Are you looking for a fresh Bible reading routine for your quiet time this week?
By Brian Hardin, adapted from his book The One Year Adventure with the God of Your Story
Are you looking for a fresh Bible reading routine for your quiet time this week? Perhaps you simply don’t know what part(s) of the Bible to read next. Dive into a week of contemplative thoughts and a Bible reading plan from the devotional The One Year Adventure with the God of Your Story by Brian Hardin.
Daily Devotional and Bible Reading: Day 1
Today we concluded the first book of the Bible with a farewell to someone we know well—Joseph. At 110 years of age, Joseph spoke his final words to his brothers:
Soon I will die . . . but God will surely come to help you and lead you out of this land of Egypt. He will bring you back to the land he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob . . . When God comes to help you and lead you back, you must take my bones with you.Genesis 50:24-25
The second book of the Bible, Exodus, picks up the same story centuries later. The original children of Israel had all died, but their progeny flourished. The people of God had become as numerous as the stars in the heavens, precisely as God promised Abraham. Unfortunately, this flourishing caused the Egyptians to fear their numbers and their loyalty. And by this time, Egypt had also forgotten about Joseph and how he had saved them from devastation so long ago. The Egyptians enslaved Israel’s children, and the new Pharaoh instituted a barbaric form of population control: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live” (Exodus 1:22).
We can see the meticulous long view of God’s plans as this story unfolds. And we can also see the formidable opposition to the promise of a people set apart.
In our world of instant gratification, we can barely comprehend the idea of a promise from God that will not be accomplished in our lifetimes—much less centuries later. But as we look back on the story of Scripture thus far, we see God’s foresight and intentionality with the children of Israel.
First, God promised to Abraham a land and descendants without number. God revealed Himself to Abraham’s son of promise, Isaac, who passed the promise to Jacob. God then revealed Himself to Jacob, who passed this promise to his twelve sons. And although it had been centuries and the people were enslaved far away from this Promised Land, the promise remained.
When the children of Israel began to cry out, God heard. A baby boy was put into the Nile as commanded, but he was placed in the river within a wicker basket. This wicker basket was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter, and the boy was given the name Moses. We’ll get to know him very well in the coming weeks.
Rise up, O Lord, in all your power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.Psalm 21:13
Daily Devotional and Bible Reading: Day 2
Moses grew up with an identity crisis. We’ll see that show up from time to time as we get to know him. He was rescued from drowning in the Nile River by Pharaoh’s daughter and was partially raised by his own mother. He was ethnically Hebrew—a slave—but was treated and educated like an Egyptian royal. This internal conflict led to his downfall in today’s reading. Moses murdered an Egyptian, and the next day, his fellow Hebrews ridiculed him for it. When Pharaoh was informed, he wanted to kill Moses, which forced Moses to run for his life.
Eventually, Moses settled in a distant land and pursued a new life. He married and became a shepherd—until God stepped in. One day, Moses saw a bush that was aflame but was not being consumed.
“Moses!” God said from the bush, startling Moses.
“Here I am!” Moses replied. Exodus 3:4
This simple exchange encapsulates a posture that we absolutely must master if we are to truly find stability and comfort in our faith journey. This simple call-and-response is a massive turning point in the Bible. We’re certainly still following the story of a people set apart and a Promised Land that began with Abraham. But the story is about to move into high gear—and it all began with a simple response: “Here I am!”
The ensuing conversation between God and Moses revealed that the cry of the people had been heard and that God was on the move. Moses was instructed to return to Egypt and inform the people. He was then to demand the release of the Hebrews from Pharaoh himself.
Moses argued that the Hebrew people would never believe such a thing—and that they would certainly not believe in Moses as the messenger. “Who am I supposed to tell them sent me?” he asked (Exodus 3:13).
“I AM WHO I AM,” was God’s reply.
When the Great I Am calls, let’s be paying attention. Whenever we answer His call, freedom is directly in front of us.
You brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.Psalm 22:9-10
Daily Devotional and Bible Reading: Day 3
Yesterday, we noticed that Moses had reservations about God’s instructions to return to Egypt. In today’s reading from Exodus, we continued with the conversation between Moses and God, and we encountered another of the saddest scenes in the Bible.
