God's adaptability

God can use anyone.

God can use anyone.

2 Kings 12

This chapter recounts the tale of Joash—a king of Judah who did some very good things, such as rebuilding the temple, but apparently didn’t end up so well. His downfall started after the death of Jehoiada, the high priest: "Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there." (vs 2-3)

God knows what is needed.

God knows what is needed.

1 Kings 21

This chapter appalled me. More than once! I know I’ve read this chapter before, but it obviously didn’t make a lasting impression then. Today, it was as if I had read it for the first time. At first, I was appalled by Jezebel. She seemed to have absolutely NO problem forging her husband’s name and enlisting the help of false witnesses in order to engineer the death of an innocent man. Just when you thought you’d seen the depths of evil in Israel, that was a nasty surprise.

Name Game {ex6:3}

Photo © Unsplash/Kyle Glenn

Photo © Unsplash/Kyle Glenn

God revealed himself
to Moses
by a different name
than he had used
with Abraham
and Isaac
and Jacob.

An infinite God
with infinite names,
never failing
to manifest his presence
to the finite—
those who may resonate
for one reason or another
with a particular
moniker.

 

God makes friends out of enemies.

God makes friends out of enemies.

1 Kings 5

It must have been quite a privilege to work on building the temple of God. Many tens of thousands of Israelites were involved in the process, as well as some foreigners. This was the little tidbit that caught my eye: "So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we [Israelites] have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians." (vs 6)

God's arms are always open.

God's arms are always open.

RUTH 1

I have always loved the story of Ruth. To me, it is a great story of how God doesn’t harbor any prejudices. No matter where we have come from, no matter our background or family history, no matter our past life’s experience and choices, God’s arms are always open to us. He is eager and ready to receive us, and He is always working to woo us back to Him.

God is working out His plan, regardless of the circumstances.

God is working out His plan, regardless of the circumstances.

JUDGES 16

Samson, Samson. What can you say about this guy? He was so stupid. He was so blind—both figuratively and (later on) literally. He was singled out to be God’s leader in Israel, but he couldn’t seem to keep to his Nazirite vow. When he wasn’t marrying heathen women, he was sleeping with prostitutes. He did nearly everything wrong, including the big one—finally telling Delilah the secret of his strength. Why would he do that? Had he become so narcissistic that he believed his strength lay within himself and not in God?

God works with our misconceptions.

God works with our misconceptions.

JUDGES 12

Jephthah... what can you say about a guy like Jephthah? This was the man God used to win a decisive victory over the Ammonites and to lead Israel for six years. The Lord was definitely with him, but he was so... flawed. I mean, in the previous chapter, it seemed that Jephthah thought he would have an easier time securing the Lord’s favor if he "bribed" Him with a sacrifice—the first person who stepped out of the house on his return home. Unfortunately, that was Jephthah’s daughter. He paid dearly for that misconception of God.

God works with what He's got.

God works with what He's got.

JUDGES 5

In Judges 5, Deborah and Barak burst into song over their victory against King Jabin and Sisera. Tucked away into this rather interesting song is a rather interesting piece of information: some of the tribes of Israel ignored the call to go to war. Instead of aiding their Israelite brothers, they stayed home. "The rulers of Issachar came along with Deborah, and Issachar followed Barak into the valley. But the tribe of Reuben was no help at all! Reuben, why did you stay among your sheep pens? Was it to listen to shepherds whistling for their sheep? No one could figure out why Reuben wouldn’t come. The people of Gilead stayed across the Jordan. Why did the tribe of Dan remain on their ships and the tribe of Asher stay along the coast near the harbors?" (vs 15-17)

God has a lot of plans.

God has a lot of plans.

JOSHUA 15

One of my all-time favorite Bible verses has always been Jeremiah 29:11—"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I always thought that the "plans" meant a whole series of sequenced events, intended to make my life into a sweeping, glorious tapestry from start to finish. And perhaps that’s exactly what it means.

God plays the hand He is dealt.

God plays the hand He is dealt.

DEUTERONOMY 19

Blood feuds have been around for as long as there have been sinful human beings on this planet. According to the Wikipedia article on feuds, a blood feud is "a feud with a cycle of retaliatory violence, with the relatives of someone who has been killed or otherwise wronged or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing or otherwise physically punishing the culprits or their relatives."

God wants to be included.

God wants to be included.

LEVITICUS 17

Growing up, I attended a small, private school. Each class was small — no more than 15 to 20 students — and the majority of classmates remained together through school, all the way from Kindergarten to the senior year of high school. After nine weeks of first grade, someone decided that I knew enough to be advanced into second grade, and away I went. Entering second grade in the middle of the year wasn’t easy. I was the youngest kid in the class, and — what’s worse — my older brother was already there.

A Patient's Impatience {gn16}

Photo © Unsplash/Ricardo Viana

Photo © Unsplash/Ricardo Viana

Abram couldn't wait on God,
but listened to his wife,
who suggested a surrogate with a working womb,
and together, they foisted Plan B on the Almighty.

That's how Hagar became
the mistress of her mistress' husband,
and that never has a happy ending.
Hagar was destined for a rock and a hard place—
punishment if she refused,
punishment because she obeyed.

Hagar could stomach the morning sickness,
but she'd had it with the abuse
and ran away, determined to die in the desert
rather than spend one more day
as a pawn in a power play.

God could have let Plan B die right along with her
and the unsanctioned baby hiding inside.
Instead, he gave birth to Plan C,
and it's been hard labor ever since.

Abram couldn't wait on God,
but God has enough forbearance
to deal with all our impatient messes—
even if it takes an eternity to clean them up.

 

God is exceedingly flexible.

God is exceedingly flexible.

EXODUS 4

I could have titled this post: God kicks butt at Twister.

"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." That funny little proverb could describe God in this chapter of Exodus. He has come on a mission to enlist Moses — the man who became His great friend — to go down to Egypt and bring the Israelites out of slavery. However, it appears that Moses isn’t going to go without a fight.