Chronological Bible Reading: Job 25-42, Ex 1-4

Does God hear us? In the midst of suffering, this is the question that comes to mind. Surely if God heard us crying out to Him, He would intervene. Surely if God heard us crying out to Him, He would His presence known—and yet years can go by and we may not have an experience of God’s presence in our lives.

Certainly Job, in the depths of His sorrow, was crying out for God to hear Him and to respond. As with Job, so with the Israelites in Egypt. 400 years have passed since Joseph rose through the ranks of Egypt to be second only to Pharaoh, but now after a successive line of new Pharaoh’s, Joseph is no longer known. Israel is in captivity, oppressed for their labour and because Egypt is afraid of how large the people has come.

Israel is in the depths of despair when we read that God heard the Israelites cries, and He remembered them. Had God forgotten His chosen people? Is this the reason that Israel hadn’t heard from God in so long? Is this why God had seemingly abandoned them?

Things are not always as they seem. God is not a man who might forgot nor one who can be any less than always active—even when we fail to recognize how.

Abraham was given a promise by God for a people, a nation, to come from Him, who would be blessed and through whom the entire world would be blessed. Israel for 400 years was growing, what began as one couple was multiplying quickly—so quickly that Egypt was terrified they would lose their work force because they were getting so big—the people were becoming a nation.

God’s hand of providence was active the whole time. In the midst of our struggle, in the midst of our sorrows, in the midst of our pain and suffering—God is still at work. He has not forsaken nor abandoned His people.

He never will.

Chronological Bible Reading: Job 1-24

Suffering. The word on its own is enough to make us sweat. Why do we experience suffering? How do these circumstances come to pass? These are questions that Job is struggling with in the midst of losing everything: his farm, his kids, and his wife. The book of Job gives an interesting perspective on this whole question because it begins by taking a step back, pulling the veil aside so that we can peer into the heavenly courts and see the dialogue between God and Satan. It is behind this veil that come to realize: Why does this suffering come upon Job? God allows it. How does it happen? Satan inflicts it. To what end? For the testing of Job’s faith—a testing which will lead to perseverance.

Job knows the goodness and sovereignty of God so he is able to announce that it is both the Lord’s to give and to take away; He is in control. Throughout the dialogue with his friends, Job defends his innocence; he didn’t do anything to deserve this pain. Yet in the midst of his brokenness, he still has hope: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the end he will stand on the dust. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. I will see him myself; my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger. My heart longs within me” (19:25-27).

In many ways, the way Job walks through his pain and suffering is perfectly modelled after the chain which Paul identifies in Romans 5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (3-5). Job has suffered much, but he will persevere through this suffering because of his hope in the character and power of God. God is alive and active working all things out in accordance with His good will.

Those who trust in Him ought to hope in Him, for hope apart from Him is not true hope at all.

Chronological Bible Reading Reflection: Genesis

The book of Genesis provides for quite the ride—creation and rebellion, worship and fratricide, faithfulness and unfaithfulness, love and loss—it has all the makings for a great story. Yet it is much more than that. A story, no doubt, is found in the midst of it all, but it is not merely a story, as though nothing else could come from it. It is a story of grandest proportions and scope, spanning back into eternity past and centred around the One who created it all: God himself.

While Genesis tells the story of creation, rebellion, and God calling a people to Himself, make no mistake, God is the main character throughout the entire book. His hand of providence shines through in every chapter and verse. Genesis isn’t just the story of how this all began, it’s the beginning of the greatest story ever told: the story of Gods glorious perfections on display for all to see.

The God who is revealed to us in these pages is The Marvellous One, The Holy One, The Great One—in a phrase, The Creator. This one statement, that God is Creator, tells us much more than we often realize. He is The Creator, not the created; all that exists is wholly other than God in Himself. He is supreme, transcendent, majestic, holy, glorious, and worthy of all honour and praise. He created all things good and calls a people to Himself. In His providence and grace, He chose a lineage through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—a lineage that we all welcomed to join into through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Son, by the way, is in Genesis for us to see, if you have eyes to see Him. In the beginning, God existed in perfect tri-unity; humanity was created in their image; Abraham was provided a lamb to be slaughtered in place of Isaac, as Jesus was provided as a man to be slaughtered in our place.

This is a story, this is a God, which ought to provoke in us nought but praise.

Chronological Bible Reading

This year I have begun reading the Bible utilizing the CSB Day-by-Day Chronological Bible with daily, guided readings by George Guthrie. I began to think it could be helpful for me to begin blogging my way through the Bible. As this is my first time working through the Bible with a chronological plan, I am looking forward to interacting with the text in this way. This post will briefly work through a few features of the CSB Day-by-Day Bible, followed by weekly (hopefully) posts reflecting on the pasts week of reading.

I am currently part way through the third week of readings, and will post my first reflection on Saturday.

The Format:

The CSB Day-by-Day Bible is broken up into three acts: Act 1, God’s Plan for all People (Gen 1-11); Act 2, God’s Covenant People (Gen 12-the end of the Old Testament); Act 3, God’s New Covenant People (the New Testament). Guthrie has written an introduction for each act, and each act is broken down by scene with a weekly/daily reading schedule. There are six readings planned for each week, plus a ‘sabbath’ day with a short summary and prayer.

The Reasoning

I’ve always thought it would be interesting to read the Bible chronologically but have never gotten a chance to. As I’ve been in post-secondary education and most of that has included some sort of daily Bible reading/devotional component, this hasn’t made a chronological plan an option. This year, however, for my current studies, one of the options for Bible reading was to do so chronologically (though the choice of the CSB Day-by-Day Bible was all mine, to get to spend time in this newer translation).

The school assignment asks for three specific areas of weekly reflection based on the text and what the Scriptures reveal about: God (and what it means to love Him); The Community of Faith (and the pleasures and perils of obedience to God); and the World (and what it looks like to live faithfully amidst a changing cultural tide). I can’t guarantee each week will touch on every facet of reflection, one facet may provoke more reflection on any given week, but I plan to reflect on each aspect multiple times throughout the next year.