, I’m finding a lot to reflect on in the Old Testament readings this week, so I’ll include a few more questions than usual.)
- What purposes did God have in bringing Israel to the Promised Land?
- Why did God seem so adamant that the inhabitants of the Promised Land needed to be driven out? Does this seem harsh to you?
- Consider this quote about Sabbath rest in the Promised Land from Nancy Guthrie’s book Even Better than Eden:
“…[Israel] would be regularly reminded that God would be faithful to preserve their inheritance, not merely in the Promised Land of Canaan, but in the ultimate promised land of the new heaven and the new earth…God led his people into the Promised Land of Canaan with a promise that he would make them fruitful and that they would subdue the animal kingdom and exercise dominion: [See Leviticus 26:6-9]. Perhaps Israel, as God’s firstborn son, would collectively accomplish the work that Adam failed to accomplish. Perhaps Israel would dwell in this garden-like land, worshiping and serving God…Or perhaps not” (pp. 99-100).
Have you considered a connection between the Promised Land and the Garden of Eden? Does this re-shape your perception of the Promised Land in any way?
- What temptations will Israel be prone to when they receive God’s blessings? (Deut 8-9); In Deut 9:6, God tells Israel His blessing is not due to ________. So why does He choose to bless them? Why does He choose to bless us?
- As we move from Mark’s succinct gospel account to Luke’s detailed account, what differences do you notice in the beginnings of the books? How do the details provided in the opening chapters of Luke reflect the purpose he states in 1:1-4?
- In Luke 1, there are two parts that are written in a poetic form (1:47-55; 68-79). How do you envision Mary and Zechariah expressing these words? What truths do these passages speak of that Mary and Zechariah evidently had in their minds? How did these truths impact their hearts? How do you respond to these truths? Do you experience more of a head response or a heart response as you read these two passages?
- Bible maps: If you are reading the Old Testament, the maps found in a study Bible or online can be helpful in tracing the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land. Maps can also be helpful as we “travel” with Christ throughout the gospels.
Okay, I need to quit, or this post will be too long for anyone to actually read!
Blessings to you,