There have been a lot of changes in my life recently. There are even more changes that seem to be looming overhead that may never even materialize. I met the woman who would become my wife about a year ago. We got married about seven months ago. Then in July we found out we’re going to be parents by April 2015. Parents! We were single a year ago, people!
Add to all of that the realization that we may need to move to be closer to family and work when the baby’s born, and realizing that might mean changing campuses at church. Again. Thinking about all of that at once can push you to a breaking point real quick.
That’s why I’m glad I’m taking the Old Testament survey class at my church this semester. There’s nothing quite like reading from Genesis through Numbers inside of a month to put your life into the proper perspective.
Reading that God chose Abram, a pagan among pagans, to create a chosen people as His people to reflect and display His glory to the other nations. Reading that God prophesies about and fulfills the prophecy of the Israelites all moving to Egypt, and growing and being persecuted there. Reading about the history of the Christian religion’s founding fathers and realizing that “America” wasn’t even on their radar. It does a good job of making sure you know that you’re not the point of this race we call life.
And changes? Try thinking about being on the run from slavery and part of that journey being so rough that you actually think about going back TO slavery. And it wasn’t just the adults going through all of this. Men and women found out they were pregnant along this journey, too. Can you imagine being pregnant, having a pregnant wife, or caring for a newborn baby, just days old, in the desert and wilderness?
But now think about the God who is big enough, sovereign enough, to not only plan all of this but to also care for a bunch of people who seemed like nothing more that ungrateful brats for half the trip. God delivered food to their door every day and they complained about it? Well, I probably would too, because my perspective is so limited to my wants, needs, and desires. Think of the God who is big enough and loving enough to not only shepherd us in that, but to sanctify us out of it.
Then remember that all of this started in the middle east. The birthplace of the Christian religion is the area that most Americans are ready to invade, destroy, or barely even know about. The area that was first affected by the gospel is the area that Americans are so ready to destroy. It’s pretty sad, when you think about it.
Now, I realize that there is much evil taking place in that area today. I’ll spare reiterating what many of us already know, but I want us to stop and think for a minute. God told Abram that his descendants would be in Egypt for four hundred years because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Gen. 15:16). If I’ve realized anything from reading the Old Testament, it’s that God is the judge of the nations. He alone decides when enough is enough. He alone decides how patiently to wait, or how swiftly to bring destruction.
I am all for trying to push back darkness. But that is first and foremost done through the power of the gospel. I do believe that the strong should protect the weak, but we must be very careful to not cross the line from “protector of the weak” to “judge of nations.” We must even guard our hearts in the first role, because even in that we rely on God to protect us from ourselves.
Reading the Old Testament has shown me just how quickly we jump from being human protectors to wanting to play God, and how prone we are to not even realize that we’ve crossed that line.