When I first came to Virginia I had a lot of ideas as to what God’s immediate plans for me might be. As usual, things are not looking the way I thought they would—at least not yet. Instead of spending most of my time connecting with people, I have spent most of my days reading my Bible in my room.
A couple of years ago, when the Lord first told me to read the Bible cover to cover, I thought I would faint. Through the years I had read all of it; just not all in the same block of time. Many times, I had sat down to the table and feasted on hearty meals of entire sections, but mostly I had just eaten bite-sized portions. So in 2015, when I finished feasting on the whole book in less than a month, I felt as if I had accomplished quite a feat. I had eaten the whole thing and was full of fresh revelation.
Shortly after my arrival in June of this year, the Lord told me to read the entire Bible again, but this time I was to read it out loud and write notes. Whenever I ask God, “What do you want me to do?” He just keeps telling me to finish reading the Bible. So, once again, I am feasting on the Word.
Last night, I finished the Old Testament. I love to read about how God showed up in extraordinary ways in the ordinary lives of people long ago! Often, their stories become part of my own as I am encouraged to trust the Lord in all things and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). I figure if God parted seas and placed orphans in royal positions, for such a time as this, He can remove any obstacles in my way and position me wherever He needs me to be at this time.
As the history of the Bible unfolds, so does the heart of God toward His people. His invitations for fellowship are often ignored, and nations became so corrupt that parents were even sacrificing their children. They had to either repent or face destruction. Over and over again, God speaks warnings through the prophets, telling the people to repent, but He also makes it clear that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He just wants them to turn from their wicked ways So they can live (Ezekiel 33:11).
This past week as I read all the accounts of the prophets, I often felt as if I were eating Brussels sprouts. I hate Brussels sprouts! Even though some of the other stuff on the prophetic plate is inviting, mainly the promises and fulfillment of restoration, I have a hard time stomaching the wrath of God that was poured out on the nations. Sin was rampant and had to be punished. God was Holy and had to cleanse sin. The message I kept hearing through the pages was clear: I created you. I know what is best. I want a relationship with you. I gave you laws to live by, and the evil things you are doing to yourselves and others are breaking my heart. I have to deal with your sin to get to your heart.
Over and over again, when God warns the nations, He says someone has to pay for the sins. The warnings and fulfillment of destruction that was prophesied to the nations was ugly. But sin is ugly. That is why Jesus had to come.
Thankfully, in the midst of the plateful of undesirable things to eat, there are sprinkles of sugary treats—promises of One (the Messiah) who would pay for the cost of sin once and for all.
Tomorrow I will be starting on my dessert plate. I am more than ready to quit chewing on Brussel sprouts. Just give me Jesus!!! I love to read about the life and the heart of my wonderful Lord and Savior, whom bled and died for us all. Instead of reading about captivity and destruction for the punishment of sins, I get to relish each bite of the freedom for captives and the ransom that was paid for our sins.
Yes! Matthew, here I come! No more Old Covenant. The New Covenant is revealed. Just give me Jesus! And when I am through feasting on His love, His heart, His Words, His sacrifice, His redemption, and His promises, I can once again sit back and say, “What a wonderful meal! I am so thankful that I ate the whole thing!”
May you be abundantly blessed!
John 3:16-17 “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (NKJV).