We read the Bible systematically for years. And, we did Bible study after Bible study before we understand that the Bible was an understandable story that mattered.
One of the grand themes of the Bible is the need for God’s people to read His Word and know it well. Bible literacy makes or breaks God’s people spiritually. They prosper when they treasure His Word, and they fall into sin and judgment when they neglect it.
We cannot assume that God's people are Bible literate, especially when they live among cultures who tell different stories about the world. In the Exodus Era, for example God has to give Israel a new narrative after 400 years of captivity. At the beginning of this era, Israel has developed into a large people group within the nation of Egypt, living as slaves in the land of Goshen. Over time, aspects of Egyptian culture have infiltrated Israel’s mind. In many ways their thoughts about themselves, the world around them, and God are similar to those of the Egyptians (their defaulting to idol worship in Exodus 32 makes this especially plain). They need to remember their own story from the past and hear God’s words in the present if they are to dismantle the wrong ideas they hold about their life and purpose. They need to make God’s story their story.
God has perfectly prepared the way for Israel to take their place in His story. Moses’ upbringing in Pharaoh’s household has provided him with an excellent education. God uses him to record the creation and the Fall, track Adam’s genealogy up to Abraham, capture the story of the patriarchs, narrate Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, and, finally, chronicle Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness. Just before his death, Moses instructs Israel to make sure that succeeding generations know this story—their history:
So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying: "At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, and that their children who have not known it may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you ross the Jordan to possess. ( Deut. 31:9-13)
Israel has to make knowing and rereading the story a priority from generation to generation. If they do not know their story, they will continue to default to their Egyptian story of slavery and dependence on images. Israel must know their God, their origin, and their heritage in order to understand their purpose. (excerpt from Book of Threads)
We who have been liberated from the penalty of sin live under the daily threat of being influenced by the cultural stories going on all around us. We must know our story. Our hope is that you’ll allow us to come alongside of you to learn our story.
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