I have a passion for the Bible. I’m not deluded enough to believe everyone feels the same as me. I mean, it’s an old book with old stories we can’t always relate to. It’s huge and unwieldy! It even has sections that are only full of genealogies or lists of materials for the tabernacle or numbers of people counted in a census for tribes. What about this dry, verbose material would be alluring to anyone?
Let me tell you. If you came to the Bible as if it were a piece of art or ancient literature, you would see an incomprehensibly complex masterpiece created over thousands of years. I know part of my fascination with this work is because I’m a literature major. I love books. So, the symbolism, the foreshadowing, the repeated themes to tell a story or moral are engrossing to me. Jesus must’ve loved it too, speaking in parables all the time. Add to it that it wasn’t just one author. It’s difficult enough to have one person write one work. The Bible is made of 66 books: History, laws, poetry/songs, accounts for census or accounts, genealogy records, letters, prophecies. Yet, they all come together with the same plot, the same themes, the same symbols, the same message of love.
Which brings me to this: If I could sum up the Bible, what would I say? In one word, of course it would be love. In a bit of a longer way, I would say that the Word starts with the story of humanity living in a state of absolute love and peace, getting kicked out of that utopia, and then not being able to return. However, over the course of the rest of the Bible, you’ll learn three things: Eden is not a place; it’s where ever God is. We were not kicked out of Eden; we walked ourselves out. God has been trying to convince us ever since we left to return back. I want you to reread those three things. What do I mean?
Eden is not a place. It never was. I’m not saying there wasn’t a physically separate area where Adam and Eve lived. T hat’s not the point. It wasn’t Eden because of where it was located. It was Eden because that’s where God and humanity walked together in the cool of the day.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…Genesis 3:8
We were not kicked out. Have you ever been told when younger that as long as you live under your parent’s roof, you live by their rules? God’s rules were simple: Don’t eat from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Really, it wasn’t even about the fruit. It was about following God’s rules. It was a fruit of death, and God was saving us from ourselves. His rules are all about love. We didn’t want that. We decided to disobey. We decided to leave God’s presence.
He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”Genesis 3:11
God has been trying to convince us to return back to his presence since the moment we left it. What about that angel with a flaming sword, you may ask? Sweetheart, do you think if we wanted back in His love and grace and followed his rules that anything would keep us from Him? We couldn’t return to His loving presence as long as we lived in disobedience and darkness. The darkness doesn’t exist in the light. God is begging you to return to His loving arms (Lev 26: 11-12).
And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.Ezekiel 36:35
These are the simple truths. The Bible is full of complicated truths and hard truths as well. If you read it expecting the main characters to be only perfect and holy people, you’re going to be surprised. Not a one of them were perfect until Jesus. In fact, they were all evil in varying ways and saved only by the love of God. That’s the point. If you read it expecting the “good people” in it like Moses, David, etc. to only speak to God with positivity and adoration, you’ll be surprised. Especially David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), wrote songs and poems about every emotion and situation he experienced. Sometimes, he poured out his anger to God.
O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you.Psalm 35:17-18
Sometimes, he poured out his doubts.
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”Psalm 13:1
God can take it. He already hears your heart’s lamentations and doubts before you open your mouth. He wants you to communicate and open up to Him in honesty and truth, even hard, painful truth.
I just wanted to speak with you today about my love for the Bible. It’s a love story about the growing, changing relationship between God and His people. I guess I could say I wanted to write a public love letter about THE public love letter known as the Word.
Leave me a message below if you have anything you love about the Bible.