March 18 “Reading through the Bible … start now!

Have you thought about reading through the Bible, but just never did? So why start now? Why today? Why not?

Twice in the book of Hebrews God said, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

red pencil choosing the right date

You can follow along here or just find a reading plan that fits your personality. But don’t think “a reading plan that fits your personality” doesn’t mean it won’t take effort and some time.

If you follow along with me here at Soul Survival, I’ll add some practical commentary to help you get more out of your reading. Simply sign up to receive blog via email.

You can just jump in where we are or if you can’t bear not to start at the beginning, you can go back to January 1 and start there. But don’t overburden yourself by thinking you can “catch up.” It’s not a race. Our goal is to know God better and to understand His plan for our lives.

And for those of you who have been reading along with me for a while or perhaps dropping in occasionally, I know it can be challenging some mornings sticking to the commitment to read your the Bible. But as long as you say “maybe next year,” it just doesn’t happen, not until you say “no, this is the year I’m doing it!”

Even if it gets done with some fits and starts, even if you miss a few days, I encourage you to stick with it. The reward is a deeper relationship with Jesus and it’s sweeter than you can imagine!

On to the Word …

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 33 & 34
Psalm 35.9-16
Proverbs 12.2
Mark 15.1-24

False gods

Numbers 33 & 34:

Gods without heads or hands

In chapter 33 Moses recounts the journeys of the Nation of Israel beginning with their departure from Egypt. Talking about the judgment God had brought on the Egyptians, 33.4 says, “… Also on their gods the LORD had executed judgments.” God not only punished the Egyptians for their treatment of His people, but destroyed and discredited, the false gods they relied on.

We see another time when God brought judgment on a symbol of pagan worship in 1 Samuel 5.1-5. The Philistines had captured the ark of the covenant from the Israelites. They took it and put it in the temple of their pagan god Dagon and set it by the idol. In the morning the statue of Dagon had fallen on its face before the ark. Verse 3, “So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it.”

What a picture of the futility of “worshiping” anything other than the true God. Anything else is without reason (the head) or ability (the hands) to bring any real help. And yet, just like the pagans in Bible times, we continue to look to our false gods by relying on ourselves, our money, our jobs, our relationships, and the list goes on, to bring us peace, joy and satisfaction and to meet our needs. God never intended for those things to replace Him.

If that’s you, ask for His forgiveness and turn to Him in a fresh way today.

Psalm 35.9-16:

He delivers those who understand their poverty

Verse 10, “All my bones shall say, ‘LORD, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?'”

When Paul cried out to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s response was, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Sometimes we are in the most danger when we think we are strong. But when we know we are poor (weak), we are more likely to rely on God. 1 Corinthians 10.12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

And don’t forget Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in spirit are those who realize they are spiritually destitute who cry out for God’s salvation and help.

When we recognize our weakness and turn to God to get us through something, He will. That can be anything from a job loss to our seeming inability to be faithful in reading His Word daily.

Proverbs 12.2:

He knows the intentions of our hearts

“A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.” God is the only true “heart-knower.” He even knows the “intentions” of our hearts.

Mark 15.1-24:

Mocked by those with nothing to gain

Not only did His own people turn against Him and the Roman government sentence Him to death, but Jesus was mocked by people like the Roman soldiers who placed that crown of thorns on His head and the purple robe on Him and bowed in mock worship.

Have you ever been “mocked” by people who had nothing to gain or lose by it, but just seemed to make a sport of mocking you for your “religion” or your unwillingness to participate in something?

Hebrews 4.15-16 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Just as we saw in the Psalms passage, if we recognize our need, whatever that may be, and come to the One who can help, He is our faithful High Priest, who not only hears, but understands.

May you find rest, reassurance and help as you look to the Lord today,
Donna

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