I've been following the One Year Bible reading plan since the first of the year. The plan is exactly as it sounds: it divides up the bible into little chunks each day, and by the end of the year, you've read the entire thing. I've never read the entire bible, and I've attempted these sorts of plans in the past with no success. I attribute my success this year to two things: the Holy Spirit (because who can really read the Word without him?) and the NLT (New Living Translation) version I purchased early in the year. The NLT has been a game changer for me; there really is something to the theory that you get more from the version that speaks to you.
This morning I read about King David in 2 Samuel 7-8. I am continually amazed by the Old Testament; indeed, this is my first time reading any of it. I cannot believe I've made it through 31 years of life without ever reading this! Most of what I know of the Old Testament I've learned through sermons, and I realize now that this isn't nearly enough. It's an entirely different experience to hear about parts of a story and then to read the entire story. You must read.
It seems like God acts as a crystal ball for David. David asks, God answers. Take this, for example:
Then he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring me the ephod!" So Abiathar brought it. Then David asked the Lord, "Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?"
And the Lord told him, "Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!"
1 Samuel 30:7-8 (NLT)
David puts on the magic garment (ephod), shakes the Magic 8 Ball, and gets an instant answer. This happened again and again and again throughout 1 Samuel, to the point of provoking me to jealousy. That's so not fair! I wish God would answer me instantaneously and reliably. Maybe he does, and I need to adjust my hearing. Or, maybe the bible isn't giving me the nitty gritty details. Maybe it abbreviated David's many questions to a simple Q&A. Maybe David really had to be still and wait for an answer just like the rest of us.
There's a lot to be learned from David's example. First, he asks for God's guidance before taking action, even when he's ready to move forward. Second, he obeys God and listens to the directions he gives. Third, he worships the Lord shamelessly. In 2 Samuel 6 he "danced before the Lord with all his might" as they were moving the ark into Jerusalem.
Last night before going to sleep I read a few chapters in The Emotional Diet. One of the last things I read before going to sleep was a visualization about the story of your life, and how your future is not yet solidified. The point of the visualization was to inspire you to take action and improve your health to improve the rest of your life story. That was fresh in my mind this morning as I entered my quiet time, and I couldn't help but put the two together:
What kind of person do I want to be?
I've heard David is later described as "a man after God's own heart." I'm starting to get a pretty good idea of what that looks like. Pray about everything. Obey God. Worship Him with all your might.
Isn't that the kind of person I want to be?