The most famous verse in Jeremiah is assuredly 29:11. It is such a hopeful verse such an inspiring verse. The NIV gives it as
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“
But here is my problem with this verse, it’s about Israel’s exiles. He’s talking about them as a whole, but I’m sure even back then people took it personally. So, no I don’t mind you taking it personally. Just remember Jeremiah was the one who recorded these words. and what was in his future?
I have nothing against Egypt. However Jeremiah 42:22 summarizes the whole chapter with the words.
“So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”
And what should happen in the very next chapter, but they take Jeremiah and go down to Egypt. Worst. Kidnapping. Ever.
Maybe the King James Version says it better.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
It may not be our role in life to be clearly blessed, but we are for God’s glory and what else matters. Perhaps we will get taken places against our will, as long as we stand firm we will be in his plans.
A couple of weeks ago I posted about the Bible being a book of books. I wrote a little about how some of the books are smaller.
Today I’m going to talk about these smaller books.
I love reading them. It makes you sound so accomplished, “I read an entire book of the Bible today”. But in all honesty, except for Philemon and Jonah, I struggle to remember what is in these books. I feel really bad, that I forget what these books are about, but they sort of run together.
Off and on for the last fifteen months though I’ve been working on a slight solution for myself. Every day after reading the sections of the Bible that I’m in, if I have time I’ll read a little book.
Now if I were to change which book I read everyday, it wouldn’t really help. So I don’t. Perhaps I could change which book I read every week. A fortnight would give me more time to become familiar with it. But, what I’ve been doing is changing books every month.
It really helps. I pick up on themes. Words will jump out. Sentences will become clear.
Do you have this trouble? How do you deal with it?
Everyone agrees that the Bible is a long (deep, confusing, and old) book. What is easy to forget is the reason it is so long, is that it is made up of lots of books. (I think that sentence was convoluted enough, don’t you) How many books is up to debate.
Do you divide the first and seconds into different books? What about the fact that Psalms clearly considers itself to be five books? Some of the books are no longer than a short article. (How big do you suppose Philemon would be if it was printed up? Sexagesimo-quarto, Aka the smallest standard book size at 3 by 2 inches) Would you include the Apocrypha?
Just imagine how much space they would take up if each book was printed like a normal book today. The paper is normally super thin in Bibles. They have medium small margins and the print can get tiny.
A normal book would not just have the content and a cover. They would include a study Bibles author information. Those random blank pages at the ends of the book. An index. We also could expect reviews at the beginning of the book (glowing reviews). I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the books had first chapter from the next book by that author in them as an attempt to get you interested in it.
The Bible would literally take up an entire bookshelf. With the price of a new Barnes and Noble classic costing from $7.95-$13.95 at best you would be looking at spending $405.45 (not including tax or shipping). More realistically I would guess the price to be $758.70 (not including tax or shipping). Aren’t you glad that it is possible to get a Bible for so much less.
But wouldn’t it be so cool in some ways to have a boxed set of the Psalms. Or a Sexagesimo-quarto of Philemon.
Reading through the Bible is hard. It’s starts great, then you get like half way through Exodus and it can get a little boring. Powering through gets you to Leviticus with its sacrifices, then Numbers (title is self explanatory). Finally you reach Deuteronomy and it repeats the last three books… What!?! Oh, and once you’ve finished that you are only five books in.
I struggled with this, because I’m impatient. A couple of deep, but boring chapters with more to come and I want to say, “That’s enough of this for today” and then tomorrow will come and it’s “More deep but boring, one chapter is enough.” and the day after I’ll just put it off.
So how did I get over this.
I started reading the Bible differently. I took the Bible and decided on four large sections, The Pentateuch, Joshua-Psalms, Proverbs-Malachi, and the New Testament, and I read a chapter or twenty verses from each section every day.
I’ve considered changing it so that Psalms and Proverbs are there own section, but I haven’t gotten around two it yet.
Sometime within the last couple of weeks I read an old blog post from somewhere, about how many Christians haven’t read the Bible from beginning to end.
I left a comment and thought I moved on. But out of my subconscious, came a memory of the very first time I had ever talked about reading through the entire Bible.
I was talking with D H1. (I call him H1 because I have another friend with the same first name and the same last initial) It was one of many random discussions of startlingly deep topics that we had. I would guess we were around eight or nine.
We both claimed to have read the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. At the time my claim was a partial lie. I had read most of the Bible for myself. I had skipped a few sections here and there (mostly names).
But what I considered to count then and I still do know, was the fact that Dad read the Bible out loud to us after dinner. Every day after dinner and dishes Dad would read a chapter or two of the Bible, then we would sing. Then it was time for us younger children to go to bed.
Since then the traditions have changed a little, but we’ve gone through it many times. And I have read through the Bible properly more than once. I’m glad I was brought up hearing the Bible. I’m glad I was friends with people as passionate about Gods Word as I was. D H1 and I may have been strange children, but we are happy and blessed.
Currently my family is memorizing Psalm 37. It is a mere 40 verses long, and it is so much easier to remember than Psalm 119.
Because it is so long we have divided it into sections. Every day we’ll repeat the verse of the week a dozen times and the full short section once. A couple of times during the week we’ll read the full chapter.
We have been doing it for ten weeks now. The third section just got started. We are a quarter of the through.
This is brought to mind because I love the first verse of the new section.
I was young, but now I am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
I am only young right now. I plan to spend the rest of my life watching out for this promise, especially since I’ve already seen it to be true
If you believe that with the ripening of the first barley fields in Israel, the Biblical new year starts. Then like me right now for you it is the beginning of Unleavened Bread.
It may be my favorite of the biblical feasts. It wasn’t when we started keeping the feasts though. Back then it was just like the rest of the year. Potatoes or Oatmeal for breakfast. Potatoes or rice for lunch. And Potatoes or Rice for dinner. For variation there was Beans and Corn.
We didn’t have pancakes and we didn’t try to make bread, for that was before we knew how to make gluten free bread. Then several years ago Mom decided that what the Bible said was
Eat Unleavened Bread
Don’t Eat Leavened Bread
So since then we’ve spent Unleavened Bread making flat breads of various kinds. Dhosas. Crepes. Crackers*. Tortillas.
*We actually haven’t figured out how to make leavened crackers