I’ll admit it. It happened. I got bogged down in Chronicles.
It really probably started at the end of II Kings. I got a bit frustrated and discouraged with the narrative. Things were going down the tubes and then all the genealogies in Chronicles just did me in.
And I’m sure there are great sermons and reflections about the geneaologies in Chronicles and how they reveal something amazing about God's character but this time through....I lost interest.
I got bored.
I started to ignore my bible reading. I started to prioritize other things. I started to work on “getting things done” in the mornings rather than reading my bible. And then a week went by and I hadn’t read anything and another week and I was losing my life giving rhythms.
There is a special lady named Sister Francis that works in the downtown core of my city. She works with women coming off the streets and overcoming addiction. When she speaks about life, you want to listen.
I could hear what she had to say about my situation.
Read Until God Speaks.
I like the saying because it is created out of the belief that God WILL speak. It has faith in what God says He will do. It's a statement that makes you look up rather than down. It’s an encouragement to keep reading, keep following, and keep listening because God will come again. It's an acronym that keeps you moving forward, even when you are bored. Even when the narrative is discouraging.
Hosea 6 reads
”Come let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; but he will heal us.
He has injured us but will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us.
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Hosea and Sister Mary both say it- God has not abandoned you. God will appear. God will return - though He has never left. His return will be like the winter rains that water the dry parched desert land. He will speak. Keep reading.
The mentality behind this little acronym is other worldly. We are being trained to believe that things and people are to be used and thrown away when they don’t suit our purpose anymore, when they don’t do exactly what we need them to do. We buy products expecting to get a few years or only one year use from it. We make friends for a while and dispose of them if things get hard. Some of us have done that and some of us have been the disposable people.
And in this mentality, we have very little use for a God that does not live and act on our agenda. For a God that waits to give us things in his timing. A God who exists outside of time and isn’t a vending machine or quick on delivery. We are impatient.
If we are reading the bible and things get “boring” or “unapplicable” to our lives then we stop. If we read something that is challenging we skip over it rather than seek understanding. Our cultural mentality can cause us to lose faith because there is little in our world that values the long haul.
I know because I gave into this. Maybe you have as well.
Rather than Reading Until God Speaks we say, “Well....if God doesn’t have anything today I will look somewhere else.” And we look for a quick solution - something on our social media feed, or a self help guru like Ellen and Oprah. We want our quick fix, quotable saying for the day rather than the genealogies of Chronicles. And these things are not necessarily bad but they are no match for the voice of God.
If God doesn’t speak immediately this does not automatically mean He will never speak or does not speak.
Sometimes we have to learn how to listen. Sometimes it takes a long time for our hearts to be in the right place to be able to receive what God has to say. Sometimes it just takes a while.
But we can’t give up. We have to continue going back, continue waiting, continue to trust that God will speak and will come again. We have to believe in the goodness of God even when we cannot see the evidence for it. We have to trust that He is who He says He is.
In John 6 we are invited into a very honest exchange between Jesus and His disciples. After hearing a particularly difficult teaching, the disciples are grumbling among themselves and Jesus says, “The Spirit gives life: the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoke to your are full of the Spirit and life.” When Jesus asks them if they were going to abandon Him like others had Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Peter knows it and Sister Mary knows it and Hosea knows. The words of God are the ones that we need. The words of God as full of the Spirit and life! The words of God are like rain on a desert that causes it to burst forth with new life.
We live in a generation of people who's souls and minds are distracted, overfed and undernourished - we need the words of God.
They are the words of eternal life. They are the ones that will breathe life into our souls, rejuvenate our hearts and give strength to our minds. They are the words that are everlasting.
And though we cannot force it- we can wait for it.
Maybe this week you found yourself bogged down in Chronicles or Ezekiel or one of Paul’s epistles. Maybe you gave up reading the bible long ago. Maybe you haven’t prayed in years because the silence was too much - the pain and ache of waiting was too much to bear.
I am in a waiting time right now myself. Still plugging through Chronicles and waiting. Will you keep reading with me? Will you wait for the fresh spring rains that water the earth? Will you wait for the words of eternal life? Will you keep reading until God speaks?