Selections From Israel's Story Week 1

Introduction: From Egypt to the Promised Land

December 2010 was when we were last in the Old Testament; since then, the Lectio has covered the New Testament books of Matthew and Romans. We are now returning to Israel’s story at the place we left off …Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 2

The Ten Words: Exodus 20

While much of the legal material of the Old Testament is skipped over by many Christians, the Ten Commandments are often the exception to that trend. In fact, in his, Martin Luther said that the Ten Commandments gave us, “what we are to do in order that our whole life may be pleasing to God.” Out of all the many commandments in the Old Testament, why are these so important? Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 3

Covenant Ratification: Exodus 24

Last week’s lectio discussed the Ten Commandments, but this one moves back to a narrative. In fact, this is the first story that takes place after the body of text known as the Book of the Covenant, laws contained in Exodus 20:22–23:33. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 4

The Golden Calf: Exodus 32

Our last Lectio ended with Exodus 24, and we have skipped over chapters 25–31, in which God gives Moses instructions about the tabernacle. It makes dramatic sense for us to move from Exodus 24 to Exodus 32: was when the covenant was sealed, and Chapter 32 is when the covenant is broken. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 5

A Merciful and Gracious God: Exodus 33–34

This week’s Lectio continues the story from the previous week and the previous chapter, and is connected in many ways: where Chapter 32 was about Israel breaking the covenant with God, Chapters 33–34 are about God remaking the covenant with Israel. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 6

Strange Fire: Leviticus 10

The name “Leviticus” is the title of this book in the Septuagint, meaning in Greek, “of the Levites.” The Levites, of course, are the tribe that makes up the priests, so that name points to the nature of this biblical book as a book for the priests and priestly matters. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 7

The Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16

As we continue in the book of Leviticus, we encounter another text that takes some work to understand. At first read, this is a strange text, filled with details about animal sacrifices, burning incense, and sprinkling blood. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 8

Be Holy, for God Is Holy: Leviticus 19

Most people know Leviticus 19:18 but are not as familiar with the rest of the chapter. One reason we selected this chapter as part of “Israel’s Story” is that it is so important for understanding who Israel is — or, perhaps more accurately, who Israel is called to be. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 9

Meat to Eat: Numbers 11

There is a cycle of events that happens throughout the book of Numbers, introduced in Numbers 11:1–2: (1) the people complain; (2) God gets angry and punishes them; (3) the people cry out to Moses; (4) Moses intercedes, and (5) the punishment stops. That this cycle happens over and over again is crucial for understanding why God gets so angry. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 10

Spies and Lies: Numbers 13–14

There is a joke that starts with the question, “Why did it take the Israelites 40 years to get out of the desert?” Answer: “Because none of the men would stop to ask for directions.” These two chapters in Numbers give the real reason, which turns out to be no laughing matter. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 11

Water From the Rock: Numbers 20

Three main things happen in this chapter: (1) We find out why Moses is not allowed to enter into the Promised Land; (2) The nation of Edom refuses to allow Israel to pass through its land; (3) and Aaron dies. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 12

Blessings of Balaam: Numbers 22-24

Many of the Lectios we have read this summer have been either serious or tragic: about God’s anger and punishment, about people who made grave mistakes, about important laws that provide guidelines for holy living. This week’s Lectio, however, has a different flavor — full of humor and irony. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 13

Hear and Remember: Deuteronomy 6

With this Lectio, we move back from narrative to law. In fact, the title of the book, Deuteronomy, means in Greek “Second Law.” It often gets referred to in rabbinic writings as Mishneh Torah, or the repetition of the Torah. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story Week 14

Conclusion — Seeing the Promised Land: Deuteronomy 31 and 34

With these chapters, not only Deuteronomy but the entire Torah ends. As we come to the conclusion of our selections from Israel’s story, we look forward to the book of Joshua, which will be the Lectio focus for the fall. Full reading and audio »


Selections From Israel's Story

Reflections on Nehemiah 8

A year ago the Center for Biblical and Theological Education at SPU began a venture in the production and distribution of Lectio: Guided Bible Reading. Many of you have traveled with us via this online program through Genesis/Exodus, Matthew, Romans, and Old Testament selections from Israel’s story (from a golden calf to a talking donkey) … Full reading »