Anticipation is a familiar feeling throughout the summer. We've anticipated heading to camp, enjoying family visits, and taking road trips over the school break. If those things were not exciting to us, we wouldn't really look forward to them. As we pack for our next trip, my kids aren't walking through the house groaning, "Do we have to go to Mackinac Island really?" They have saved for this trip, and they are so excited they can hardly wait to go.
That's how it should be.
If you've been reading through *most of the Bible in a year with us, you know that the Israelites had been anticipating a Messiah for thousands of years. That is a long time to wait. The good news is that the Promised One has arrived on the scene, but He's not quite what they expected. This month, as you read together, consider how incredible Christ's counter-cultural ways made Him even that much more amazing as a Savior.
If you're just here to grab the next month's road map, you can download it here:
The Problem With "Meh"
I hang around a lot of teens, and this word "meh" has rubbed off on me. I find myself saying it whenever something is less than desirable, but I don't feel like doing anything about it. This sound also comes out of my mouth when I'm not excited about something. It's a lukewarm sound, and it seeps into my soul.
The problem with "meh" is that it starts to permeate my thinking and infiltrate my quiet times. If I don't feel like getting up to read my Bible, I can just say "meh", roll over and sleep in a little more, and skip my time with the Lord all together.
May this never be.
Famine of the Word
It's been a hot summer, and the heat can really strangle out the life of our plants. I can see some flowers out my window right now that could use a good drink. Their life is completely dependent upon the nourishment of water.
We are exactly the same. I've been studying through John Piper's Blazing Center Study Guide: The Soul-Satisfying Supremacy of God in All Things this summer. If you're on Right Now Media, you can view this video course there. The study is a companion to his book, Desiring God which has also been an encouraging read. It's really made me think about how I pursue God in all things. Am I just "meh" about God, or do I seek Him as a treasure?
I love his paraphrase of Amos 8 - "If the feast of worship is rare in the land, it is because there is a famine of the Word of God." The solution to drought of the soul is to seek God's Word like treasure.
When the angels delivered the message of the Messiah's arrival to the shepherds in the field, the tenders of the flocks expressed what John Piper describes as the affections that make worship authentic:
- stunned silence (Psalm 46:10, Habakkuk 2:20)
- awe, reverence, & wonder (Psalm 33:8)
- holy dread (Isaiah 8:13, Psalm 5:7)
- brokenness, contrition, & grief (Psalm 51:17, Isaiah 57:15)
- a longing for God (Psalm 42:1-2, Psalm 73:25-26)
- gladness and gratitude (Psalm 30:11-12)
- hope (Psalm 42:5-6, Psalm 130:5)
As we start to meet the Promised One, we must slow down our hearts and seek out the treasure that is there. If we pursue this knowledge for knowledge's sake, we will worship in vain. Coming as the shepherds came, we can enjoy the pleasure of knowing God. And that is a treasure worth pursuing.
If you've missed any of the previous road maps, you can find them here:
- Month 1: Genesis
- Month 2: Exodus - Numbers
- Month 3: Numbers - 1 Samuel
- Month 4: 1 Samuel - 1 Kings
- Month 5: 1 Kings, Psalms, 2 Kings, Amos, Hosea, Jonah, Isaiah, & Micah
- Month 6: 2 Kings, Isaiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Habakkuk, Daniel, Ezekiel, & Obadiah
- Month 7: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, Joel, Malachi, 1 Chronicles, & 2 Chronicles
- Month 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John (part 1)