How about you? Do you remember the peculiar account where the prophet Isaiah was commanded by God to walk around naked for three years (Is. 20:2-4) to prophesy how the Israelites would be taken away into exile? What about the time that God told the prophet Jeremiah to go and bury his underwear down by the Euphrates River (some versions try to translate it “belt”) and then dig it up many days later to compare the ruined loincloth with the ruined, sinful nation of Judah (Jer. 13:1-11)? What about the prophet Ezekiel, who God told to go and play “fort” in the marketplace with a clay tablet, an iron pan, and some sand to show how the city of Jerusalem would be overtaken (Ezek. 4:1-3)? Each of these accounts were definitely attention getters.
Well…that’s the Old Testament…I’m…I’m sure the New Testament doesn’t have anything odd like that… right? What about the young man in the Garden of Gethsemane at Jesus’ arrest who became so scared when a soldier seized him that he left his linen cloth in the soldier’s hands as he ran away naked into the night (Mark 14:51)? What about the account of the Apostle Paul, who preached such a long sermon that one of his hearers fell asleep sitting in a window and fell three stories to his death—don’t worry Paul raised him back to life and then went right back to the worship service where they celebrated the Lord’s Supper and then he preached for another five or six hours (Acts 20:7-12)?
There’s a lot of unexpected things in the Bible. The truth is that even these very unexpected accounts have a central place in telling the story of God’s continuing interaction with this world. Even a young man running away naked into the night at Jesus’ arrest shouldn’t surprise us because it illustrates how utterly alone Jesus became at that dark hour. Even his closest disciples ran away in shame and horror, as any of us would do also in the same situation, doing anything to escape a similar fate.
Even though the Bible is made up of 66 books written by thirty-five or so different authors over a span of about fifteen hundred years and two different ancient languages, it is the inspired Word of God that makes us wise unto salvation. It tells us one complete and connected story of the promise and the fulfillment of the coming of God’s own Son in Jesus Christ. Why? Because it was guided by one Spirit, who still continues to call to us in the Word, calling us to find our part in the story of God’s action.
At this time of year when many start making new resolutions and trying to create new habits, I would like to challenge you wherever you are in your daily devotional life to spend just a little more time individually and collectively in the Bible. I want to encourage you to make it your goal to see how far you can make it through the Scriptures this year. There are countless different reading guides to help you read the Bible every day, such as the Lutheran Service Book in the pews pp. 295-299, www.biblegateway.com, or the YouVersion app for smartphones. I suggest just finding a reading guide that works for you and then sticking to it. If you miss a day, just skip it and go on. If you get confused about something, don’t worry about it and just keep on reading. Even if you are only reading two or three times a week, oh well, it is still getting you deeper in God’s Word. How is our Lord inviting you to step into His story and grow a little deeper this year? What kind of peculiar, unique, and one of a kind adventures will he work in your life, as He brings His Word to bear on your everyday life? Well, we will have to wait and see.
God’s Blessings, Pastor Kurt Ebert
“… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-16