It’s almost the end of March, and many have just finished reading Deuteronomy…finally. We’d rather have been reading Joshua and some historical narrative again. Ah yes, the dreaded law books. How in the world do we read this very long, detailed account of the Law of Moses with joy and grace? After all, we are people who love God and love His Word. We love all of God’s Word. But how does one read those long lists of dietary laws, ceremonial cleansings, regulations and prohibitions, a dispensation from which we are far removed? What could those geneological lists and the Old Testament ceremonial laws have to do with me in the Age of Grace? We are not under the Law (Gal. 5:18), so in what way is this portion of our Scriptures profitable to us, and how to we come to love it?
Just Read It
First of all, if you are new to reading through the Bible, my advice is to just do it. As a new Christian, and especially for those who never had much exposure to the Bible or church, it can be a little tedious. It can seem difficult. However, understanding of the Word grows with time and familiarity. It’s nothing mystical. A warm fuzzy feeling doesn’t sweep over your upper abdomen. Of course that’s not to say that God’s Word isn’t encouraging and comforting, but how we feel isn’t usually an indicator that God is working in our lives. There is, however, a growing store of knowledge and encouragement as you give your heart and mind every opportunity to listen to God’s Word.
So even when you come to passages in the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible) or the Minor Prophets (the last several books of the Old Testament), keep reading. I’ve been saved for 34 years now. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read through the Bible, but I know that it’s only within the last third of my Christian walk that I really seem to glean from the difficult passages. (The reason for much of that “lost” time is that I was young and didn’t really start reading through my Bible each year until my last years of high school.) The interest and love of the whole Bible will come, just stick with it.
Read it out of Love
It’s very much like my relationship with my husband. We love each other very much, and we did when we were newlyweds, of course! But those first years of marriage were challenging in that I did not understand a lot of my sweetheart’s quirks or habits. I just kind of sighed and accepted it, sometimes even suffered through it. I’m sure he thinks the same about me [wink]! But as time goes by, I’m coming to see his way of thinking more and more, and those habits and quirks make more sense to me now. It is the same with my Lord and me. I may not have understood the difficult passages in His Word early in my walk with Him, and I surely have not appreciated fully what is there. But I’m growing in it.
I now have some Bible history with a Dispensational understanding of the Word under my belt. I wish I would have learned all of that sooner. Now as I read about all of the sin offerings, I have a deeper understanding of how serious a matter is sin and how complete was Christ’s sacrifice. One gets the feeling of drudgery that there just never was enough to cover the transgressions of the people! Praise Him for his perfect sinless sacrifice, the death of Christ at Calvary. It is finished! No more Leviticuses will be written. The old has passed away, the new is come (Heb. 8:13; 10:11-12).
Read it with Joy
I almost wrote, “Read it for Fun.” In some ways, it does become fun to comb through the passages and look for gems of truth. What does the Bible actually say about this or that account? Am I remembering it correctly? Whatever happened to Caleb after he and Joshua spied out the land of Canaan? These are all enjoyable thoughts as we read the Bible, but in truth it is really just part of the joy we have in the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The same God Who wrote the commandments on tablets of stone Himself, still is seeking any who will have a soft heart toward Him (Deut. 30:19-20).
So keep reading your Bible. Read all of it. Read it with love and joy in the Lord.