Joshua 13 – 1 Samuel 3, Luke 1-8
Guess what? Even if everything else in your life has been cancelled or moved online, our 2020 Bible Challenge goes on with no interruptions!
I hope that you continue your daily practice of reading the Bible. During this season it is good to have something that remains the same. If you have not participated in the challenge or stopped reading at some point, this is a great time to start again. Just download the reading plan, get your Bible out, and start reading with the texts assigned for today. Let me give you a preview of what is to come in the next couple of weeks.
Soon you will be finishing the book of Joshua. In Joshua 24:15 you will recognize a very familiar verse “But my family and I will serve the Lord.” You may even have it written somewhere in your own home. I want you to pay attention to its context, starting with verse 14. God offers us a free choice when it comes to our faith. We are not forced or manipulated. Our commitment to God comes truly from our hearts.
The book of Judges is packed with military action, and it may get repetitive. Throughout the book you will see how patriarchy shaped the ancient worldview — and why women and girls were treated like property. But even in that world, there were women who were seen as true heroes. I hope that you will enjoy reading their stories.
There are also tragedies, such as the human sacrifice of the daughter of Jephthah (Judges 11), the rape and dismemberment of Levite’s concubine (Judges 19), and mass kidnapping of young girls by the men of the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 21). Feel free to send me your thoughts and feelings about these stories; they are impossible to ignore.
Next on our list is a short book of Ruth. When I was reading it, I was paying attention to how Naomi described her faith in God in the midst of her troubles. When you get to Ruth 1:20-21, ask yourself if you agree with her or not. And the only thing you need to know to better understand chapter 3 is that “feet” in the Old Testament was used as a euphemism for male genitalia, I will leave you with that.
In the New Testament, the gospel of Luke is very pleasant to read. Many of these stories are familiar to us through church and wider culture, but it does not mean that we should not read it. For example, I spotted a detail that I have missed before. In Luke 5:1-11 disciples leave their livelihood and their family business after their biggest fish catch ever. They do not even take time to process and sell the fish, they leave everything behind as soon as they get to the shore. In Jesus they have found something (or someone) who is much more important and valuable than their biggest catch ever.
Friends, I encourage you to send me your questions and thoughts. Most probably we will have our monthly meetups in April on Zoom. I will send you the instructions closer to the dates. I have created a Facebook group for us, so we can engage in conversation everyday. I also invite you to join my Bible Study every Tuesday at 6:00 pm.
God bless you and keep you safe!
Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez
Associate Pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship