I really like the way the "One Year Bible" is set up. Some Old Testament, some New Testament, a Psalm, and a Proverb or two. It keeps it interesting because I'll admit I'm definitely more drawn to the New Testament. Right now the Old Testament is exciting, but there are big sections of it that just drag for me. But when I read it in sections and with the New Testament and Psalms, I feel like I can see the Old Testament more clearly. It is certainly worth my time, it fits into the BIG story, and it points to Jesus.
2 Samuel 1:1-2:11
To follow Jesus requires sacrifice. We have to sacrifice our pride, our plans, our whole lives. Some never choose to follow Jesus because the sacrifice is too much, even though Jesus sacrificed even more for us. I was reminded today that while there are so many people who don't follow Jesus it's not always because they don't believe in who Jesus is; it's because they don't want to sacrifice.
All of the religious leaders are scheming to have Jesus killed at this point in the story and "yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue, for they loved human praise more than praise from God." (John 12:42-43)
The truth is Jesus is real and so it makes sense that many people know that even if they won't admit it. But to admit it would mean vulnerability, possibly losing friends and family, losing status, losing everything. For some people it costs more than others. It would have cost these Pharisees everything they had been pursuing their whole lives. And how sad, when they thought they were living their lives to please God? When it really came down to it, they were after the praise of man.
I do think it's kind of funny that it says "they loved human praise more than praise from God." Because, of course, there is no way they actually do. They chose human praise rather than praise from God because they did not know what they were missing. We were created to please God, and I am reminded of something C.S. Lewis said in the "Weight of Glory,"
"what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased him whom she was created to please...She will most innocently rejoice in the thing that God has made her to be...In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised...how we think of Him is of no importance except insofar as it is related to how He thinks of us."
To hear God say "Well done, good and faithful servant" will surely be the most fulfilling and joyful moment of my entire existence. God's praise is of far more value than the praise of man because He's God and because I was created to please Him. It is the very thing my soul wants most to do. I want to hear how much God is pleased with me, I want to hear that God loves me. And yes, it is a vulnerable thing to admit, but there can be so much wisdom in vulnerability.
"To please God...to be a real ingredients in the divine happiness...to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in His work or a father in a son--it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustains. But so it is." -C.S. Lewis "Weight of Glory"