Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hi, my name is Marshall, and I am a recovering Israelite

I've been reading through the Old Testament (am in Deuteronomy right now) and have really enjoyed watching God work to call and save the Israelites as His people, preparing the way for the nations to know Him. But, like most people who read the Israelites' story, I get a bit frustrated with them when they go off course. God makes some unbelievable promises to them, (things like they will always have abundance, they will always be healthy, their children will be healthy and happy, they won't have to fear any other nation), and their only job is to listen to His words and obey His laws. And really, as I have read the laws thus far, they don't seem that complicated to me. Sure, there are some sacrifices and feasts that can be sort of tricky, but the priests were there to help you navigate them. Jesus summed up all of the laws as love God and love your neighbor. And the Lord tells them that He loves them, that the laws are for their good, and that they are His treasured possession. Their response? Worship and thanks for a short period of time, and then, inevitably, they begin to do things their way. God's way isn't fast enough or good enough or certain enough, so they rely on their own intuition and logic and generally make a big mess of things.

Well, it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback and pick apart the Israelites, but when it all comes down to it, my heart is not far from theirs at times. Take my whining yesterday about the whole magnet school thing. Because I did not get what I wanted when I wanted it, I immediately thought that God was a) against me b) didn't like me c) wasn't taking good care of me and my family d) insert favorite lie here. And so I decided to be angry.

But the Lord has given me every good thing in Christ. I have provision upon provision, from spiritual provision in Christ (His very life and adoption to Sonship) to provision of wonderful family and friends. My family and I have all that we need and most of what we want materially (not sure that having so many wants is a good thing, but that's for another post), and my children are happy, healthy, and loving kids. I get to go to work every day with people that I love at a job that I enjoy, and I come home to a loving wife and a wonderful house. Surely my God has been good to me in all things, yet like the Israelites, I want my own way.

The way out of this? It's to remember. Remember who I am in Christ. Remember who God is and what He says to me about His love. Remember that in all things God is working to reveal Christ in me and to show others His love. Remember that God is God, and I am not. Time again in the Old Testament, God calls His people to remember, and when they do, they have a right response of worship and obedience. That is what I want, day by day.


Chris Lewis said...
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Chris Lewis said...

Enjoy your blog, my friend. Battling alongside of you to continuously remember . . .