I don’t know if there is such a thing as a “readers’ high.” But that is the best way to describe what I experienced while reading the final chapters of the Old Testament on Wednesday.
The chronological plan we are following places Joel as the last book in the sequence of prophets, right after Malachi. What a book of victory it is! God really, really WANTS to bless His people. “Never again,” God declares. “Never again will my people be shamed.” It is a pertinent promise for the nation of Israel, even today.
Frequent references to the Old Testament throughout the Gospels have a much fuller meaning now after having read through it entirely: the Law of Moses, instructions to ‘show yourself to the priest,’ Jesus’ issues with the experts in/ teachers of the law, etc. Over and over Jesus upheld the law, but He directly opposed the unjust and legalistic application of “less important” aspects. He moved it from being a matter of outside behavior to a matter of the heart. He highlighted justice, mercy and faithfulness (Mt 23:23).
It seems that Jesus’ 3 years of ministry, according to the record of the gospels, had three main foci: demonstrating and explaining the Kingdom of God in power, diffusing and contradicting the errors of false religion, and consulting His Father in prayer. Probably when we read piece-meal, we focus more on the first: miracles and teachings. It is really good to have a more comprehensive view.
We read the account of Jesus’ crucifixion in four different languages, and of course since the resurrection is also in each of the four gospels, we also read that four times (though not in four languages).
Be encouraged: “The word of God is at work in you!” (I Thess 2:10)
Bible Trivia Day Nine: What distinguished the work of Shallum when the remnant in Jerusalem was re-building the walls under Nehemiah’s leadership?