God's plan

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?

 

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?

Premeditated Dreams {gn37}

Photo © biblevector.com

Photo © biblevector.com

Oh, the dreams! The bowing down!
The humbled faces on the ground!
A jealous sibling's lightning rod
(those dreams) but they had come from God!

He knew the visions would be told;
He knew that Joseph would be sold;
He saw a famine on the way
and hatched a plan to save the day.

Egypt thought they'd bought a mule,
but Joseph had been sent to rule.

Joseph's God is your God, too.
He has a future planned for you:
Never doubt it's bright and beaming—
What new dreams have you been dreaming?

 

Sonnet: A poem consisting of 14 lines with a particular rhyming scheme.

God's ideas are best.

God's ideas are best.

JOSHUA 17

Ah, now the failures of Israel are coming back to bite them. By turns, before going into the Promised Land, the Lord told the Israelites that they should not make any treaties with the people living there, but that they should be completely driven out. First, God promised to drive them out Himself. When the Israelites didn’t want to go along with that (but instead wanted to fight), God told them they must destroy the nations they conquered.

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 is not nationalistic.

God is not nationalistic.

DEUTERONOMY 7

Wow, this is a pretty heavy chapter. God lays out for the Israelites the plan to take over Canaan. There is talk of both destruction and driving nations out ahead of the Israelites with "the hornet." (vs 20)  God does say that, when the Israelites have defeated a nation, they are to destroy everything associated with that nation's gods. "This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire." (vs 5)

God wants our attention.

God wants our attention.

DEUTERONOMY 2

In this chapter of Deuteronomy, the Lord said to the Israelites, "This very day, I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you." (vs 25) This immediately made me think of the Israelites themselves when they were camped around the base of Mount Sinai. There was thunder and lightning and smoke, and the Israelites were trembling and afraid.