openbook

There is great temptation to think that after one has read the Bible multiple times, there's nothing more to be had by doing it another time.

This Ash Wednesday once again I heard the prophet Joel speak his annual invitation from chapter 2 of his prophecy: "return to the Lord your God, etc." For some reason I never got the meaning of his words in verse 14 – "Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing – grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God." It was the "leave behind a blessing" of grain and drink offerings that never seemed to make sense. But this year as I read those words, I got it. The blessing God would leave was the restoration of those offerings – a renewed supply of grain and wine that the locust plague had previously destroyed. This is but another example of the observation that what God demands He also provides. It is like what Abraham expected of God when he told his son Isaac, "God Himself will provide the ram for the sacrifice." Both foreshadow the perfect sacrifice God himself would provide for the world in His Son.

Now the point I wish to make here is this: reading the Bible multiple times can provide you with fresh insights. No matter how many times one reads through John, or Genesis, or 2nd Peter, there are new gems to be mined, new insights to be gained. A recent surveys say that pastors don't read the Bible for their own devotions much at all, using it only as a source book for their sermons and Bible classes. Resist the temptation to believe that since you've already read it for such purposes, there is nothing more to be learned from God's Word. Happy re-reading!