by A.A. Neale
Some Internet services provide by email or online a Verse of the Day or Daily Verse or whatever they style it. I confess to both liking and despising them, simultaneously.
These little snippets of verse appear all too like the scripture boxes the Pharisees wore on the foreheads, but apparently never read, by virtue of being close to the eyes but out of range of vision.
Good luck charms they were, blessings in a box guaranteed by a literal — and altogether easier — obedience than by installing that same passage of Bible in the heart and living it out daily.
Worse, the clips of Bible verses show us the quick-fix society we are. Gobble down the morning caffeine and a breakfast bar while you drive to work. Zip through an email with a gaggle of words torn from a context or read them on an RSS reader or off a webpage. Check off Bible reading for the day. Easy, wasn’t it?
We’re certainly not ready for Nehemiah’s plan, put into action through hair-pulling and nighttime reconnaissance:
“Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God” (Nehemiah 9:1-3 NKJV).
A fourth of a day is three hours. Add to that another fourth of a day, and you have a six-hour church service. A three-hour Bible reading. Standing up. The other three hours was spent confessing sin, and I doubt we today know enough about sin to fill up a five-minute Starbucks break.
We won’t even mention the fasting, sackcloth, head-dusting, and foreigner-separating that went on BEFORE the Bible reading.
No, we’re doing 10-second whiz-bang Bible readings on the Verse of the Day. We can imagine the impact they’re making.
But they are nifty, aren’t they?
Those snippets of Internet Bible verses show our shallowness.