October 2, 2009

Hot N Cold

I'm not even 1/4 of the way through the Old Testament, and it's breaking my heart.

When Joshua is reaching the end of his life, he calls the leaders of Israel and gives them final instructions/encouragement:

"Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left . . . you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now . . . The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God . . . you know with all your heart and soul that not one of the good promises of the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed."
-Joshua 23:6,8-10,14

And yet, a generation or two later, they proceed to forget . . .

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel . . .

. . . After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist . . .

Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the Lord's commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
-Judges 2:6-7,10-14,16-19

Only this far in the Old Testament, I've seen story after story of God's people rebelling and rejecting Him, only for Him to have compassion on them and deliver them from whatever circumstances they have managed to get into. It brings me to tears to see this . . . and then I realize that I am just like the Israelites.

Time after time, people are driving themselves into destruction and the Lord is rescuing them, proving His love for them. And yet . . . what do we do? Spit in His face and turn to our own, short-sighted ways.

I don't get it. I keep on asking "why?" Why does God do this? Why is he so patient, forgiving and compassionate? It's like a tragic story of unrequited love - between a Creator and His creation.

He spoke everything into existence. He didn't just create our world and mankind, He created solar systems, galaxies and far more than we can even see or imagine. He could have vaporized our planet and started fresh, perhaps with a less rebellious race . . . and yet, He doesn't. He keeps calling us back to Himself, displaying His love over and over.

Out of all the universe . . . He chooses to dote His affections on a miniscule planet called Earth and the most stubborn, idiotic and rebellious of all creatures.

I don't think I'm ever going to get it . . . but that makes grace all the more amazing - the fact that I can't wrap my little brain around it. That's both humbling and comforting.

After all, He does say:

"my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." [Isaiah 55:8-9]

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Sarah. I just finished watching the first Narnia movie with my sisters -- I love the allegory it is for Christ. How Aslan, the great king of the whole land, quietly goes off to sacrifice himself in place of Edmund, who not only betrayed his own family, but betrayed everyone fighting for good in Narnia. It made no sense to anyone because Edmund obviously didn't deserve it, but Susan pointed out that "he must have known what he was doing." We're pretty lucky to have a Savior like that.


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