Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and feast on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord…
For several weeks I’ve pondered a quandary: How should I order my morning Bible reading for 2014? Should I read it thru fast? The 90 day plan? Or should I go chronological? There is something to be said for getting the stories in their right order.
Which way is best? Which way is best for me? What does God want?
And all I hear as I ask is nothing. Like I’m missing something. As if His silence is a waiting pause… Like He’s waiting for me to know what He’s already said.
I think listening to God is sometimes like that. Long silences that pull me close. I stand on tippy toes to catch the words. Lean in to hear.
What is He saying?
My disorganized mind needs lists. Left without direction, I wander in circles, taking inordinate amounts of time to get nowhere. I want a system; a chart with boxes to cross off. A way forward to achieve what I want.
And so on January 1 I start with a chart. It’s the one I watch my God-following man plod through every year. Every single year. It took time for him to devise his way. A beautiful balance of Old and New, wisdom and worship. He slips it between the yellowed pages of his well worn Bible, marks it forward , knows right where he’s headed.
Day One: Genesis 1,2, Matthew 1, Psalm 1, Proverbs 1.
A 20 minute read, ½ hour at most. I have the time, I have the will. I’ve done this before. I can do this.
But those beginning words…a poetic weaving of mystery and science, of who He is and who I am. The Beginning pulls me into a heart so huge, I am caught and held in wonder. I cannot hurry through. I dare not.
Created in His own image… God patterned them after Himself… to be like Ourselves.
Perched in a window, mysterious morning fog veiling the view, I cannot get past those first words. Cannot help but reach into the closets of my mind, filled with so many sermons and studies, so many silent mornings, so much beauty.
That word, “good”, tob in the Hebrew; it means so much more than simply fine. More than a good dinner, a good book, a good day. He created light and it was beautiful. He delighted in the best-ness of His made-by-hand craftsmanship.
Which means… that He made me with all my messiness. He saw the crazy chaotic workings of my brain, knew all about the random way words would catch and hold me… and He saw beauty. Not a mistake. Not someone who needs something to get it all together.
He said it was good.
And I’m an hour into this Listening time, still lingering in the first few verses of the first chapter of the first book. How will I ever drink it in fast enough? Shouldn’t I hurry up? Who gets behind on day one?
That’s when I hear the whisper…
And what is it you want?
I want to learn. I want to achieve. I want to get it all in. But mostly, really, I want to fill up. To savor each delicious bite of goodness He offers, to chew and ponder and swallow His way of truth.
I want those toxic, addictive, go-to words of not-wisdom cleansed out of my system of thinking and knowing and feeling. I want to fill up with Him.
And that’s when I know I’ll never stick to the chart. Because I can’t. Because I shouldn’t. Because He made me random and slow and He says I am beautiful that way.
Instead, I’ll follow a path. I’ll start in the beginning of the Beginning and meander through to the end. I’ll take my own sweet time. I’ll taste and twirl and swallow and write it down in tidbits that stay with me. Then I’ll start over.
And all the while I’ll “feast on His faithfulness”. Climbing into His lap, I’ll open His Book wide and ask Him to read it to me. I’ll listen to the rumble of His voice with my broken ears right up close against His chest. I’ll feel Him. I’ll learn more of Him and from Him.
I’ll be just who I am with Him… because He says I’m beautiful.
From my heart,
P.S. What about you? Do you have some sort of plan to direct the steps of your walk with God through His Word?
Might you take a moment to share it with us? What has worked and what hasn’t?
I’d love to know.
P.S.S. Here is Phil's Bible Reading Chart. It's also posted on the website for A Jesus Church. The great thing about this method is that it keeps you going back to Jesus' words all year long… and you'll fill up with the straight-forward wisdom of Proverbs by reading it through every month.