(A seminary class assignment originally dated September 18, 2006. For an introduction and table of contents for the series, see New Series: Old Testament Reading Journal).
I read large portions aloud in a version new to me (NLT2), which made certain things pop out and caused me to react emotionally in ways I hadn’t before. I felt awed by the beautiful, poetic repetition in Genesis 1; I choked up at the heart wrenching emotion of Joseph at his reunion with his brothers; I laughed at the irony of Pharaoh’s daughter paying Moses’ own mother to nurse him; I got irritated at Moses when he whined and flat-out contradicted God at the burning bush; I “rooted for the good guys” during the ten plagues and the Red Sea crossing like I was reading an action-adventure novel. I also saw a connection I hadn’t seen before: when Jethro encouraged Moses to set up a system of judges, I thought, “How are they going to know how to decide all these cases?” And right after that, my question was answered by God giving the civil laws at Sinai. Overall, I saw in a new way the “humanness” of these two books and how much they focus on relationships, both among people and between people and God. Even the seemingly tedious details of the tabernacle plans and construction emphasize relationship, for as God says in Ex.29:46, “I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them.”