One of the reasons many Christians read through the whole Bible, day after day, year after year is to cleanse ourselves of idolatrous understandings of God. John Calvin said that our hearts are idol factories; we are always inventing new gods in the image of our own values, wishes and fancies. Reading the Bible is like running an anti-virus program on your computer. It “de-bugs” all of the strange and foreign ideas you have about who God is, who we are and how God has saved us through Christ.

How we naturally think of God is often the result of a variety of internal and external influences. Externally, we in the West have enjoyed 60 years of unbroken peace and prosperity—arguably for the first time in our long and tumultuous history. That has changed how we think about God. God has become more of a bellboy or a pleasant and benevolent grandfather. When you have few enemies you don’t need a Warrior God; you need a Counsellor or a Friend or a Cheerleader. And so, the common concept of God begins to gradually shift and change. That’s why we read the Bible.

Because God is who he is and he is who he says he is and he does not change. However, if you are thinking about God this morning, the verses from Psalm 94 need to be thrown into the mix as a sort of anti-malware for your theological system:

“O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve!” (Psalm 94:1–2 ESV)

God of Vengeance.

When was the last time you thought of God like that?

God pays back.

God watches.

God serves us recompense.

This isn’t just something we see in the Old Testament; it is actually one of the very last things said by Jesus in the New Testament:

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12 ESV)

Those are “Red Letters” actually.

And that’s why we read the Bible.

We need to know WHO GOD IS—and we need to hear it in his own words, not in the words of our tortured consciences and not in the words of our common culture.

So read your Bible today and listen to the Word of the Lord.

* From Into the Word blog by Pastor Paul Carter, who will be our guest preacher for the upcoming joint retreat.

This week’s Bible reading schedule:

Monday: Isaiah 38 Thursday: Isaiah 41
Tuesday: Isaiah 39 Friday: Isaiah 42
Wednesday: Isaiah 40 Saturday: Isaiah 43