For a couple of years now, I have been reading through the Bible. This is my third and fourth trip through- I am reading it on my own and with my husband. I used to think that the books of the Bible from Leviticus through 2 Chronicles vacillated between terrible violence and boring repetition. It was especially boring when reading aloud with my husband, because he wanted to read every word aloud. He wanted to pronounce every name to the best of our abilities! At first I was irritated, then exasperated. What did it matter? While trying to complete my daily reading a couple of days ago, I was stopped cold at
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
My first thoughts were of our culture and how we have devolved over the past several decades. Movies, books, social media all seem to be nourishing the behaviors of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander and our nation is suffering from increased violence. I had to search my own heart. Was I allowing any of this darkness to seep into my heart? My Lord pointed me back to the very passages at which I turned up my nose and then he led me to this passage:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
God is a god of details. As followers of Jesus we are part of His royal priesthood. Wow! I grew up Catholic and my parents taught me that priests were to be revered and set apart. As a child, I would have said priests were sinless. Unfortunately, we know that is not true. All have sin. But, as chosen people and followers of Jesus, we are called to take captive our thoughts and attitudes so that our behaviors can better image Him and glorify Him. We are called to join together as followers of Christ and rise up as a holy nation, not as the United States of America, but one world-wide holy nation. As one voice, we can show the people of this dark world His light of hope and guide them to Jesus so that they, too, can receive His salvation. God gives us the details in the Bible, even in the books I thought were so boring.