When You Need the Big Picture in Small Doses

Last week I shared a handful of ways God’s word has permeated my heart and mind over the last several months. One of those ways is consuming large quantities of the Bible with the prayer that I might see the big picture, the Story of God’s great love for wayward people played out across the pages of History.

photo (10)Today I’d like to share with you one way to do this in smaller portions, in a more manageable method. If your schedule is not so permitting with time for reading, the Daily Office Lectionary may be a great tool for your regular time in God’s word.

The Lectionary provides four different readings for each day of the year: Psalms, Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel. Especially as the readings follow the Church calendar from Advent to Pentecost, these collections are sweet to draw the heart to the faithfulness of God as He has woven His Story throughout the Scriptures.

Today’s readings are from Psalm 89, Genesis 49, 1 Corinthians 10-11, and Mark 7. You can see the selections and read them here.

Psalm 89 speaks of the faithfulness of God to generation after generation of His people. The psalmist continually praises God as the delight of all who know Him and walk according to His ways. He particularly magnifies the promises of God to David and His fulfillment despite the people’s wickedness. God will make a people for Himself, a holy nation. It becomes clear as the psalmist ends that these very people have abandoned God and been left to their own devices in the fall out. He begs for God to remember His faithfulness and return to His people for His own name’s sake.

God will make a people for Himself, a holy nation.

Genesis 49 recounts the death of Jacob and the blessings he bestowed on his sons in his final days. Further reading of Scripture attests to the ultimate fulfillment of Jacob’s words, which read more like prophecies. Especially as Jacob blesses Judah, we see again the ultimate promise of God to bring a ruler and redeemer for His people. The line of Judah will rule forever in David and then in Jesus.

Each of these blessings attests to the intention of God to continually multiply His people, growing them into His own inheritance.

First Corinthians 10 and 11 find us in the new covenant, living after Jesus, the better David. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth about how this new identity in Christ ought to inform everything they do and the motives thereof. Even those of us in Jesus must flee from the temptation to worship false gods, the pride that causes our brothers and sisters to stumble, and the seemingly harmless ways of the world. Instead, we are called to live in such a way that all are invited into the covenant as the people of God. With the world watching, and with love for fellow believers, Paul describes the lives of those who have been brought into the blessing of God: “So, whether you eat or you drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” This is the identity of the Church, God’s chosen people: those who imitate Christ to the glory of God.

Paul describes the lives of those
who have been brought into the blessing of God…

Finally, in Mark we see Jesus giving Himself to Gentiles, the ones who had never been God’s people. Though some had come to Him throughout the Old Testament, the Jews of Jesus’ day were staunchly convinced their God was just that–theirs. What no one saw coming, despite the promise of God to bless all families through the people of Israel, was the heart of God to welcome Jews and Gentiles alike into this new covenant. Jesus changes everything they ever thought about God and how to come to Him. God was not looking for the ones from the right families who had kept all the right laws and were doing all the right things. Jesus came for the ones who were desperately in need of rescue. His blunt conversation with the woman shows His love for the ones who could not help themselves. His tenderness with the deaf man reveals His desire for each individual to know His love. These who would never have been chosen by the world, these are the ones to whom Jesus proves Himself faithful.

And as we read these portions of God’s word in light of Lent, we see how desperate we deeply are for the Savior who came to bring the outsiders in, to bring the far away near, to bring the dead to life. We, who had no power to get ourselves into His blessing, have been brought near by the One who gave His life for us. We catch this vision of God building a beautiful inheritance, the redeemed of the Lord. We abandon the old things, and we run toward Jesus, the God who brings us in.

We, who had no power to get ourselves into His blessing,
have been brought near by the One who gave His life for us.

It is my prayer for you today, Beloved, that this God would make real to your heart how very accepted and welcomed you are. As you bring His word into your mind, I pray you will be renewed in all your thinking to bring glory to God for all He has done on your behalf.

***

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

***

For more information about the Book of Common Prayer click here. You can also download the Lectionary app to have these readings with you wherever you go; made for iPhone and Android.

***

Share with us:

  • What structure has been most beneficial in helping you read the Bible?
  • Do you typically read your physical Bible or use an app on your phone?
  • What have you been reading lately?

Share this? Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail