Friday, December 4, 2009

Things I Am Learning

I have been reading through the Old Testament for the last few months. I have never before really read the Old Testament. I have read bits and parts: the books of Genesis, Ruth and Esther, parts of Daniel and Isaiah. But never the whole thing beginning to end.

So I started in August with the goal of getting through the Old Testament in one year. I know, that doesn't sound very ambitious as there are people who read the whole Bible in one year. But I figured that the Old Testament was a lot of tedious stuff, like laws and genealogies, that would take me longer to get through.

I am now into the Book of Judges and I am amazed at how much God has been showing me through these "tedious" scriptures. (I know, I know, I shouldn't be amazed, but I am...) Starting with how exact God is. Reading through the scriptures regarding how the offering of sacrifices, building of the temple, and making of the ark (just for starters) are extremely specific. God had a standard that He expected all His people to follow. And He still does!

This realization has caused me to reflect on how well I am meeting His standard and expectations. And, well, I am not so close to "perfection" as I once thought. God doesn't accept, "good enough". He wants it done right, the first time and the way He says it should be done. (Words I have often said to my kids! "Do it right, the first time, when I say it!") And ignorance doesn't get you off the hook either! There are consequences for sin even if you unintentionally committed it! (Lev. 4:22,27) This has increased my understanding of how much God hates sin and how thankful I am to have a God who forgives me of that sin through His son's death on the cross.

Another thing I have come to realize is how I try to bend God's will to my way of thinking instead of making my will bend to God's. In Numbers 22 -24 is the story of Balak (the king of Moab) and Balaam (a prophet). Balak did not like the Israelites and wanted Balaam to seek God's curse upon them. Balak sent for Balaam to set up an altar and petition God for a curse on Israel. When God gave Balaam a blessing for the Israelites, Balak had Balaam change how he approached God and try again. Three times Balaam changed his approach and three times God pronounced blessings on Israel. Why do I think that if I do "thus and so" God will see it my way? I have always warned my girls of the "magical thinking" mentality that is so prevalant these days in "modern" christianity, and now I see that I am just as guilty of it on a more subtle level.

I am looking forward to what God has for me in the rest of the Old Testament, and who knows, maybe I'll finish in less than a year!
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