Seven Lessons from 1,500 Years of History
In October, over a 20-day period, I read through about 1,500 years of history – 388 pages of print that was far too small, and without any pictures! I read Genesis to 2 Chronicles, in order (except I read 1 Chronicles immediately after 1-2 Samuel). I wanted to read the Old Testament storyline in the same way that I would read any other book. There is a place for detailed study of the Bible; however, there is also a place for simply reading the Bible — reading until you “finish the book.”
As I read through these books, there were seven things that impressed me:
- The story is about God. I read about a lot of Bible personalities, but the Bible is the revelation of God. I was reminded that the people we refer to as “Bible characters” are simply people who happened to be alive during the time of the Bible storyline.
- God has revealed himself and his nature through his actions. Lists of God’s characteristics are few and far between in the Old Testament.
- God chose the people of Israel and wanted to bless them based on his nature and purpose. God’s way of penetrating the world in that time was proactive. Can it be any other way today?
- Israel was constantly challenged to make choices and to follow God whole-heartedly.
- When God rejected Israel for disobedience, he was willing to take them back at the slightest evidence of repentance and return. Amazing grace!
- God’s promise to Israel to establish them in their own land was conditional – based on their obedience. Reading the stories of judges and kings in about a week, I was impressed by how often God warned them that he would remove them from the land he had promised them.
- God’s promise to Abraham — renewed to David — to maintain an heir as king continued even when Israel disobeyed. The contrast between God’s conditional promise and God’s unconditional promise was striking as I read the story.
The story is about God.
I am confident that another rapid reading would yield even more insights. I encourage you to try it! For a week or two, set aside a little more time each day and read the Bible like you would read a book. You will be surprised at what you see!