I am trying to read through the Bible. That has been a goal of mine for many years. I have read through the New Testament many times. However, if you are like me, getting through the Old Testament is very challenging. I have always found many parts of it dry and very hard reading.
I don't know if it is because I am growing up or what, but my experience this time has been much different. I am finding things in the O.T. that are interesting and are challenging me. That is very exciting to me.
I am using the Bible reader on my Palm Pilot to keep track of what I do. It has an interesting way of doing it. I read out of two different books of the O.T. and two different books of the N.T. each day.
Anyway, on to what is on my mind...
I honestly believe that many Christians almost view Christianity as a license to sin. I have actually found myself thinking at times that if I do __________, that God will forgive me anyway, so it doesn't matter. That is a sad fact, but unfortunately it is true.
God hates sin. The Bible tells us this. He does not want us to have this kind of thinking. He wants to have a relationship with us, and sin separates us from Him.
We, as Christians, know that. However, those thoughts still cross our mind.
So, that being said, what was it that kept Old Testament believers so in tune with Gods desire for us to live a sin free life? What is different that they were so distraught when they sinned. Here are a couple of verses out of the book of Ezra. Ezra had just found out that his people had sinned against the Lord...this was his response.
9:3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God 6 and prayed: "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens
10:1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly
I just think that is amazing. First of all, they were honestly remorseful. This was not a show. It HURT them that they hurt their God. Ezra pulled hair from his head and his beard...
OK...so the 'pastor' was remorseful. We should expect him to be, right? That is his job. But did you notice how the 'congregation' reacted? It said they 'WEPT BITTERLY'
What kind of people would we be if we reacted this way to our sin? What kind of churches could we have?
Just something to think about.