During 2018 Winter Retreat, student members read the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number, and Deuteronomy. It took us 2 nights and 3 days to finish. All participated members finished the reading goal.
Just like other books of the Bible, each book of Torah has numbers of stories and even more lessons. We did lose much by rushing through the reading aiming to finish “reading” rather than studying it. We will have another chance to come back to each story. Meanwhile, I would like to point out a few points in Torah.
First, remember God in the story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve departed from trusting God by going against His order and deciding to become the ultimate decision maker for him/herself. What is good and what is evil was set by God and God alone. However, when given a chance, man – ignoring God’s warning against it – falls into the deception which the serpent presents. Seeing the fall of Adam and Eve, God did two things. Both of them out of His identity – love. God keeps the tree of life away from the sinful men knowing that it would be a doom if men lived forever with sin. Second, God sacrifices an animal and covers the shame/sin that men brought into his life. Men initially tried to cover on his own using leaves, but God covers the sin in His way through a sacrifice.
Second, remember God in the story of Abraham. God makes promises that seem impossible, and He – with His own power – faithfully fulfills it. The promise lasts longer than Abraham’s lifetime. God promised to bless Abraham’s descendants, and he keeps the promise through the books of the Old Testaments even after the death of Abraham. As faithful as God is, He seeks for those who are faithful. God reveals His plans to those who are faithful. God does not let the righteous perish with the unrighteous.
Lastly, remember God in the story of Exodus. His glorious power and authority over all other gods of Egypt. His selective protection of His chosen people. His guidance and protection in the wilderness. His relationship with Moses when the sin of the people of Israel raised His anger. How he provided manna and quail. Splitting and drying up a sea. How God brought victories to His people from their enemies. And, God emphasizes to His people to remember. God wants His people to remember so that they will keep God’s words and not perish; so that they will teach their children to keep God’s words and not perish. That is how much God loved His people.
Throughout Torah, throughout the Bible, we see how men fall, disappoint God, and sin against God. And every time, we see how God provides ways to be saved. We see how God keeps His promise with Abraham so faithfully by continuing the line of blessing in Abraham’s descendants. Even when the people have forgotten Him, even when Abraham is dead, even when we were sinners. God’s love extends beyond our imagination. He does not ignore one single individual who is faithful in the sight of Him. We must remember how powerful God is, how great His love is, and how God rejoices in those who are faithful and acceptable to Him.