Last night, I finished reading Zecharia. I have one book left in the Old Testement and I'll have read the whole thing in less than a year. I should of gotten through it faster, I didn't read every day or even every other day. Sometimes I went a week or two without reading a single word. Its not that I didn't have time, I can make time to read, I do that all the time, its just that I just didn't want to. I had no desire. Those few times when I was able to work around that and I found myself saying "I really should do some reading of Scripture" more often than not I found something that really struck home or made a bad situation seem not so bad.
It has been my experience that the harder I work on my faith to deepen it and understand it more the harder it is to work on my faith to deepen it and understand it. The harder I work to know God and His Son the harder Satan works to throw blocks and obstacles in my way. It has happened to me many times. When I was a camp counselor it was bad, when I was in seminary I was convinced that the place was Godless. But I think God uses these thoughts and challenges to His glory. I'm sure he does.
I think of Job and how God allowed Satan to throw test after test after test at Job. And Job, somehow, got through each one stronger than before. I'm no Job, but I have found myself tackling and working tests more often-- sadly I fail (in my mind) more than I succeed.
This year long bible reading started as a lark. I was chaufferring my father to a preaching gig for a couple weeks and he had to do two services. I would attend the early one and sit in the car for the second one. One day, I took my Bible (aka the Playbook) and I opened it to Genesis 1:1 and started reading. Before long I had finished Genesis and was into Exodus... and I realized that I had never read the Bible from beginning to end book by book. I have read the bible multiple times, but its usually a book here a book there (I know when I finish a book because I write the date finished at the beginning of the book in the corner-- some books have more dates than others). I'll admit, sometimes my eyes glazed over and I read, but I didn't comprehend (after awhile reading about making the Temple yeah high and yeah wide got old...) Reading Psalms and Proverbs was a great experience. I read the Song of Solomon and was amazed at the love for the Church God has-- that's how I read it-- as a dialogue between a couple: the Woo-er and the Woo-ee (that sounds funny...). God, in this case, is the Woo-er... and the Church is the Woo-ee. Daniel was another eye opening experience-- reading Daniel I see how God's Hand has been in history. The dream about the statue left me quietly shocked mainly because i realized (again) that everything written about in Daniel can be verified via secondary sources.
Another thing is I have a feeling of accomplishment. It feels really good to have gotten so far and to have kept at it (poor as it was) as long as I did. I had a goal. I was driven. I wanted to get through the Old Testement within a year. I think that was a good thing, but a bad thing, too. The reason for that is this: I was able to slough off a bit because I knew I had plenty of time and when spring started rolling into summer I kicked it up a notch and got through the minor prophets.
Now comes Malachi, the last book. I've read Malachi alot mainly because I've tried to read the Old Testement backwards from the last book to the first. In theory its kind of a good idea because getting those little books out of the way at the end give me some feeling of accompishment. I had actually gotten all the way to Psalms a couple times (there I would read Psalm 119 first, read through to Psalm 150 and then read Psalm 1-118, again accomplishment), but somewhere along the way I'd get bored and not read any more.
Reading from beginning to end had another unintended "consequence." After reading through some of the more bloody and violent episodes and reading some of the God's anger stuff I started almost begging for Gospel and the sweet sound of Jesus voice. (My reading took on a faster pace for a while because of that-- I wanted to find the proverbial light at the end of the dark tunnel).
As soon as I get done writing this I shall take a hot shower, get into bed and read Malachi. I'll get exhorted to tithe and to test the Lord in this because my "barn" will be filled to overflowing. That might of sounded cynical the way I wrote that, but I didn't mean it to be. I'm quite excited about reading that, again. I need to hear that, often. If there is one part of my faith life that I really need work on it is that (not that other parts don't need some serious work, too-- trust me, they do).
I pray the Lord continue to guide me in his Word and in my Faith. Through Him and only Him am in Grace and have Salvation.