"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"Do you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
Elizabeth Elliot said she willed herself to, "Just do the next thing"
almost daily after her missionary husband was speared to death in the jungles of Ecuador.
And as I look into the Word of Truth, starting from the very beginning of it all...reading through, to the right end of it all, I realise that these oft-used quotes speak to the heart of how I feel about working through the Old Testament one big book at a time. "Just read the next book," is often what I tell myself when reading is long and laborious and the list of names or tribes or laws seems to never end.
There are many, many parts of this God of the Old Testament, this very same God of the New, that I did not know. Parts I would like to close my American eyes to and pretend don't exist because I don't understand. And I don't understand for many reasons and really much of it is because I am not Jewish. I do not know the customs of old. I know what is in front of me. And that which is right in front of these deep brown eyes is often the exact opposite of what I would expect to see in God's word. Much of who I create God to be or what I expect of him is decided by my culture that I am in and not who he is in His own word. But my Lord Jesus was. He was Jewish. And if I say I want to know him, and to know his Father would it not be beneficial to read the whole thing and start with the Book of Beginnings?
When reading through, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe to the kids, would it not be silly to start when the ice starts to melt in Narnia? They truly wouldn't understand the entire book would they? Yes, they would get that Aslan is the king and maybe even get the part about him dying on the stone table, but what about the entire first half of the book? What happened then? That is exactly what I want. I want to try to see what is really inside this book I type so much about in this space because I say that I want to know the One who it's about.
There have even been moments of indignation and intense struggle because how I see a situation through my culture, my American world view makes me want to shout, "NOT FAIR!! You are NOT Fair God!" I told myself at the beginning that I didn't have to understand every detail, that I just wanted an overview of each book. And this? It's been a challenge greater than I imagined because I have been trained to ask why and sometimes there really is not a why to be answered for. And I serve a God whose promises are in abundance but does not promise an answer to all of my why questions. (see the book of Job) And really, is God not fair or is my view that limited? Is it God or is it me?
And the answers? They are usually simple aren't they? God is God. I am not. He is able to will and do as he sovereignly wants for His glory and the good of his people. (Romans 8:28) The depravity I see in these books has shaken me, though it is the exact depravity I see when I look at the news in the morning. We just call it a different name. We people have not changed since that Book of Beginnings and thankfully, neither has the LORD who saves. These people who continually turn to other gods of this world (not unlike ourselves and our gods we turn to though we may not carve them with our own hand) and God chooses to use them anyway. He is long-suffering and kind. He is mighty to save.
Israel was not a mighty nation and yet he chose to make a name for himself with this monty crew of a people group. No, because God does not use the mighty...he uses the base things of this world. (1 Cor. 1:27)
If God needed the mighty would he really be a God I want to serve?
Instead, He used an old man and gave him a promised child still after that same man managed to have a child his own way, a trickster with a manipulator of a mother, men who were not exceptional fathers, women who laugh in unbelief, a harlot with great faith, a girl who chose the hard life of going to places unknown to her because of a kind mother in law, judges, and kings who did not always obey.
To the extent that we are faithless....God, He is faithful.
And this is backwards isn't it? Our backwards God. Almost always doing the exact opposite of what we would expect. And I come away thankful that I am not God though I don't understand it all. I am thankful that my ways are not His. I would have chosen a far greater nation than Israel. And in the end, I would not have chosen myself. No, I would not have because I would not have been worth it, because I am not. Hard to swallow, I know this truth is.....
But this God? Isn't that what makes Him SO great? Isn't that why his love is SO fierce? Because he did choose Israel, and he does choose those who are not worth it.
And really, we all, no matter how good we think we are.....
are unworthy of such a love as this....
that is found in Christ.
How much greater a love to die for something or someone that is deemed unworthy than to die for something worthwhile!
And, so it is in the not understanding where I find understanding because of Who I know Jesus to be and what He has done for me...for us on the cross. This is the truth that yields to understanding. It is in this truth I find peace, hope and all joy!
My my life be a testimony of this....
801. reading, reading, reading
802. talking to my Love about what we are discovering together in this Word
803. an unexpected call: grace
804. soft toilet paper used for tissue
805. little feet
806. a smiling college student coming for a visit and a good conversation starter: blessing!
807. kids playing pirates/bank/hospital/ice cream game and a boy who is learning that time periods can intersect when pretending
808. learning that learning is not always easy for one girl
809. our first Upward game: humbling
810. boys that sit still the entire game
811. a husband who I know prays for me, for us....