Most every day after morning chores and breakfast, I read to the kids around the table. We’ve come to simply call it our Table Time. Some of our biggest family conversations have happened during this time. We lay out our day, we discuss issues in the news, and we tackle major topics that come up from our daily Bible reading.
When we first started homeschooling, I’d read a devotional or a book about the Bible, and then a little bit from our current chapter book.
But in January 2012, I decided that I no longer wanted to read a devotional book, or a book about the Bible, so I dropped all devotionals and I began reading to them straight from the Word. I found a One Year chronological Bible in an easy-to-read version. It was a habit of mine to read the Bible straight through every couple of years in my own individual reading, but my children had never been through it from cover to cover, so I decided that winter that we’d take a year and do it together.
And here we are, almost three years later and we are just coming onto the halfway point. Out of 1432 pages, we are on page 702.
I got over being discouraged at our slow pace about two years ago.
Because what has happened is this:
We talk long about what we just read. Over our oatmeal we talk about rape and incest and adultery and murder and hatred and insanity and all the ugly things that people do to one another. We talk about evil and Satan and why sometimes it’s hard to believe and why sometimes people might not. We talk about doubts and questions and commandments and sin.
And we talk about grace. And love. And paying a price so high that the only fee you could offer is your very life.
So we hit the halfway point this week at our Table Time and I realized something. Not only were we halfway through the pages in the book, we were halfway through the story too.
Because you see, we’re just hitting the point where God’s chosen folks are hauled off into exile by some very bad people. Big Meaners as my kids would call them.
God’s been telling them over and over and over to JUST BEHAVE. Love one another. Love ME.
But all those hundreds of years, they stray. Oh they SAY they love Him. They SAY they’ll do what He wants them to. They SAY they’ll obey. They SAY they’ll treat each other right.
But they don’t.
They kill and they rob and they worship the gods that are made of wood and they cut themselves thinking they need to please those gods and they commit adultery trying to please those gods and they offer up their children and burn them thinking they need to please those gods…
And those gods are silent.
But ours isn’t is He?
The One TRUE God, well He says I love you, but this has gone on too long, you can’t behave like that, like these folks who follow these false gods and now, there is going to be a consequence for your straying.
And that’s where we are in the story. The sad, sad time when the big fat meaners come and lay siege to Samaria, then, three years later, they walk the Israelites on out of their homes and into a foreign country to keep them as slaves.
It’s hard to read.
Except as I realize what page we are on, and how God so strategically placed THIS incident smack dab in the middle of the time table of the happenings of the Bible, I put my bookmark on our page and flip back to the beginning.
God had a plan. Way back when, He told us that His son was going to come and smash evil to the ground.
And then, about a quarter of the way through, He reminded us that even though all the groups of His people were straying, there would be One to come out of Judah that wouldn’t stray, and that He would go one further and show us all how to remain true.
And then, flipping on ahead, we see that that One really did come…that what God said was going to happen really did.
And then, flipping on up to the end, well, we know what happens.
Because we have the whole story. No matter how much we stray, no matter how much we tend to forget, no matter how many times we have to be reminded to come back, we’re not stuck at the halfway point.
This time-out in the middle won’t last forever.
And knowing that makes us look forward to the rest of the story. It makes us want to read on and keep on and press on… no matter how long it takes us.
It might take us a short time, or it might take us a long time, but when we belong to Him, we know the ending.
We’ll see Him at the beginning.
We’ll see Him at the middle.