Moses explained to God why he was the wrong person, pleading that no one would believe him. God provided miraculous signs to solve this problem, but Moses wasn’t finished with excuses. “O Lord, I’m not very good with words,” he said. “I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled” (Exodus 4:10).
How did God respond?
Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.Exodus 4:11-12
This brings us to a very sad statement from the lips of Moses: “Lord, please! Send anyone else” (Exodus 4:13).
Through this exchange, once again, the Bible becomes a mirror into our souls. We’ve all done this in one way or another. In thought, word, or deed, we’ve explained to God why we are the wrong person and are not equipped to obey Him. We’ve all said, “Please send someone else,” fully exposing our fears. This response also exposes the frailty of our faith. And yet “it is impossible to please God without faith” (Hebrews 11:6), and it is impossible to know God without faith.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. . . . And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me” (Matthew 18:3, 5). We must reach higher than our highest reasoning and beyond our greatest fears to have the faith of a child who believes that all things are possible. Otherwise, we will mimic Moses and ask God to send someone else.
Thankfully, Moses ran out of excuses and returned to Egypt. The Bible would be quite a different story had he not. As with Joseph’s story, things only got worse once Moses obeyed God. The slavery intensified, making everyone frustrated and angry with Moses. But as we shall soon see, God will not be thwarted.
All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations.Psalm 22:26-28
Daily Devotional and Bible Reading: Day 4
Today, the book of Proverbs told us, “An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him” (Proverbs 5:22). The overwhelming truth of this proverb will unfold before us in our next chapters from Exodus, as the Egyptian pharaoh stands in the way of God’s plan to free the children of Israel from slavery.
As we look to Matthew’s Gospel, we read Jesus’ words on a topic that He relentlessly kept in focus. Peter asked Him, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Jesus replied, “No, not seven times . . . but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-22).
To illustrate the profound implications of withholding forgiveness, Jesus told the story of a man who was in debt to his king, more than he could ever pay. To satisfy the debt, the man was to be sold, along with his wife, children, and possessions. The money from this sale would go to the king in repayment. The man fell before the king and begged for more time—and then the king did something completely unexpected: He forgave the debt in its entirety. He gave the man his life back.
As the newly liberated man left the palace, he ran into another man who owed him a much smaller amount of money. He demanded payment and would not relent, throwing this poor man into prison until the debt could be paid.
When the king found out, he immediately summoned the man to whom he had forgiven a fortune. “You evil servant!” he said. “I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:32-33).
The man was thrown into prison until he could repay the entire debt. And, according to Jesus, “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).
Forgiveness is not optional in God’s Kingdom. There is no way to walk intimately with God while unforgiveness is eating us from within like a cancer.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.Psalm 23
Daily Devotional and Bible Reading: Day 5
Today in Exodus, plagues began to devastate the Egyptians. Pharaoh had been warned, and God had given signs, but Pharaoh could not conceive of a God higher than himself and the gods of Egypt. The Nile River—their source of fresh water—was turned to blood; frogs invaded the land; gnats swarmed and infested Egypt; flies pestered and contaminated the countryside, and the Egyptian livestock died. Boils began breaking out on the bodies of the Egyptian population, and legendary hail fell from the sky, destroying their crops.
At each turn, Pharaoh summoned Moses and begged for relief, but when God removed each plague, Pharaoh became stubborn and refused to allow the children of Israel their freedom.
In our reading in Matthew today, a rich young ruler asked Jesus an important question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16).
Jesus’ response was that the man should obey the commandments, to which the man replied that all his life, he had indeed obeyed them.
“If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said, “go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). The man departed in sadness because he was very wealthy.
In this encounter, we saw Jesus moving behind what was on the surface and into matters of the heart—where the truth lives. Jesus invited the rich man to rid himself of the one thing that gave him status and security, the one thing that was more important to him than God. And in the process, Jesus invited him to “come, follow me.”
In the words of Jesus here, we find opportunity to examine our own hearts. What things are we valuing more than our relationship with God? As stark as this question is, these are the idols in our lives. And in this story, we realize once again that a true life of faith is an all-or-nothing proposition—a theme that we’ll notice distinctly as we journey deeper into the Gospels.
Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—he is the King of glory.Psalm 24:7-10
Daily Devotional and Bible Reading: Day 6
The plagues visited on the Egyptians continued in Exodus today. After all that Egypt had endured, Pharaoh’s advisors were getting the message loud and clear. “Don’t you realize that Egypt lies in ruins?” they asked Pharaoh (Exodus 10:7). But he would not be humiliated in front of his people. His pride was destroying the nation of Egypt, but he would not humble himself in the face of the overwhelmingly powerful God of the Hebrews. So locusts came in swarms that covered all of Egypt, and in the aftermath, “not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants throughout the land of Egypt” (Exodus 10:15).
Once again, Pharaoh feigned humility, and the plague was removed—and Pharaoh’s heart hardened.
Next, a plague of darkness fell upon the land. And once again, Pharaoh attempted to negotiate a deal that would keep ties between the enslaved Hebrews and the Egyptians. But God sought total emancipation for his people. An enraged Pharaoh told Moses, “I’m warning you. Never come back to see me again! The day you see my face, you will die!”
“Very well,” Moses replied. “I will never see your face again” (Exodus 10:28-29).
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus continued to lay out the fundamentals of how God’s Kingdom works and the postures we must maintain to observe it in action. “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them,” Jesus said. “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).
Jesus’ life and teachings are diametrically opposed to the attitudes and actions of a person like Pharaoh. And yet, we can find the postures of pride and arrogance in our own lives quite easily. Jesus invites us to look at our purpose in terms of how we can help people who need help, pretty much in any context. May we invite the Holy Spirit today to show us the relief of reaching outward and the joy of serving.
O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! . . . Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.Psalm 25:1-2, 4-5
Daily Devotional and Bible Reading: Day 7
The counsel of the Proverbs today perfectly describes Pharaoh’s behavior in Exodus: “Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing” (Proverbs 6:14-15).
After the plague of darkness, it would only take one final act to break the chains that had enslaved the children of Israel—but the last plague would be devastating. Moses instructed God’s people to observe the first Passover, in which they painted blood on their doorposts so that a death angel would “pass over” their homes while invading Egypt. But wailing and bitter grief swept across Egypt as the firstborn son in every other household died, including the firstborn of Pharaoh.
“Get out!” Pharaoh ordered Moses. “Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave” (Exodus 12:31-32).
Immediately, the children of Israel began moving out of Egypt to the east, into the desert. On their way, they received anything they asked for, thereby pillaging the Egyptians’ wealth as they left the country. Over a million people began a long journey, and as we concluded our first month of this amazing journey through the Bible this year, we saw the people of God reach another major mile marker: freedom. The promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was taking shape in new and fascinating ways. The people were now as vast as the stars in the heavens, but their entire identity would need to shift before they reached the Promised Land.
In Matthew today, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it” (Matthew 21:21-22).
The faith required in the Exodus of the children of Israel was the same faith required in the life of Jesus—and the same faith required in our own lives. We have an unfathomably powerful and sovereign heavenly Father. When we put our complete faith and trust in Him, anything is possible.
Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. . . . Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.Psalm 25:16-18, 20-21
 Author’s paraphrase.
 Author’s paraphrase.
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The One Year Adventure with the God of Your Story by Brian Hardin
The Bible is a beautiful and divinely inspired book. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible tells the cohesive story of God’s unwillingness to be left out of the human story—your story. In this One Year devotional, join founder and voice of the Daily Audio Bible, Brian Hardin, on a journey to read it in its entirety.
Brian Hardin has been podcasting the Bible to hundreds of thousands for over a decade, leading people through the whole Bible every year. Now he’s putting his love of the daily reading of Scripture on to the page. In this collection of 365 readings, you’ll be surprised by how often what you read in the Bible will be a mirror into your own heart and motives. And you’ll be delighted to understand that God is not a distant and uninterested Being. He is deeply invested in the human story and deeply in love with what He has fashioned. God wants to know and be known by us.
About the Author
Brian Hardin is the vision and voice of Daily Audio Bible which boasts more than 150,000 daily listeners. Brian is an ordained minister, an accomplished record producer with more than 150 albums to his credit, a respected photographer, and a graphic designer whose work has been featured in high-profile publications, including TIME Magazine. He is the author of Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything for You and Reframe: From the God We’ve Made to God With Us.