Happy New Year! And welcome to our year-long journey of reading through the Bible together! Each week I will post some of my study notes. Hopefully, it will coincide with what the week’s reading is, but be forewarned, sometimes one part will spark reading and studying in another part. I may also post repeats of other posts but hopefully the scripture addressed will be a joyful reminder of life-changing truths. So, let’s just hang on for the ride and go in whatever direction the Lord leads!
My reading today includes Genesis 1:1-2:25, Matthew 1:1-2:12, and Psalm 1:1-6.
In the beginning God created. There was great darkness and God was hovering over it, above it. And yet, he was willing to change it, the great darkness, the great emptiness. He didn’t just hover over it, he changed it. And how did He change it? He spoke. His words changed the darkness. His Word still does that today. He changed the darkness by speaking forth light. He said, “Let there be light!” and there was light. May this first day of the new year be a year of great light. May he use His Word to create new things in your life, bring light to your soul.
Here we are on the first day of our journey through the Bible and we have to talk about sin. You know what? I don’t like to talk about sin. It’s true. I like to talk about the good stuff—the love, grace, and mercy of God. But sin is the thing that truly blocks our relationship with God and keeps us from receiving the good stuff. So even good Southern ladies need to talk about it. Psalm 1 gives us a great example of how sin works, in a backward kind of way:
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
In this verse, we see a man traveling down the road and making the right choice. But we also see what the progression of sin would look like if he did not make the right choice. The actions in verse one are walk, stand, and then sit. The picture of choosing sin is this: Someone walks down the road, approaching wickedness. Instead of walking straight away, he slows down, gradually accepting the wickedness, until he is standing in the midst of sinners. And before he knows it, he is sitting among them, justifying his actions, mocking the truth that he once believed.
We have all had the experience of hearing “that news” of a godly brother or sister who outwardly was doing just the right things, but suddenly (or so it appears to us) the truth comes out.
It is shocking to us, but the progression had been taking place for a while. The truth is, sin will always be revealed eventually. All will be laid bare. Secrets will never stay secrets forever. For God is light, and light reveals, and light exposes the dark places. He will reveal all hidden things eventually. Hebrews 4:13 tells us that nothing is hidden from God’s sight and everything will be uncovered and laid bare.
Let that help us be scared straight. When I was a teenager, there was a television show—one of the first reality shows—called Scared Straight. It took young people on the edge of destructive choices into a jail and showed them the reality of poor choices. We must bring our whole hearts into His light immediately so that we too can be scared straight, and experience a holy fear and respect of God, His truth, and the consequences of neglecting to follow in His holy ways.
Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.
We have discussed the Walk, Stand, Sit progression of sin; now let’s look at the Sit, Walk, Stand progression of avoiding sin.
Watchman Nee was a famous Chinese Christian who died for his faith. He wrote a small book called Sit, Walk, Stand. In this book, he says our spiritual journey each day should begin by sitting. We are to sit in the presence of God, soak up His Word, and worship Him. We are to sit with other believers, fellowship, and learn from each other. It is this sitting time which makes us ready to walk down the godly road. It is sitting that gives us strength to faithfully serve others while we walk. This is the preparation for the journey. But it is not a one-time preparation; it is a daily preparation. Nee wrote:
What is the secret strength of the Christian life? Whence has it its power? Let me give you the answer in a sentence. The Christian’s secret is his rest in Christ. His power derives from his God-given position [of sitting]. All who sit can walk, for in the thought of God the one follows the other spontaneously. We sit forever with Christ that we may walk continuously before men. Forsake for a moment our place of rest in him, and immediately we are tripped and our testimony in the world is marred. But abide in Christ, and our position there ensures the power to walk worthy of him here.
He goes on to give an illustration of this concept of sitting to walk. He said to think not of a runner in a race, but of a cripple in a power-driven wheelchair. What does he do? He goes, but he also sits. And the power behind his going is the chair.
Let’s climb up in the lap of God, sit on His great Throne Chair, and let Him give us the power to walk this journey in a godly way.