instruction

God uses adversity to educate us.

God uses adversity to educate us.

2 Chronicles 12

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the idea we have that our lives here on Earth should be easy and relatively painless. We must have this idea buried deep somewhere in our minds, for it seems that when any of us face adversity or crisis, we react with shock. How could this happen to me? Next, we focus our energies on how to get out of the unpleasant situation.

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 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 helps us fight.

God helps us fight.

JUDGES 1

The first chapter of the book of Judges chronicles more of the war conquests of Israel. And as I read the various accounts, I thought about how God helps us fight. Of course, these were accounts of actual fighting, and we may not find ourselves out on the battlefield, but God helps us fight in other areas of our lives. When we need spiritual help, God fights for us. When we need emotional help, God fights for us. And whenever we align ourselves with God’s will, He helps us fight... and we always win.

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 likes it when we consult Him.

God likes it when we consult Him.

JOSHUA 16

Did you think the lottery was a modern invention? Well, it isn’t. At least not according to the Bible. It dawned on me today, as I was reading Joshua 16, that the parcels of land in Canaan were being doled out to the various tribes via a lottery (or, the casting of lots). It seems that the Israelites did this quite a bit, and it was a practice still in use when the Roman soldiers famously cast lots for Jesus’ clothing as He hung on the cross.

God chooses the best of the worst.

God chooses the best of the worst.

JOSHUA 11

Choosing the best of the worst. Almost sounds like going to the polls sometimes. However, when it comes to choosing the best of the worst, God wasn’t voting; He was simply trying to maintain contact with the human race. Sometimes, I’m not even sure how He accomplished that. As I continue to read through the Old Testament, I’m awestruck at the large numbers of people who just don’t get it.

God values human life.

God values human life.

DEUTERONOMY 21

At first blush, this may seem like a strange chapter on which to affix a title like God values human life. After all, it references things such as murder, stoning, hanging, and captivity. Yet, beneath the discussion — like a strong undercurrent — I see a God who is trying to instill in His people a fundamental respect for life. Let’s take a quick peek at each section:

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 is all about freedom.

God is all about freedom.

LEVITICUS 25

There is something really beautiful in this chapter of Leviticus: "Even if [an Israelite slave] is not redeemed in any of these ways, he and his children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." (vs 54-55)