Posts Tagged ‘divine authority’

Learning from History

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Lately I’ve been reading lots of Old Testament history. If you don’t get bogged down in the genealogies, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell a fascinating story of how God worked through events and people to make things happen. I’m still a little foggy about some stuff. I have questions like:  Exactly who did what and where? Which prophets and which kings are contemporaries? Was it Isaiah or Jeremiah or Haggai–or maybe all the above–who prophesied that Cyrus would jump-start the temple reconstruction? But the historical record answers two questions very clearly:

  • Who is in charge?
    I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens…who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers…I, the Lord, do all these things (Isa 44:24b, 45:7b)
  • For those of us who are not running things…what’s the smart thing for us to do?
    Listen to the One who is in charge. I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river…(Isa 48:17b, 18a).

The thing is, I already knew the answers to those questions.

The next thing is the problem; there are way too many things in my life–busy things, responsibility things, fun things, anything but God things–pushing that knowledge from the center of my heart to the edges of my mind.

But the important, mind-blowing, preconception-shattering thing is, God is faithful even when I am not. This is my prayer:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps 51:10). Give me a heart to love you without reservation and to love others–all others–as You love me.

After all, just as He directed the actions of kings, God can manage the things in my life. And that’s a good thing.

Deep Cover (Blessings in Disguise)

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

Sometimes we don’t recognize God’s goodness because He doesn’t work the way we think He should. Check out this offering of praise (posted with the author’s permission):

Thank you Lord for sheltering me when I was scared and alone.
You brought me through, not safely… no, quite the opposite!
You brought me through the dangerous passage and placed me in harm’s way
So that stubborn me would begin to grasp the magnitude of the work you were doing.

Just when I would try to retreat to safety in the belly of the ship,
You threw me up into the crows nest to see the gale first hand,
To feel the salt spray sting my wind burned face.
Just as I would begin to run a race,
You would cripple me so that I would have to crawl.

Lord, to those who have never known these blessings,
It must sound as though I am bitter,,, and that I have every right to be.
But, I know no other way that you could have taught me to relate
So intimately to the suffering of others.

I have been blessed to learn how to better be compassionate.

Sympathy, empathy, compassion,
How to eat crow.
If I had not suffered,
These things I wouldn’t know
– Mike Lanter

When the Lord says:

“Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve refined you, but not without fire. I’ve tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction. Out of myself, simply because of who I am, I do what I do.” (Isaiah 48:10,11a, The Message),

we can only respond, “Thank you, Lord!”

What else is there to say?