growth

God is looking for willingness.

God is looking for willingness.

1 Kings 15

There is a lot of controversy in Christian circles over the issue of obedience to the law, sanctification, perfection, etc. Some people say that perfect obedience to God’s law is required for salvation. Others say that the law was nailed to the cross with Jesus, so there is no law to keep. Still others say that Jesus kept the law perfectly so we wouldn’t have to. He keeps it for us. To be blunt, I think they’re all wrong.

God disciplines because He loves.

God disciplines because He loves.

1 Kings 9

This is, I’m sure, a recurring theme we will encounter as we continue our journey through the Old Testament: God disciplines the ones He loves. And His discipline always carries a redemptive component (otherwise there’s no point to it). But often, I find that it’s God’s discipline that garners Him the most criticism. People tend to look at His "threats" of discipline in the Old Testament as something punitive, harsh, and retributive. And that’s how God gets a bad rap.

God doesn't coddle His difficult children.

God doesn't coddle His difficult children.

1 Kings 1

Several years ago, I did some substitute teaching at a local school. Boy, had it been a long time since I was in elementary! It seemed that some things have certainly changed. The first day I subbed, I noticed that two children in the classroom were carrying what I can only describe as little, wireless keyboards. At the top was a small digital row where they could see what they were typing. When they were finished, they would print out what they had typed on a printer in the hallway. They would go to the printer, retrieve their assignment, and return to the classroom to hand it in.

God deals with us according to our righteousness.

God deals with us according to our righteousness.

2 SAMUEL 22

In this song of praise from David, there was an interesting little line that jumped out at me: "The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me." (vs 21) Doesn’t this seem totally contrary to what we always profess? We normally say that God doesn’t treat us according to our unrighteousness. That’s what we understand grace to be.

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 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 is a character builder.

God is a character builder.

1 SAMUEL 25

Some people build skyscrapers. Some people build empires. God builds character.

What jumped out to me in this chapter was David’s near-reversal of behavior from the previous chapter. In 1 Samuel 24, David had a chance to kill Saul—someone who was an avowed enemy—and he didn’t do it. He showed incredible maturity and restraint, even trying to reason with Saul about things.