I used to pick my way through the Bible – only reading the easier, more interesting parts. I memorized scripture but it was always the famous verses that everyone chooses as their favorites.
Of course, I avoided studying the Old Testament – who wants to read pages and pages of details about how to build the temple and huge paragraphs about acacia wood? Why would I want to read rules about what to do with your neighbor’s donkey?
And then God challenged me many years ago to help lead the way in motivating my church family to read the entire Bible in a year. Through that year, God opened my eyes to how important it is – for me, for my relationship with him, for my goal of being a devoted disciple of his – to read the Bible completely. No more picking and choosing. I have been reading the entire Bible every year since then.
I have now discovered that God speaks as clearly to me through the Old Testament as he did the new. He taught me that his direction to the Israelite community about how they should treat their neighbor’s donkey relates to how I should treat my neighbors and their possessions. He showed me how his concern for the details of building the temple of the Lord is the same concern he has for the details of my life. Now I like the parts about acacia wood.
So, as I’m reading 2 Kings and see how King Amaziah followed God but didn’t take care of all the details of removing the high places where his people worshipped pagan gods, I understand why this king’s reign was not blessed as much as King David was. King Amaziah was not fully devoted to God. He picked and chose how he wanted to obey God, ignoring some of God’s directions. And he missed the ultimate blessing of having a close relationship with God.
I will miss it, too, if I pick and choose my way through God’s word. If I decide to obey him when its easy or just when I feel like it, I will not receive all the blessings God has waiting for me.
I have decided that I’m going to continue to read the entire Bible every year so I can hear everything that God wants to teach me.
What are you choosing?
Thank you for your precious Word to us, Abba Father.