There is something to reading the Bible in order without skipping around. I still read other things, but just going from front to back for however long it takes, proves to be a good thing over and over. It’s like two methods of preaching. One where a person picks a topic like, humility, or courage and then searches the Bible for passages having to do with the topic. If I remember right, the other kind is expository. That’s taking a verse or chapter, listening to what God is saying, and then explaining it.
Reading the Bible straight through and taking what God is saying for that day is more like the later. For example, when I am listening to God, not wanting to make a move until he says so, looking for confirmations and waiting, doubt and fear creep in like the plague. Those are the moments where you second guess your purpose and think listening to God, an unseen Being, seems crazy. And by the world’s standards, it is. “What are you doing here anyway? What if God doesn’t even speak at all anymore? You’re making way too big a deal out of this. Just get on with it! God likes people being productive, so just do something.” These are the thoughts that come into my mind ANYTIME I am waiting on God, no matter what. No matter if it’s here in Cambodia or back in Nashville, Tennessee. Then all of a sudden, I find myself working on some meaningless task just to be busy. It’s like an old re-run coming back on TV. Blah, blah, blah… God only loves me when I am “being productive.”
Reading the Bible each morning, without flipping around looking for something, instead just reading what comes along in the natural progression is so parallel to listening and waiting instead of trying to manipulate and control what is being said. Like today, plodding along in one of the less “eventful” parts, thinking about waiting on God, I hit this one,
“At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.” (Numbers 9:18 ESV)
I found encouragement there, trusting he was using the old Biblical narrative to remind me of something. He led the people out of Egypt into the wilderness. They wandered, but they were not lost. He was with them. It’s the old story of the cloud by day and fire by night. Sometimes they would camp for a night and other times a month or longer. I think the main thing is a heart to listen and obey. When you are a person like me with a tendency to rush on, being reminded to wait is a good thing. And it brings peace to know that it’s more than just a good thing. It’s what God is saying.
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”