I have begun waking up early and having a regular time of Bible reading every morning. That was the first step. Now that I have found it possible (and truly, rather easy) to soak in the Word before the sun rises, my next step will be better using that precious time to reflect and listen.
I am using a nifty little iphone app called: Bible.
It’s by a group called YouVersion. It offers the Bible in just about any translation you can come up with and even has an audio version of several translations. The feature that has been most helpful is a series of devotionals and reading plans. It’s kind of like Bible Reading For Dummies (which I desperately need). Just open up the app and it will pop up with a verse of the day and then tell you what to read for this day’s devotion/plan. It tracks your progress along the way as well.
I am taking a look at the Holman Christian Standard Version translation right now. I have used, almost exclusively, the NIV my whole life, so I thought that as I began this daily journey into the Word, I would shake things up a bit and check out this newer translation.
The reading plan I chose is one of the Chronological or Historical plans. The idea behind them is to present the Bible’s events in a more or less chronological order (as best as we can ascertain). My particular plan is called: Reading God’s Story. I have been quite drawn to the theology which emphasizes a Grand Narrative that can be traced through the Bible, so this plan sounded like the right one to go with for this year,
For today’s reading, I was deluged by the Great Flood and went along for the ride with Noah.
The beauty of the Bible is that, being the very Word of God, He can use any piece of it to speak to us. My mission going into this new lifestyle of daily reading has been to understand that there is no such thing as a throwaway verse. That’s not to say that I desire to find things that aren’t there by deconstructing the translated language. Rather, I was just hoping and praying for help to be open to what God was trying to say.
This morning, I read through Genesis 6 and 7. We learn about the days leading up to Noah and then get to the ark building and actual Flood itself. Genesis 7:5 is what is probably a throwaway verse… but it jumped out at me this morning so strongly, that I had to pay more attention to it.
And Noah did everything that the Lord commanded him.
In the context of the passage, it is clearly referring to the ark building and animal gathering. But, to me, this morning, it meant much more. For someone such as myself who has incorrectly allowed a false understanding of Reason to become an idol and drag them into a sort of spiritual lull, I must admit it was a little exciting to get a loving slap on the back of the head by God. All of a sudden, I was sure that this verse was important. So, I re-read it and re-read it. OK… so… what deep theological point am I supposed to get?
I’ve been pondering off and on all day, in between preventing part shortages and babysitting suppliers at work. As I near the end of work, I am still not sure I have come up with an amazingly insightful answer. But, maybe i don’t need one.
This verse struck me because of the word everything.Again,, in context, “everything” simply means the various Ark tasks. But, I really believe it also means more than that.
Recall that God chose Noah as the only righteous man on Earth. Clearly, he truly did do everything that God commanded.
And that is where my need for the Cross came to bear. I do not do everything that God commands me. I say that I want to… I may even intend to. But, at the end of the day, good intentions are only good as paving materials for pathways to Gehenna.
And even Noah, as the last righteous man on pre-Flood earth, needed the eventual perfecting sacrifice of Jesus Christ to be redeemed. if Noah needed the Cross, how much more do I, Chief of Sinners? And so, my prayer is that we all would fall broken at the foot of the Cross. Not just once while saying that single prayer.
I have to admit that I was uneasy with David Platt’s emotional rejection of our modern understanding of how to be Saved. But, more and more, I really think he was right. It is not a Special Super Prayer which magically grants us salvation. Rather it is a HeartChange, a conscious effort to strive towards repentance. Such changes are not merely our efforts, but rather the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us… we should remind ourselves that we do not gain Salvation since it was given freely to us. What happens instead is that we produce the fruits of being Saved and this is evidence of (not requirements for) our Salvation.
So…. we celebrate the overwhelming mercy we have received and as an act of acknowledging just how lost we are without the blood of Christ, we give ourselves over to God and strive to do what He commands. Emulating Noah is not what we do to be saved… it’s what we should do because we are saved.
When I started this writing, I had no idea I was going in that direction.