I am probably slow to the party, but I discovered over the summer that YouVersion had Bible reading plans. They can also be audible, so I can stick my earbuds in my ears, get the Bible in my ears and still do the dishes, run (never mind, I don’t run), fold the laundry, while I’m driving or put it on the Bluetooth in the kitchen for all to listen.
I started doing a lengthy plan back in the fall that is 200+ days and I rarely do anything for 200+ days except to shower, and I wanted the Word in my brain. Currently, I’m several days behind, but I’ll catch up.
Several weeks ago, I was listening to Joshua and Judges, and honestly, I had a really hard time. There is so much destruction. So much war. So much blood. So. Much. Sin. And as I listened, I kept thinking, “I serve a God who loves, who is good, who is sovereign, who is gracious and who is kind. The God described in these two books is a God of violence and brokenness and judgment. ” I could not wrap my head around it. I was caught in very uncomfortable tension.
I do believe that God is a God of judgment. I also believe that he is full of lovingkindness. I believe that he is a God to be feared. I also believe that he is full of mercy. So listening to Joshua and Judges, which are books with an MA rating were difficult, to say the least.
I began to think about how these two books (and many parts of the Old Testament) were the opposite of who I believed God to be. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he wasn’t the opposite of who I believed him to be. He was always and in his divine sovereignty perfectly God and good.
I realized something today, I want to ignore the parts of the Bible that don’t fit my view of God because it’s ugly but it also shows God’s character, which is full of justice, vengeance and reckless love for his people the Israelites. However, we also see this in his Son and his perfect life being led to the cross because it was the WILL of the Father. The cross is ugly, evil, full of justice, yet also full of grace and love, which he obediently displayed for us. God sent his Son to the cross for his chosen people.
The hard parts of the Bible are difficult to swallow. In the hard parts, we also learn more about God’s character, which is important in building a solid theology, but with that, we must also be able to admit and be content with the fact that we will not fully understand. It’s okay to wrestle with the tension that comes with beginning to understand God’s character. However, through our study, we must be reminded of God’s power, goodness, and love for his people and who we are through his Son.
I am the LORD your God,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-
the LORD of hosts is his name.
And I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you in the shadow of my hand,
establishing the heavens
and laysing the foundations of the earth,
and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ JEsus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasureable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7