Monday, July 21, 2008

Reading the Word

The past few days, I've been reading my Bible a lot. For some reason, I keep going back to the book of Exodus; precisely, Chapters 14 & 15. I've also spent some time in Psalm 18.

What stood out to me was God's provision, protection, guidance, power, and God's answers to those who sought Him.

He's still that same God, even when the ones He is trying to help and show His love to act like idiots (me included). He's there to show us all of those things I listed above.

So, why do all of those things? Why answer our prayers? Why heal us? Why provide above and beyond what we could ever need? Well, the answer is stated over and over via those passages: For His glory. Meaning, God does what He does so that He's seen as He is...the end all, be all, great I AM. It is about showing us His love, but it is also about us, in turn, praising Him for all that He's done so that those who don't "get it," understand and are (hopefully) moved closer to God and a relationship with Him.

In Exodus 14, God uses Moses to part the Red Sea. When the Israelites were scared about the uncertain future they faced and the Egyptians on their tails, Moses reminded them in verses 13 and 14, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Wow! I imagine people giggle when I say that God keeps score and has my back. However, that God that provided a way out of Egypt is the same God that watches over my steps, today. And just like the Israelites and their angsty behavior, I get itchy and hyper. However, I need to be still and allow God to work things out in His timing, after all....His way is perfect. You wouldn't want to eat a half-baked cookie would you? Likewise, I don't want a half-baked blessing because I was impatient. That's not to say that waiting for what I pray for is easy. It is really hard. For example, I've wanted to come to Nashville for almost 16 years. In fact, I almost decided to finish college here. But, now is when God provided the way to spend an extended amount of time here. Why? I have no clue, but I am looking to see how He leads.

In Exodus 15, Moses spends about half of the chapter praising God for what He did in Chapter 14. Again, that goes back to why God does what He does. Would people put their trust in Him if He just kind of watched us through the eyes and heart of indifference? No. He also wouldn't receive the praise that causes people to reflect upon Him and His goodness.

The last half of Chapter 15 shows humans being humans: "Why are we here? Why did God lead us out of a comfort zone--no matter how bad--and give us less than what we had?" You know, the basic human propensity to whine and complain. However, they were reminded that if they stayed faithful to God and His laws, he would protect them and heal them (because that's what His laws were meant to do).

Psalm 18 was interesting to read. It was about God providing a battle victory. The writer of the psalm talks about being surrounded by all manner of evil and harm. As a result of his deliverance from that, he goes on to honor God and His presence in that situation. Verse 30 is worth noting: "As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust Him."

Again, we have areas that require trust and waiting.

Lately, I've been praying about some very specific things. Because I am who I am, I tend to develop a little anxiousness. The things I pray for mean a lot to me and are truly the desires of my heart. It is hard as a person who doesn't trust many people, to hand over the ownership to those things to God. However, if I want the desires of my heart, I have to give them over, allow God to do things in His time, so that He gets the credit and I am not saying, "Look what I did."

God is the same, never changes, and has more love and patience for us than can ever be imagined. At the same time, He also has the means and power to do anything we ask and to go beyond anything that we ask.

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