January 21, 2012

200 Chapters in 20 Days: Reading Through the Bible in 2012

So, yesterday marked a great milestone I'd say, with regard to keeping up with a reading plan for the new year and it has been great.  Yesterday was the 20th of the month and I had completed reading the scheduled 10 chapters for that day, which I have done everyday since the 1st of January and this results in my completion of reading 200 chapters in the Bible over the past 20 days!

Each day I know that I need to spend about an hour quietly sitting somewhere so I can read each chapter and I normally like to read all 10 chapters at one sitting.  There was one day however, that I read 8 chapters in the morning and completed the remaining 2 when I returned home from work.

For me, there is something about reading a physical copy of the Bible vs. an electronic version like the one that is available on YouVersion.  I'm not dismissing the online version as ineffective or inefficient because they are.  I guess for myself, I just like seeing where the accounts of people, places and things are taking place in the hardcopy, which I think helps with memory recall.  As I discussed this with my wife, I think may utilize the online version and make notes on certain highlighted verses or passages and then transcribe them to my physical Bible.

As I read yesterday, catching up on my reading of days 19 & 20, when I read the parable of the rich young man in Matthew 19, I noticed something that I had not seen in the past.
This parable (Matthew 19:16-30) is about a rich young man that had asked Jesus about what he needed to do to have, or as some translations use the word inherit, eternal life.  The translation that I am using is the English Standard Version.

The dialogue Jesus has with this rich young man reveals that the commandments are to be kept, to which the rich young man says he has done so and then asks what is it that he still lacked.  Jesus replied and said that if he would be perfect, to go and sell all of his possessions and give it to the poor, then he would have treasure in heaven and then he could follow Christ.  But upon hearing this the rich young man went away very saddened and disappointed because he had a lot of stuff.

Verse 23 is what stood out - And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven."

Those people that have accumulated a lot of great toys in their life become greatly attached to them.  For this rich man it was not only his possessions that he could not part with to follow Christ, but it was the status recognition that came along with it too.  He was a rich, young man.  The difficulty that a rich person is going to face concerning their entrance into the kingdom of heaven will be whether they have loved the atonement of Jesus Christ for their sins more than any material possession they own.

Ecclesiastes 5:15 says, "As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand."

No one brought anything into the world and they won't be able to take anything with them when they die either.

Forbes has a list of the richest 400 people in America, think about these people and pray for them that their massive wealth would not keep them from gaining eternal riches.  Pray that they may all come to repentance of their sin of the idolatry of their wealth and that they would place their faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ alone.

For the rich, this is the ultimate statistic.

But the verse says that only with difficulty with the rich enter the kingdom of heaven.  It doesn't say they will not be able to enter, but they will struggle as they separate themselves from loving their possessions less, while growing in God's grace and loving Him more.

Adam Clarke's commentary concerning this verse says, "Earthly riches are a great obstacle to salvation; because it is almost impossible to possess them, and not to set the heart upon them; and they who love the world have not the love of the Father in them. 1John 2:15. To be rich, therefore, is in general a great misfortune: but what rich man can be convinced of this? It is only God himself who, by a miracle of mercy, can do this. Christ himself affirms the difficulty of the salvation of a rich man, with an oath, verily; but who of the rich either hears or believes him!"

The good news for a rich person is found in verse 26, which Jesus says, "With man this is impossible, but wiht God all things are possible."  As the Gospel is proclaimed in their hearing, the ability to love Christ more than their possessions can be accomplished with the help of God.

In Paul's first letter to Timothy, he says that those who are rich in this present age shoud not trust in uncertain riches, but to trust the living God who gives richly all things to enjoy. (1 Timohty 6:17, NKJV)  That's true security and peace of mind that money cannot buy, to trust in the living God.

It is possible and if you may be someone who is wealthy, maybe not to the degree of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, or New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, but you have considered that whatever amount of material wealth you do have that has become an idol in your life and realize that it will be a greater ease into hell than a great difficulty to enter God's kingdom, then please, humbly repent of your sin that has caused you to be separated from God and place your complete faith and trust in the atonement Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins.

Need God?

Each day I look forward to that hour I spend in God's Word, reading, learning and seeing things that I had not seen before that brings a revival to my soul.  I hope you do too.

Lastly, I love how Psalm 20:7 speaks so well with regard to the rich young man's wealth that he could not part from compared to those that have.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."  Psalm 20:7, ESV

God bless you as you remain in His Word each day.

Faithfully in Christ,

Pastor Kurt

1 comment:

scott thompson said...

Great insight ! I, too, prefer my actual bible over the electronic way. I highlight and mark in mine( It looks like the Rainbow Bible now ! ) I believe it is more personal.
You get to know your Bible better. I have learned so much since starting this system. I am on day 157 now. Thanks !