individuality

God is a team leader.

God is a team leader.

Nehemiah 3

Several times in our journey so far through the Old Testament, we have witnessed God’s love of community. Since love is relational, it is always seeking community. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that the type of community God wants is only found in the mutual unity of a group of individuals. (These days, when some think of community, they tend to think of a community as a single organism that is more important than an individual. But true community begins with the individual.)

God works with small groups.

God works with small groups.

Ezra 1

The book of Ezra begins with the decree, made by Cyrus king of Persia in 538 B.C., that gave the Jewish exiles the right to finally return home to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of the Lord. (Here’s an interesting side note to that story. Many scholars believe that Daniel was instrumental in stirring the heart of the king by sharing with him the prophecies in Jeremiah 25 and 29 regarding the return of the exiles from Babylon. Incidentally, these prophecies mention King Cyrus of Persia by name—even though they were written 150 years before his birth.)

God needs you.

God needs you.

2 Chronicles 17

One thing I noted about this chapter was the number of devoted people who were in Judah at the time. King Jehoshaphat was, of course, devoted to the Lord. The text points out that he even "removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah." (vs 6) Then there were the Levites who traveled through the nation, teaching the people about God from the Book of the Law. And then, toward the end of the chapter, there was mention of all the fighting men who surrounded the king, including "Amasiah son of Zikri, who volunteered himself for the service of the Lord." (vs 16)

God deals with us individually.

God deals with us individually.

2 Chronicles 6

Today’s thought is a simple one and uses these verses as a jumping-off place: "Forgive, and deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart), so that they will fear you and walk in obedience to you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors." (vs 30-31)

God gives specific gifts to specific people.

God gives specific gifts to specific people.

1 Chronicles 27

To me, there is a troubling trend in modern Western society. I see it happening in schools with children, as well as in the general workplace with adults. I’m not sure what has caused this trend to appear in our culture. Perhaps it has its roots in the feminist movement or the civil rights movement. Regardless of where it came from, however, the trend has become that everybody must be seen and considered as equal in most every way.

God's kingdom is made up of individuals.

God's kingdom is made up of individuals.

1 Chronicles 12

In this chapter, we are given more details about David’s ascent to the throne and his inaugural celebration. Verses 23-37 provide a list of all the warriors from the twelve tribes of Israel who made their way to Hebron to show their support for David’s anointing and recognize him as their new king.

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 sees you as more than a number.

God sees you as more than a number.

2 SAMUEL 24

Perhaps the same question that went through my mind also went through yours as you read this chapter: Why did the Lord get so angry over a census? Clearly, not only was God not pleased with what David had done, but David himself recognized that he had done a bad thing once it was over: "David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.'" (vs 10)

God wants a moment with you.

God wants a moment with you.

2 SAMUEL 23

Friends, applaud. The comedy is finished. —Ludwig van Beethoven

Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight. —Lord George Byron

Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal? —King Louis XIV

I’m bored with it all. —Winston Churchill

I have tried so hard to do the right. —President Grover Cleveland

All my possessions for a moment of time. —Queen Elizabeth I

Oh, do not cry. Be good children, and we will all meet in heaven. —President Andrew Jackson

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do. —Oscar Wilde

These statements are all the famous last words of the person who uttered them. You might find some of them surprising. I certainly did. I thought Queen Elizabeth’s utterance was especially insightful. When you come right down to it, you can’t take anything with you. And depending on how you’ve lived and where you’re at in life, you might give everything you have for more time.

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 saves individuals.

God saves individuals.

JUDGES 9

Have you ever heard of collective salvation? It is how some people believe the human race is saved—not individually, but collectively; not personally, but as a community. If one is lost, all are lost. If one is saved, all are saved. I suppose it’s a nice idea, but I think it would be hard to make the case that God looks at us as one, big communal organism and not as individuals. Certainly, He wants everyone to be saved, but He’s not the only one who gets a say.

God has no grandchildren.

God has no grandchildren.

JUDGES 2

This text shocked me: "After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." (vs 10)  What?! God finally had a generation of Israelites that He could take into the Promised Land.... and it only took one generation to unravel it all. Unbelievable.

God is the only cure for conformity.

God is the only cure for conformity.

LEVITICUS 20

There is a clear connection between wandering away from God and losing your individuality: "You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, 'You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.' I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations." (vs 23-24)

God is a God of individuals.

God is a God of individuals.

GENESIS 6

So... the infamous story of the flood. This is usually one of the Bible stories that is known by most everyone—even if they've never read a Bible. But I was struck again by the description of how incredibly corrupt all of life on earth had become. Verse 5 of the Message Bible puts it this way: "God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night."