While my favorite way to read Scripture is still straight through from Genesis to Revelation, I do like to shake it up sometimes and get a different perspective with a different reading plan. This year I’ve chosen to read chronologically. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, the historian in me always curious how events fit together in time. Already I love that it has raised new questions I hadn’t thought of before. (Which is the whole point of a different reading plan!)
The plan began, of course, in Genesis. But it stopped after Abram’s journey with his father and family to Haran. From there we switched to the book of Job. I’ve never really thought of Job and Abram as contemporaries, though with the long lifespans of the patriarchs, I guess I should have. But that wasn’t what I’ve been pondering lately. It’s this: why Abram and not Job?
Job was a righteous man. After a horrific season of trials, he came out with stronger faith and refined character. God was obviously pleased with Job. And yet it wasn’t Job that God chose to lead into Canaan, to make a great nation, to use him to bless all the families of the earth. Instead, God chose Abram, a man with no children who had followed his father from Ur to Haran. He took Abram into a land he didn’t know and blessed him greatly. And while his childlessness was a great trial to him, Abram didn’t experience grief to the same degree as Job did. At least as far as we know.
Two major thoughts have arisen from thinking about why not Job and why Abram.
First, I’ve been reminded that God chooses a different path for each of us. Job’s story and Abram’s story are very different. And yet both walked with God. He wasn’t “more pleased” with one or the other. They had different roles to play in His eternal story. And He provided for each of them in their different needs, not forsaking one for the other. Different is just . . . not the same. Not less loved. Not less noticed. Not less cared for. Just different paths to walk on this earth.
Second, like with Jacob and Esau, God seems to have chosen to use the man with more fear (remember his dealings with Pharaoh about Sarai?), with less worldly stature to be the instrument through which His eternal grace would come through Jesus. Job is described as “the greatest man among all the peoples of the East.” (Job 1:3) We see no such description of Abram. He appears to be a wanderer with little in the way of family. It isn’t as if God didn’t use Job. He did. He still does as we read Job’s legacy of enduring through hardship and declaring God to be God. But He chose a more visible task for the lesser-known Abram, the starting of a line of people who would usher in the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
So many times in my life I’ve lamented that my journey wasn’t like someone else’s. In those moments, I’ve questioned whether God loves and sees me like He does them. Job and Abram remind me that He does indeed see. That He loves. Helps. Blesses. That our stories aren’t all the same on the outside, but they can indeed arrive at the same place of deep faith on the inside. I’m so very grateful for a love big enough to accomplish that.
So what Bible reading plan are you doing (or about to start)? Do you stick to the same thing or change it up? Why? Have you seen any new-to-you juxtapositions in Scripture lately?