God's plan

God's plans are paramount.

God's plans are paramount.

2 Chronicles 5

I heard this quip recently: Wanna hear God laugh? Tell Him your plans. I’ve heard that before, and it always makes me chuckle (although I do believe that God wants to hear what’s on our minds). But I think it’s true that we sometimes have our days and weeks planned out so intricately that we forget about God and the plans He has for us. And even if we remember, often we try to somehow fit His plans into the plans we already made for ourselves.

God is to be praised.

God is to be praised.

1 Chronicles 23

Of everything written in this chapter of 1 Chronicles, this stuck out to me the most: "[The Levites] were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals." (vs 30-31)

God is not exclusive.

God is not exclusive.

1 Chronicles 19

When reading through the Old Testament, it’s very easy to jump to the conclusion that God is an elitist, exclusive kinda guy. After all, it seems He chose a nation (Israel) for Himself, called them out of slavery, and worked very hard to try to give them everything He could. On such a cursory reading, it could be easy to conclude that God loved and protected Israel to the exclusion of all other nations.

Delegation Abdication? {ex18}

Photo © Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon

Photo © Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon

Exodus 18 has been
the jumping-off point
for many a sermon on delegating.
But I wonder if delegating
was what Moses was supposed to do.

He listened to his father-in-law,
but it doesn't say
whether he consulted God
on the newly-proposed
hierarchy.

On one hand,
Jethro's idea took a heavy burden
from Moses' shoulders
and broke it up into smaller
more easily-managed pieces.

On the other hand,
maybe God had intended
Moses to carry
the Israelite Cross.

On one hand,
the people could
get their disputes resolved
without having to practice
so much patience.

On the other hand,
the
plan
added
yet
another
layer
of
bureaucracy
between
the
people
and
the
God
who
had
longed
to
speak
with
them
face
to
face
as
a
man
speaks
to
his
friend.

Perhaps Moses did
the right thing.

But if he had been on
the sure path to
burnout,
why didn't the God
who was in the habit
of speaking with him every day
tell him so
Himself?

 

God cares about the process, not just the results.

1 Chronicles 15

After a few months, David went back to (once again) retrieve the Ark of the Covenant and bring it back to Jerusalem. This time, however, he had a different method in mind: "Then David summoned... the priests... and the Levites. He said to them, 'You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.' So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord." (vs 11-15)

Photo © Unsplash/Jungwoo Hong

Photo © Unsplash/Jungwoo Hong

To me, this signaled that God cares about how we do things, not just that we do them. It wasn’t just a matter of bringing the Ark back from Philistine exile, but it was important to be done in the right way. God had given specific instructions about how the Ark was to be handled, in order to preserve the respect and awe of being in God’s presence. It was important that this process was followed—so the Israelites would be more inclined to take God seriously, especially after they had ignored Him for so many years!

Sometimes, the process is just as important to God as the results. He’s not just out to get to any end at any means. How things are done matter to Him. For that reason, just as David learned, they should matter to us, too!

Photo © Unsplash/Suzanne D. Williams

Photo © Unsplash/Suzanne D. Williams

God knows everything.

God knows everything.

2 Kings 23

One of the things about God that confounds me is how He can know the future yet leave us free to make choices. This is a subject I’ve gone back and forth on in the past, and I still don’t feel "settled" into a position (and I may never). On the one hand, it is very clear that God knows specific details about the future, including people and events. On the other hand, the Bible is also clear that God gives us freedom to make choices, and I sympathize with people who argue that if a choice is made freely, how can it be known ahead of time?

God delivers the impossible.

God delivers the impossible.

2 Kings 19

Well, this is certainly a drama-filled chapter in the Bible! Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, has gone around the region, conquering everyone and everything in sight (including Israel!), and now, he was sitting on Jerusalem’s doorstep with 185,000 soldiers, ready to capture Judah as well.

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's promises stand up to evil.

God's promises stand up to evil.

2 Kings 11

After King Ahaziah of Judah was killed, his mother Athaliah went nuts: "When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family." (vs 1) Can you imagine this? A grandmother setting out to kill all of her grandchildren? The children of Ahaziah were heirs to the throne, but apparently, Athaliah decided that she should sit on the throne. And she did. She became the only queen of Judah.

God doesn't restrict His representatives' freedom.

God doesn't restrict His representatives' freedom.

2 Kings 10

The new king of the Northern Kingdom, Jehu, had been specifically commissioned by God for a special purpose: "You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel." (2 Kings 9:7) And, as we saw in the last chapter, Jehu set out to do his job with zeal.

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.

God is going to sort things out.

God is going to sort things out.

Poor David. Fleeing from Jerusalem, rumors flying around him, and now, being abused by a man from Saul’s family. Not only was the man cursing David, but he was throwing stones and dirt at him and his troops as well. Finally, one of David’s men asked if he could go over and cut the guy’s head off. (What a nonchalant request.) David’s reply was very interesting:

God corrects us.

God corrects us.

2 SAMUEL 7

This is one of my favorite little stories in the Bible. David, in a moment of stricken conscience, decides that he wants to build a proper temple for the Lord he loves so much. What a noble thought, right? Who could object?! But, instead of rushing ahead, he summons Nathan, the prophet, to tell him of his plan.

God is visible.

God is visible.

1 SAMUEL 29

Here’s what I liked about this chapter: Just because we screw it up doesn’t mean that God’s plans have failed. I believe David was in the wrong place doing the wrong things in the events that led up to this chapter. It would seem that he hadn’t consulted the Lord about fleeing to the land of the Philistines and that he was living there out of fear, not because he knew that was part of God’s plan for his life.

God uses imperfect people.

God uses imperfect people.

1 SAMUEL 27

Are you imperfect? Great! You’re a prime candidate to be used by God! He loves to recruit and use imperfect people in His unfolding plan for this Earth. Well, okay, I guess He really doesn’t have much of a choice. If He wants to use humans, He will have to settle for imperfect ones. But I suppose He could have chosen to do things without us... or made us so we couldn’t screw up in the first place (i.e. without freedom). I’m glad God chose to do it the way He did.

God will take care of us.

God will take care of us.

1 SAMUEL 26

David was God’s anointed man for king. The problem? There was already another man in that position. The "logical" thing for David to do would have been to figure out how to get Saul off the throne. After all, as long as Saul was still king, David couldn’t assume his rightful position as God’s anointed. And I wonder what thoughts and emotions must have run through David’s mind as the saga with Saul dragged on and on and on.

That Moment {gn42:6}

Photo © Unsplash/Randy Fath

Photo © Unsplash/Randy Fath

I wonder what it's like—
that moment when you realize
the dreams you dreamed
so many years ago
are materializing
in front of you
in broad daylight.

I wonder what it's like—
the very next moment
when you realize
that you're right where
God planned for you to be
so many years before

and that everything
   the dreams
   the slavery
   the allegations
   the imprisonment
   the abandonment
   the lonely nights
   the wondering
all of it
was part of the plan
to bring you to the time and place
where you would save the world.

That moment,
as the ten sheaves
are bowing down,
would it not
drive you to your knees?