Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some things need repeating

Through the Bible in 90 days: Day 7

Read: Exodus 29-40

Verse that stood out: And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin" (Exodus 34:6-7).

One week in. Today's been the toughest day so far. Sundays are long days for me and the reading was especially tedious tonight. Lots of details about the tabernacle. Lot's of repetition. In fact, that's one thing lots of folks at church have been asking me, "Why do they repeat so many things in the Old Testament?" The basic answer is that most people through the ages haven't read the scriptures so much as they've listened to them. And when you hear things orally, you need to have things repeated so that you have ample chance to catch everything that's being said. For instance, lets say on the first go round the guy next to you sneezes right as they explain why the Israelites wanted Aaron to make a golden calf (Exodus 32:1). You've still got another chance to hear the reason explained (Exodus 32:23). Of course, what's good for oral communication becomes a little tedious when put in a literary form.

We modern readers shouldn't look down our bespectacled noses at our illiterate forerunners. Even we need to re-hear, or re-read, things from time to time. It's easy to think that because we can look something up, we know it. But having access to a piece of information and knowing something are two different things. The knowledge that's buried deep in our hearts (even through something as tedious as repetition or memorization) stands a better chance of informing our behavior than anything we've read once and then stashed away on a shelf for later referencing.

So let's read and re-read even the tedious parts of the Bible trusting that if we'll hide God's word in our heart, his character will begin to make itself known in our day to day lives.

1 comment:

Jeanann said...

Reading the same thing over and over has been one of the hardest parts for me, oh and when God is mean in Exodus. I wasn't really thrilled with that. I think of God as a loving and forgiving God and the mean side was new for me.