I’ve been spending the last few weeks reading through 1 Chronicles. I don’t love it.
I’ll find something intriguing every few chapters but overall it feels like a retelling of 1 and 2 Samuel. Genealogies, battles, and not a whole lot of obvious theology like Paul’s letters offer. I was complaining to my friend about how much of a bummer reading the Bible was becoming for me. She encouraged me to pause from 1 Chronicles and read something more preferable. At first, I rejected the idea because I’m trying to read through the whole Bible. Then I remembered reading the Bible isn’t supposed to be a task I complete; it’s supposed to be a way I connect with and learn about God.
I took a few days to read 1 John in conjunction with 1 Chronicles. I felt more excited to read my Bible and felt like I was actively learning again.
As I prayed on a morning walk about my experience, I felt like God was likening my Bible time to breakfast and exercise. Reading 1 John was eating breakfast. I felt nourished, energized for the day, and overall enjoyment. Reading 1 Chronicles was exercising. Most days I didn’t look forward to it and some days it was unpleasant. But in committing to it, I’m growing. In the same way progress from exercise takes a while to see, the fruit of 1 Chronicles make take me a while to see.
When we read the Word, we don’t have to feel bored or dread it. Reading the Word is also not solely for pleasure. It’s okay to read it and feel nothing. Having a balance of breakfast and exercise in our times with God can help us sustain the feeling of connection as we pursue connection with God in different ways.
Investing in our relationships with God is important. If you don’t like what you’re reading, you have the freedom to switch it up. If there are parts of the Bible you avoid, you have the Spirit with you to begin exploring those. If you’ve been reading to finish reading, I encourage you to reflect on the purpose of reading the Word today and make adjustments to the ways you interact with the Word. You don’t have to love everything you read but there is value in all of it that I hope you can see.
As I’m finishing the last few chapters of 1 Chronicles, I feel excited. I’ve found freedom to invest in what I’m learning through the account of David from this perspective. In chapter 4, there’s a man named Jabez who has two verses about him. In those couple of lines I learned that God granted his request to keep him from harm and free from pain. That’s crazy. It challenged my perception of the necessity of pain. I would have never had that moment of enlightenment if I kept avoiding this book. The Word is so much better than we give it credit for sometimes. I hope as you explore it, whether breakfast or exercise, you fall more in love with the Author.