What about Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy?
Our E100 Bible readings have skipped three books of the Old Testament after Genesis and Exodus in order to press on with God’s ‘big story’, so here’s a reminder of what these three books are about.
The book after Exodus is Leviticus. The book of Leviticus lays down the law about how the Israelites should live and worship. If you want to get a flavour of the book and can handle doing a bit of extra reading, you could look at the headings of the passages or read just one chapter - chapter 19 - which is all about holiness in personal conduct.
Then there’s Numbers. It’s called Numbers because Moses counts all the people while they’re in the desert. But it’s not all lists of numbers. The Hebrew Scriptures call it ‘In the Wilderness’ which is probably a better title because it’s about the way the Israelites rebelled against God and were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Reading Numbers chapters 13 and 14 about the Israelites exploring the promised land and becoming afraid to trust God and enter it will give you an idea about this.
If you’re reading the Bible through, then you may start getting a sense of ‘deja vu’ when you get to Deuteronomy. That’s because Deuteronomy is a collection of Moses' speeches - he’s going over the things that God has done and telling the Israelites what God wants before they are ready to enter the Promised Land. He preaches on the Ten Commandments, gives warnings about the dangers of abandoning God, appeals to the Israelites to commit themselves to God and pronounces blessings.
If you can, read chapter 6 with the famous ‘Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ (ch 6 v 4,5) or chapter 30 where Moses spells out the choice between life and death: ‘See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.’ (ch 30 v 15,16).