In the selection of fourteen readings, reflections and prayers Nick Fawcett highlights some of the most unforgettable passages from the Old Testament. Drawn from his book Daily Prayer and from three of his Fawcett Bible Studies, here are readings to encourage, renew and inspire.
Genesis 28:10-13a, 16-17 An unexpected encounter
Deuteronomy 33:27 The everlasting arms of God
Joshua 1:1-6 I will be with you
Ruth 1:8-17 Voice of the outsider
1 Samuel 17:43-45, 48-49 David and Goliath
1 Kings 19:11b-13 The still, small voice
Psalm 23 The Lord’s my shepherd
Psalm 139:7-12 A God here, there and everywhere
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 A time for everything
Isaiah 6:1-8 Send me
Isaiah 55:6-9 The God beyond us
Isaiah 55:10-11 A God we can depend on
Ezekiel 11:17a, 19-20 A different heart and a new spirit
Daniel 3:13-14, 16-18 The fiery furnace
Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9 A love that will not let me go
Amos 5:18-24 An outer veneer
Some passages of the Bible stand out in the memory, don’t they? While the whole of Scripture is important, neglected at our peril, certain verses capture our imagination or speak to us in a way that few others can begin to. Who can forget the words of the 23rd psalm, the parables of Jesus, or the wonderful teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 on the gift of love? These are just some of the countless passages to have encouraged, comforted, strengthened and inspired Christians across the centuries.
We must, of course, beware of being too selective when it comes to reading the Bible, or we will wind up avoiding whatever might challenge our particular viewpoint, thus effectively closing our ears to anything that God might wish to say to us. He has an uncanny knack of speaking through the most unlikely of verses, stretching our horizons and disturbing the comfortable status quo. On the other hand, well-loved verses can remind us of the underlying realities of the gospel, offering reassurance in times of doubt, support in times of challenge and hope in times of despair. Some, indeed, become so familiar to us that they seem almost like old friends. We may even know them off by heart, yet their power to challenge, inspire and encourage remains undiminished, God continuing to speak through them in new and wonderful ways.
In this short compilation I have drawn upon my book Daily Prayer and various volumes of my Bible Study series to offer brief reflections on 15 unforgettable passages from the Gospels, each supplemented by a simple closing prayer. The selection is inevitably a personal one, but I suspect many of the passages I have chosen will also feature among your own personal favourites. It is my hope that they will speak as powerfully to you as they have to me.