Thursday, March 28, 2019 -
I am having the amazing privilege of reading quickly through the Old Testament. I love the Old Testament. And reading it straight through helps me remember things I shouldn’t forget, as well as overall themes I’d miss when reading just a chapter or two a day. I’ve been trying now to consistently read 10-15 chapters a morning.
So the big question is what am I learning about God’s character? How is what I am reading pointing to the coming Messiah? And what does God expect of His people, especially those to whom He appoints in leadership positions?
There is a whole lot to be said about God’s character. For one, He loves His people. He rewards those who are righteous, who “walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all their heart” (II Kings 10:31), and especially expects it of those in leadership. And He punishes those who disobey, who do evil in the sight of the Lord, and who go after other gods. This goes even for the heathen nations, not just the Jews.
God is also a God of mercy and grace, and we see this time and time again. He knows our hearts, and so chooses to provide second chances when we fail. And He listens to our pleading.
Yet He absolutely hates outright disobedience. When he says, “Speak to the rock,” He doesn’t mean strike the rock even though that’s what He told you the first time. There are consequences for disobedience.
God wants us to inquire of Him for everything, not assume! He wants us to pay attention! Pay attention to details.
God is also a God of miracles! Over, and over, and over again, God shows His power, authority, and sovereignty in miracles big and small. Sometimes it is for the whole nation, sometimes for maybe just one, two, or three individuals. Nothing is too small or seemingly irrelevant in asking God to intervene. When the prophets were building their residences, cutting down trees at the Jordan River to be used as beams for their homes, one of them lost a borrowed axe head in the middle of the river. Not a big deal, but the man had borrowed it and was therefore concerned. Elisha threw a stick out into the approximate place where the axe head was submerged, and up it floated! I’m sure you can point to little miracles in your life. I remember once, driving up to my mother-in-law’s home in Alabama, the rain was so bad coming through Tennessee I could barely make out the highway. William, four years old at the time, said, “Why don’t we pray?” William prayed, and instantly the rain stopped on our side of the highway, while it continued in torrent on the northbound side. We knew it to be a miraculous answer to prayer!
The bottom line, God hates rebellion. He expects us to take responsibility when we sin and disobey, not pass the blame. And He expects us to trust Him completely, and not grumble when things don’t go our way. Yes, we can bug Him about things, like, “Please, Heavenly Father, vindicate me and release me from this prison.” But I also know at the same time I trust God, for He has a purpose even for my hardships and troubles. He is mighty, He is all-knowing, He has a plan, and He loves righteousness and hates idolatry.
Thank God, since each one of us falls so short, that He sent His Son Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sin so that we might be washed white as snow (Psalms 51:7). Praise God He provided a way out of my sinful life and left me with the Holy Spirit to fill me and enable me to walk in His presence and purpose!