We’ve been on quite a journey through the pre-exilic prophets in our Whole Story sermon series. I’ve heard from so many of how much God is teaching and revealing to you through these books that few of us have spent any substantial time studying. For my part, I have come to a place of now counting these as some of my favorite portions of Scripture, that I will come back to again and again.
And the reason I will is because these men have taken me by the hand, and lead me into previously unexplored territory on the character, attributes, majesty, glory, and plans of this stunning God we find in the pages of Scripture. Take this last week as an example — our study of the prophecy of Zephaniah.
In this little book, we find language that draws probably the greatest contrast in all of Scripture. Namely, we have one of the most awesome descriptions of the wrath of God in judgment for a little over two-thirds of the prophecy: the earth will be consumed in the fire of his burning jealousy and wrath; the very order of creation will be reversed, returning to darkness, gloom, and void. And, we have one of the most vivid and soaring descriptions of the love of God for his people, with language that at first read seems almost over the top. The words used, by God, for how God feels about sinners are frankly hard to comprehend and accept.
All in the same book.
And all connected to this Day — the Day of Yahweh, the Day of Judgment — that is coming. This urgent proclamation that “the END is near!”
If you’d like to learn more about all of that, I encourage you to listen to my sermon on the book of Zephaniah. And for further study on this book of stark contrasts and the coming end of the world, head over to our friends at The Bible Project. There you will find videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this book, as well as all the books found in The Whole Story of God.
One other thing.
The aim of The Whole Story sermon series has been to inspire in you a love for the Bible. Part of how that love should very naturally work itself out is in the desire to read it regularly, and hopefully, daily. So each week, our hope has been that you will have read the portion of the story under study prior to coming to the Sunday morning service to hear a sermon from that book.
One way to do that is to use the sermon and reading guide that we’ve handed out in our service the last two weeks, which is also available on the Whole Story Resource Table in the lobby, and can be downloaded here. Another way is to use the Read Scripture app, which allows you to have the week’s reading already put together for you, and includes the Bible Project videos for each book and various themes, right inside the app. We highly recommend you download it.
One other aspect about that daily reading plan — it includes taking in a Psalm each day. You can watch this three minute overview video that explains the whole story of the Bible, the reading plan, and why the Psalms are so important to our daily intake of God’s Word.
“Each day’s reading session includes a Psalm, because we believe that reading the Bible isn’t just an intellectual experience, but also spiritual. We invite you to take the year to develop the daily habit of praying through the Psalms [as a spiritual experience]. And by the end of the year, you’ll have prayed through the whole book of Psalms two and a half times!” (The Bible Project)
Therefore, this coming Sunday, to emphasize this aspect of our exploration of The Whole Story, I will be preaching a sermon from Psalm 19. I encourage you to read it each day, as well as take in the video on the Psalms from the Bible Project team. That way you will be prepared with a ready and expectant heart as we gather together Sunday morning at 10:30am at Calvary.
Enjoying the God of The Whole Story with you,
We live in a world under a curse (Genesis 3:14-19). And that is an easy thing to forget.
“Do you really believe in the ‘God of the Old Testament’? I mean, he seems so ticked off all the time! All that vengeance, and wrath, and anger. All those times where he orders the extermination of whole cities, and sometimes wipes them out himself (see Sodom and Gomorrah).
Watch as the young Beck men proclaim their love for Jesus as they obey his command to be baptized.
All My Hope
One of the things I LOVE about being a pastor at Calvary is some of the amazing people I get to serve with every day. A couple of those are our worship pastor, Matt Faulkner, and one of his worship leaders, Christy Freeman.
On Easter Sunday, the Calvary family got to witness God working in the lives of two men who publicly affirmed their faith through baptism. It was a joy to see!
I think one of the challenges to reading through The Whole Story of the Bible is to keep reminding ourselves that the people involved were very real people dealing with really crucial and often difficult circumstances. For example, we have now arrived at a sobering word from Yahweh through the prophet Micah.