Just this week I was listening to a radio show about one of the earliest known maps. It’s thought be almost 9,000 years old and discovered in a town called Catalhoyuk which is in modern day Turkey. The crude map was a mural on a stone wall, but it’s a drawing found showing the honeycomb arrangement of houses in the town with symbols thought to be two nearby erupting volcanoes. The map, of course, was different from other previous drawings because it was from an overhead perspective. (See reproduction below.)
Seeing the layout of town from above, a bird’s eye view, gave people a whole new power. It gave them the ability to see the whole town at once instead of one vignette at a time. It gave them perspective and the marvelous ability to navigate precisely from one point to the other.
Last year, for the very first time, I followed a plan to read the Bible through in a year, and I feel empowered from the bird’s eye view. Instead of only seeing the world through the piece of scripture I’m currently studying, I feel I’ve been given a new gift of seeing the expansive overview. It makes me think of the limitations of using a traditional camera and then using one with a panoramic capability. Talk about expanding your horizons!
Here are some things I see more clearly after reading the Bible all the way through in a fairly compact timeframe:
- God’s mercy–Just like many others, I confess I struggled through lots of the Old Testament. Parts of The Law were especially difficult and hard to understand in light of God who says of Himself, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7) Let’s face it, with all the violence and sex, the OT should be rated R. However, when you read the Bible as a whole it’s easy to trust God who uses even judgments as an instrument to draw His precious children back into the glory and safety of relationship with Himself. His mercy is breathtaking when you dive into the sweeping story of scripture.
- God’s love–From beginning to end God’s boundless love illuminates each page of the Bible. Genesis, which begins with a garden, through Revelation, which ends with a garden, is immersed in the love of our Creator who shared grace through all the ages in the middle.
- God’s grace–The more I read of God’s gentleness toward flawed men and women, the more I felt God’s grace for myself. He is truly God of endless chances, all given with a passion to draw His children close.
- Clearer personal direction–The power of using a map is gaining the ability to go from point A to point B without so much wandering around. Using scripture as a personal map gives us the gift of a lighted path in the ways of our God. I’m incredibly thankful God preserved His Word for us through thousands of years in order to speak directly to each one of us.
When I began the year, I was zealous about the task I had before me. Now, I confess I’m happy to be finished. I’m once again enjoying leisurely soaks in shorter passages, but I’m so glad I took a year to read through the Bible.
For those of you who have done it in the past, maybe even last year, what did you receive from your bird’s eye view?
For those of you who have never done it, it’s not too late! Here’s a link to a site with several different plans to use, and you can start on the 1st or 15th of any month.