In Sunday school, we are taking a survey through the Old Testament. We are looking at the OT chronologically. In each section, we are examining the time period, what was happening historically in the world, and where we find Jesus clearly shown. Sometimes stories are recorded in more than one place or written in the same time period so you end up weaving in and out of books. But reading chronologically has really painted a picture of God that you might not see if you just read the books as separate entities.
I've read the bible practically every day since April of 1983, so I've read it through many times, but I have never read it in the order in which it was written. I can't even count the number of times in the last few months that I have said "I've read this a million times and I never noticed that before." It's very similar to listening to the Bible as audio, which I do in the car or on the mower or on my ipod. I always hear things that I didn't notice while reading. It's kind like a box of cracker jacks. I love the rich molassasy flavor of the caramel coated popcorn and the crunchy peanuts coated with yummy stickiness. As you eat your way down through the box all the sudden there's this little white packet with a special surprise. As a child, I would always try to reach the surprise before eating the caramel corn. My favorite toys were the rings, the tiny dolls, and the little puzzles with the rolling metal balls inside and I was sure that I had a true treasure when my "prize" was one of them. Unfortunately now all you get is some cheesy tattoo. It doesn't even qualify as surprise.
So just as you have to eat the box of Cracker Jacks in order to get to the prize, I'm finding that in order to find the little nuggets of truth in God's Word, the things you might miss the first 100 times through, you have to read it over and over again. Those little new-to-you things add perspective and clarity that open up more and more of the heart and plan of God for mankind.
It never ceases to amaze me that God's Word is always new and fresh every time you read it. It's the book that keeps on giving and giving. You could spend a lifetime reading it and never uncover all the "prizes" that are hiding there. I just can't wait to open it up and see what God has hidden for me to find. It's as addictive as Cracker Jacks!