“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” Ephesians 3:20 (NLT).
Math was always a subject I struggled with during my school-aged years. In High School I had tutoring, and even with the extra help I received, I still struggled and found it hard to earn any letter grade higher than a “C” on my report card. My Math instructor could repeat the method to solve a specific problem over and over to me, yet I still struggled with the concepts and with it all making sense in my mind.
Give me a paper to write, though and typically I can have a good first draft written in a few short hours. For some reason, the ability to convey my thoughts and ideas into words on a page comes so easily to me. It’s not that it is effortless, however; I do have to really understand my material – what it is that I am writing about.
In studying chapters 21 through 25 in the Book of Deuteronomy, God lays out many rules and principles for His people to follow. They are numerous and cover a wide variety of topics, such as: the rights of firstborn and rebellious sons; regulations on sexual purity; rules on how to live among the various camps that had been established; regulations on divorce; and also additional instructions on living in a dignified and honest manner.
Reading through these chapters, I found myself feeling both confused and overwhelmed with all of the specific and detailed guidelines that God lays out for His people. When I get to passages like these, it is easy for me to be tempted to just close my Bible and stop reading. Having not lived during Old Testament times, it is hard to relate to certain rituals and practices that were so common at that time.
To give a specific example, in Chapter 22, God gives His instruction on dealing with a rebellious son. He says, “Suppose a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. In such case, the father and mother must take the son to the elders as they hold court at the town gate. The parents must say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all of the men of his town must stone him to death. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid” Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NLT).
Whoa! Now, I could name a few guys back in my college days who I could have described as “stubborn,” “rebellious” and “drunkards.” But, not once would I have considered them to have been deserving of being stoned to death! A passage like this, stops me, confounds me and makes me question what it is that God is trying to tell me. When this occurs, I need to stop and remind myself to trust in God and know that I don’t have all of the answers.
In the Old Testament, there are numerous examples of God trying to establish his rules and instructions for the Israelites to follow. Yet, time and time again His people disobey and disregard His authority. A key phrase in the above-referenced verse from Deuteronomy is “be afraid.” Throughout the Old Testament, God warns His people, through Moses, to be wary of the consequences for not following His instruction. An example is when God forbids Moses and Aaron from entering the Promised Land in the Book of Numbers, “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!’” Numbers 20:12 (NLT).
God clearly shows us here that lack of obedience can, in turn, cause extreme consequences. We may ask ourselves why God allows certain things to happen or we may question His intentions; however, God also tells us of the importance in trusting His plans for us.
Navigating through God’s Word can be a lot like a solving a Math equation. It may take weeks, even months, to figure out the answer. However, unlike on a Math exam, God does not expect us to get the answer right. God reveals to us only what he wants to. “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions” Deuteronomy 29:29 (NLT).
Knowing this, I can feel at ease when I am reading God’s Word and stumble across a passage that I do not understand or have a hard time interpreting. It doesn’t always have to make sense. I can trust that God will reveal to me what he wants me to learn. It takes trust on my part. I am fortunate to have a God that will take care of the rest.
Father God, thank You for the amazing ways Your Word teaches us to fear You and trust that You will not fail us. Help me to remember that Your plans for me are for good and not disaster. It is your never-ending faith and love for me that should always be forefront in my mind. Please help me to continually seek Your will first in my life. Thank you for the gift of Your Most Precious Son, Jesus and all that He has done in His sacrifice for us. Amen.
A note to my readers: As many of you may have noticed, I have been posting less blog entries lately. That is due to the fact that I am working on writing my first book! I still plan on keeping up my blog, but will probably post once a month instead of weekly. My time in the Word has not changed. I still am reading one Chapter of the Bible each week. I plan to continue writing on how God’s Word speaks to me in my life. Thank you to all who take the time to read my blog entries and I hope they inspire you as much as the Word has inspired me!