Living With the Torah for One Year

My friend Mark Lanier sent me a copy of his new book, Torah for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance. Mark has written a year’s worth of devotionals on the first five books of the Bible. These books are known as the Pentateuch in our English Bible and as the Torah in the Hebrew Bible. Each devotional applies the teachings of the Torah to issues related to our daily life and the struggles of faith. Each devotional ends with a prayer in which Mark prays asking God for guidance on how to apply the teaching of the text.

Mark Lanier is a Christian lawyer who lives in Houston, Texas. Mark’s law firm has offices in Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. Mark teaches the Bible in his church and his Bible lessons are distributed to hundreds of people throughout the USA. Mark’s personal library, The Lanier Theological Library, is a research library that holds more than 100,000 volumes. Mark’s collection includes books dealing with Archaeology, Biblical Studies, Church History, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Egyptology, and Theology.

In addition to Torah for Living, Mark has written several other books, including Psalms for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance. Before writing his devotional on the Psalms, Mark spent several years reading the psalms in Hebrew.

Torah for Living consists of 366 devotionals (it includes a devotional for a leap year, the year that has 29 days in February and 366 days in the year). The devotionals are divided as follows:

Genesis – From January 1 through March 25 – 85 devotionals.

Exodus – From March 26 through June 10 – 77 devotionals.

Leviticus – From June 11 through August 20 – 71 devotionals.

Numbers – From August 21 through October 28 – 69 devotionals.

Deuteronomy – From October 29 through December 31 – 64 devotionals.

Below is the devotional for today

August 6, 2019.

The LORD spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them . . .” (Lev 25:1-2).

We read an amazing thing in today’s passage. God spoke to Moses. God gave Moses a message that God wanted Moses to hear and then repeat to the Israelites. This passage meets a big need in my life. I need to hear from God.

Each day, we all face the unexpected. Even with things we know are happening, there is always a layer that is unseen. Using an innocuous example, I may know that I am going to be eating lunch with my wife, but that doesn’t mean I know what the precise conversation will be. On a more serious level, I may know that today I will be in court for a hearing, but I don’t know what the other side will argue, what the witnesses might say, and how the judge might react.

Along with the unexpected that occurs daily, there are decisions that I must make. Again, on a fairly innocuous level, I need to decide what to eat for lunch. On a more serious level, I need to decide larger things, grand in scope and effect. Where shall I live? What should I do with my life? Then there are everyday decisions that can also have a huge effect. What shall I do with my time today? How shall I deal with certain problems and issues?

In all these areas, it would be extremely nice to hear from someone who knows everything. To have someone who can see through all the variables, who is aware of what is possible and what isn’t, who sees behind each corner—this is the kind of resource that would be a game-changer in life.

It would be even better if that all-knowing one loved me and cared about what happened to me. If there was someone who both had this knowledge and also had the best wishes and desires for me and my life, I would be sitting on a gold mine for living.

Reality check: the all-knowing (“omniscient”) God does care for me, does have plans for me, and does speak. You and I might think, “Well, I am not hearing his voice!” but if we are thinking that, we are wrong. He speaks in a myriad of ways, and one of the ways we read of today. The Lord spoke to Moses and told him what to say to Israel. These are the words that are recorded in our Torah devotions that we are reading each day. These words are instructive for us. They are insights for living handed down by the divine, all-knowing God. We need to listen and think through these words, seeking to live our lives based on our discernment of the messages and implications.

Lord, please help me to hear you voice. Give me understanding so I may live to your glory. In your name, amen.

I have been reading Torah for Living every day for the past few days. I have been highly touched by Mark’s devotionals and prayers. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to live with the Torah for one year.

Claude F. Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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