How long, O LORD ? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? - Psalm 79:5
Both the Psalms today are written by Asaph.
Psalm 78: At a whopping 3 pages, this Psalm looks to be the longest so far. Unfortunately, it's another biblical recap. At least it isn't an entire book this time. It is just Asaph retelling the story of Moses, and talking about how naughty the Israelites were for rebelling.
Psalm 79: Asaph prays that God will return and destroy Israel's enemies. Asaph complains that God has left them to die and refuses to avenge them.
Am I better than Christians that don't read their bibles every day? I don't know. I'm just asking questions.
A concerned Christian wrote a letter to Billy Graham that I thought was interesting:
DEAR REV. GRAHAM: One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to read some of the Bible every day. But like most of my resolutions, I've failed to keep it. I found some of it interesting, but I didn't really understand most of it, so I stopped. Was I doing something wrong?I generally think that the "I don't understand what's going on" problem stems from reading the KJV. In reading the NIV, I've had no problems understanding. Hating what I was reading? Being bored out of my mind? Yes. But I understood what was going on.
Billy brings up some interesting points in his response that I've been wanting to address. First of all, he brings up one of my original motivations for reading the bible, "nothing will help you become the person God wants you to be more than the Bible." I know, I haven't gotten to the "good part" yet, but I think this experience has so far made me like religion less instead of making me "the person God wants me to be".
Here's what I really want to talk about:
You aren't alone in finding the Bible difficult; many people have the same problem. But it doesn't need to be like this if you approach it in the right way. For example, many people do what you did: They start at the beginning and try reading the Bible straight through. After all (they say), isn't that the way you read any other book?This isn't just Billy Graham's idea, I hear this from many Christians that I talk to. "You've started in the wrong place". The biggest problem with this assertion is that it directly undermines the hypothesis that the bible is the "all perfect" word of God. The book is perfect, but oh by the way, if you start in the wrong spot (aka the beginning) you're going to absolutely hate it.
Yes, perhaps so — but when we come to the Bible, it's better to begin at the center — that is, with Jesus Christ. All Scripture points to Him, and He is the center of God's plans for this world. Begin, therefore, with one of the Gospels in the New Testament (I often suggest John), for they tell us about Jesus — His life, death and resurrection for us.
[tl;dr Start in the middle so you don't read the nasty/boring stuff.]
Another point, this comes off to me as intellectually dishonest. The concerned Christian knows that the beginning of the bible contains terrible atrocities committed by God, but the middle is all flowers and sunshine. So why not start there? Because once you know Jesus loves you, you won't care that God indiscriminately kills people and sends bears to eat children (supposedly you won't care, I mean). Or even better, maybe that rabid atheist you're trying to make read the bible will only read the middle to the end, and just not bother reading that nasty bit at the beginning.
Billy's closing advice is this:
Read a small portion every day — perhaps only a few paragraphs at first. Ask God to help you understand what you're about to read, and then read it carefully and thoughtfully. What does it tell us about God, or Jesus, or God's will for our lives? Then ask yourself what God is teaching you through it, and what difference it should make in your life.Good questions, what does sending bears to eat children tell us about God? What does it tell us about God's will for our lives when he swiftly dispatches two cities filled with people? What lesson is God teaching us when he punishes certain people differently than others (all people should be killed for adultery, except David!)? Ok, maybe those questions aren't so good after all.
(via The Wichita Eagle)