I must say, I have never been moved to cry while reading the bible as often as I have in the last few weeks. And I ain’t ashamed of that.
I am taking an Old Testament Literature classes in which we are required to read most of the Narrative books and for 11 books, we are required to do “worksheets.” These worksheets asks us to worked out the themes, concepts and applications of the book (of the bible) we are reading. Not hard, just time consuming; you get what you put into it.
This past Saturday I was working on the book of Numbers, reading about the constant rebellion of Israel in the desert, their grumbling and seemingly ignorance of God’s hand, in spite of God showing himself in power. Reading through the sacrifices and offering what required for forgiveness and restitution was overwhelming
These passages nearly brought me to tears. I definitely got choked up, fighting the urge to cry a river (insert Justin Timberlake “Cry me a River” chorus here.) I almost cried in public, three or four time in the course of the four hours I was sitting in Starbucks. I literally had to close my Bible, take of my glasses and recompose myself.
Later, I started to reflect on the experience. I asked myself, “Why was I draw to tears?” It is not because it is a sad story, I mean it is, but that was not was drawing me to tears. I was the fact I was myself reflected in the actions of Israel. How easily do I forget that God is in control, how easy do I forget what he as done for me?! Israel, not 3 days after God had parted the Red Sea and destroy the Egyptian army did they complain to Moses that God had led them to the desert to die. Imagine about a million people complaining- overwhelming to say the least… but I digress.
I am here at one of the top Christian universities in the United States, if not the world. I am here because of the grace of God, yet I so easily for get what God had done, how He has blessed and kept me. God answers my prayer, and I forget he does and blame him for not hearing my- Oh how my heart is hard!
When the professor asks the class, “What do you think about this book?” most of the responses are “meh,” the book was boring- The Word is alive and breathing, why has it not bring me to tears more often?! Was there something wrong in me until now or is something in me now…?
… … …
This past summer, I took a New Testament Lit class, I don’t remember being moved in the same way. The class and the professor was amazing. But I read the about death of Jesus four times, how was I not moved to tears? Am I so desensitized to my savior death that I am no longer in awe of the sacrifice? I should be so ashamed! (Granted It was a sixteen week course compressed into six weeks and I did read and responded to a prompt on Mark in less than sixty minutes; it goes to show something, maybe…) I read about the death of a perfect man who is the Messiah, the solution to sin and I was not phased, not in the least bit disturbed. However…
…In reading through the details of sacrifice that was required by the people of Israel to forgive sins and for restitution, I started to see what Jesus’ sacrifice actually meant, I began to see the implications of His death. For an Israel, there is an immense amount of blood and wealth required to atone for sin. Blood of livestock and birds, wine and oil, and flour- blood, wealth and livelihood. Jesus death took the place of all that sacrifice, for the present and the future transgression of sin. The weight of my sin- all the blood of animals and food that would need to forgive all the sins and transgression of my life was placed upon one man… now all all of humanity, all who claims Christ; the weight of their sins are upon Jesus. “Oh my God, why have you forsaken me!” those words are an understatement, so is “Forgive them, for they no not what they have do.” We have not way to begin to fathom what Christ experienced.
I think I have been reading my Bible in the wrong order. I have always started in the New Testament, but I think for one to understand the magnitude of sin and the magnitude of Jesus death and resurrection, one must start in the Old Testament. One must understand that the God of the New Testament is the same as the Old, By way of Jesus, we are truly forgiven and we are free of sin that would otherwise have the need atoned by the spilling of innocent blood.
As a some one who claims Christ a savior, I can no longer stand unphased by the Gospel, the death one man for the sins of all mankind. The Gospel is too important to be relegated to cute little stories that I read and try to gleam morals from. I think I live to often in a way that takes Christ’s perfect sacrifice for granted… This has got to end.
~I pray that I am broken every time I open the word of God. The Word is living and gives testimony to the great and awesome God that I serve. I pray that my heart is open to the power of the Gospel.