"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I have been reading through the Bible chronically. I don’t think I have ever done that before. I am noticing a few things that I haven’t been before-partly because of the timing of the books, partly because I haven’t read through some of the minor prophets all at once.
So I got to Nahum and read the beginning notes on it-who wrote it, why, when, all that. Now for some of you, this is all “duh” but I haven’t taken the time to think of it before, so here goes.
When we talk about Nineveh, we usually focus on Jonah-he didn’t do what God wanted, ran away, ended up in the whale, spit on ground, did what he should have in the first place, saved Ninevah, got mad.
But we don’t think too much of Ninevah-just know Jonah hated it. Why did Jonah hate it? Well, it wasn’t part of Israel. Now I know that too seems really “duh”. But in the Old Testament there really aren’t too many examples of God going out of His way to save any Gentiles. And basically that is what the book of Jonah is. Well, about a century later comes Nahum. Nineveh repented-yeah! Within a hundred years-back to the same and worse-definitely not-so-yeah! Nahum is written as the oracle of Nineveh’s destruction by Babylon.
What is (one of) the significance(s) of Nahum? That God IS slow to wrath, but that He DOES settle His accounts in full. Assyria was brutal; yes they had repented, but soon returned to their wicked ways. It was a comfort to the surviving kingdom of Judah-that the threat of a further Assyrian invasion would soon be over.
So, since we like to try to get you to think, and since ALL Scripture is profitable for teaching, correct, rebuking, and training in righteousness…how do we apply this to our lives? I can think of a few ways, and they go in many different directions. I am not saying any of them are right or make sense but with the once through quick read I did-here are questions that come to mind.
Why bother with Nineveh when God knew their heart? If God is past, present and future all at once, and He knew they would fall back to their evil ways, why bother? If Nineveh was this harsh to God’s chosen people, again-- why bother? Why warn them of their destruction? He wasn’t warning this time to repent like with Jonah-He was saying this WAS GOING to happen. This was written to the Israelites.
So, if God knows our hearts, what choices we will make-past, present, and future-why does He bother with us? LOVE. His LOVE for us is so strong, so perfect, so…everything, that He is willing to risk it all for us. Risk His own pain seeing His Son suffer on the cross. His own pain as we are paining (as the Zambians say) in this daily struggle of life.
He LOVES us-with divine love, with uncomprehendable love. He puts it all out on the line-for us.
This is what I don’t understand. We say God wants to give us every chance to turn to Him, to accept Christ. But yet—we say He is past, present, future-everywhere, all the time. So doesn’t He know how we will respond to EVERY situation and EVERY question? Is He completely all-knowing? So if He is, how does that work? I mean, He knows our choices, ‘cuz He made us, He knows what we will do. So didn’t He plan everything? How does free will work exactly? We make choices-to follow His lead or to go against His best that He wants for us. Yet…He knows what we will choose, so He plans accordingly.
Questions, Questions-theologians get paid to ask them, why can’t I? :-)
God’s BIG plan-His BIG will is the salvation of souls. That all will come to a saving knowledge of Him through Jesus Christ our Lord and live in a love relationship with him. (But doesn’t He already know who will and who won’t?)
The goal/purpose of our lives is to GLORIFY God in all we do.
So I wonder if all we go through in this life isn’t really for other people. I mean, I am saved, but I am still going through crap, trying to glorify God somehow in the crap I am going through. Do I have to go through some of this crap, so that someone will come to the saving grace of Jesus? And God already has this planned out? I will go through A, B, and C so that John Doe will accept Christ after B but before C?
Is this just too much thinking? A friend just emailed and talked about keeping it simple-which I try to; in my daily living life anyway. But then I read or hear something, and my overly analytical brain (which God created!) goes into hyper drive. I don’t know. Maybe I just like to ask questions.
Yes, I know I am weird. I hope I am not causing undo doubts for others. I guess I figure if I wonder it, someone else somewhere may wonder too. But maybe the bigger issue isn’t necessarily the wondering. It’s having FAITH. Faith that you know what, I am NOT going to get answers to all these things-not answers that will satisfy while I am here on this earth. But I still have FAITH despite the questions and the wonderings. That this huge God of the universe even cares about me, let alone LOVES me, and doesn’t mind all my ramblings, just loves that I want to think and talk about Him.
Brian says it’s like the dog chasing his tail. You can’t convince him that he is never going to catch it-he just keeps chasing it. And he has fun doing it or just gets really annoyed-but he still keeps doing it.

No comments: