January 17, 2011

Bible in 90 ~ Week 2 ~ So You Would Know

This is a "hard" week of reading.  It's not full of uplifting stories or entertaining ones, for that matter.  But it's full of God, and that makes it enough.

This week was Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  I have to say, reading them all in quick succession like this is much more enjoyable than being bogged down in them for a whole month or more.  And I was able to see things in the big picture rather than in just some isolated chapters (which has made them disconnected for me in the past).  God did a lot of hard things in these chapters.  He chose to harden hearts.  He chose to give consequences as a result of disobedience... and stuck to His guns.  He led them into hardship on purpose.  And He gave them a long list of commands to follow.  

And as I was pondering it all I read this:
Indeed, ask about the earlier days that preceded you, from the day God created man on the earth and from one end of the heavens to the other: Has anything like this great event ever happened, or has anything like it been heard of? Has a people ever heard God's voice speaking from the fire as you have, and lived? Or has a god ever attempted to go and take a nation as his own out of another nation, by trials, signs, wonders, and war, by a strong hand and an outstretched arm, by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? You were shown these things so that you would know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides Him. He let you hear His voice from heaven to instruct you. He showed you His great fire on earth, and you heard His words from the fire. Because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants after them and brought you out of Egypt by His presence and great power, to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you in and give you their land as an inheritance, as is now taking place. Today, recognize and keep in mind that the LORD is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other. Keep His statutes and commands, which I am giving you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper and so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time."  Deuteronomy 4:32-40, HCSB

And then I saw grace in Deuteronomy 9:6. 
"You are not going to take possession of their land because of your righteousness or your integrity. Instead, the LORD your God will drive out these nations before you because of their wickedness, in order to keep the promise He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."  

God has a heart for us to be near to Him and living in obedience to Him.  In these chapters He does promise severe consequences for not following His commands, and I had this thought (though I don't know if it holds any theological water) and wonder if I've been off base for the 30 years I've been learning about the Old Testament.  I'd love know what you think.  The "commands" all throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy and Numbers were laws, but they were also sacrifices.  The sacrifices were because He knew His people were going to sin and if I remember right He always promises a way back to Him through those sacrifices.  So maybe it wasn't really 100% compliance with the laws that He was looking for (because He knew better), but a right heart ready to sacrifice what they could to bring glory to His name after they sinned.  The laws displayed their lack of perfection quite well, but the sacrifice was always an opportunity to give Him what was rightfully His... their acknowledgement that He. was. God.  So in the long run, it's Grace that He displayed... the undeserved opportunity to run back to Him.

And I loved the way God showed obvious affection for Moses here when Miriam and Aaron were grumbling in jealousy about Moses being more respected than they were.  

"Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, "You three come out to the tent of meeting." So the three of them went out. Then the LORD descended in a pillar of cloud, stood at the entrance to the tent, and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them came forward,  He said: "Listen to what I say: If there is a prophet among you from the LORD, I make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My household.  I speak with him directly, openly, and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD
So why were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?" 9 The LORD's anger burned against them, and He left."    Numbers 12:1-9

That just makes me smile.  :)  God loved His boy, Moses.

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