Summary: 2 gleanings about God and His Church from a year of reading the Bible: Gleaning # 1 God is deeply emotional. He is full of love for His people, and He grieves when we are prone to wander. Gleaning # 2 God loves us AND calls us into His purpose of loving the world to Jesus as ambassadors of Jesus.
June 2, 2019 - Gleanings from A Year in the Bible
Do you have a favourite TV show? Movie? Book? What’s a favourite of yours?
My wife Barbara and I have a a number of shows that we like to watch, Usually we enjoy comedies that are character driven.
Or dramas with strong relationships between the characters. I personally enjoy quirky characters like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, which has just completed its 12 year run.
Together we enjoy films and shows about couples with strong relationships, in part maybe because Barbara and I have a strong relationship.
Couples go through lots of ups and downs. Watching other couples go through their own ups and downs with humour and understanding, and with their own unique and quirky personalities, is enjoyable and sometimes offers us insight.
Most of us have enjoyed our favourite characters in books or maybe comic books...any comic book fans here? Or movies or television.
There’s one biography, one story about a true person, a real character that I love the most and return to the most often is...anyone want to guess?
Ok. It’s the Bible. Big surprise. I like to spend as much time as possible reading or listening to the Bible. I find the accounts of the people of God in the Bible to be fascinating, and honestly, it never gets old. Not even a little. It’s by far my favourite book.
I’m just finishing reading through the Bible in a year now, and I thought that I would share some impressions some gleanings after being immersed for a year..
I’ve had 2 big impressions this year:
1. God is deeply emotional and full of love
2. God loves us AND calls us into His purpose of loving the world to Jesus
God is deeply emotional and full of love
Now sometimes when people read the Old Testament, they struggle with what they see. Do you?
Sometimes it’s the conduct of humans that we find hard to take. Cain killing his brother Abel.
Joseph's brothers abandoning him to the wolves out of jealousy. The cruelty of the ancient Egyptians enslaving the entire Hebrew people.
The conduct of ancient peoples who regularly sacrificed their own children to appease their idea of a god.
Sexual depravity depicted in shrine prostitution and orgies in some ancient religious cults. Human betrayals. That can be difficult to read about.
But it’s really not all that strange because we kind of know and expect bad behaviour from people.
It’s not rocket science to say that there’s evil in the world. We see that today. We get that human history has this ugly trail of blood and violence, of evil acts.
But what’s harder for some is when they see portrayals of God in the Old Testament where He is angry. Not maybe angry. Not a little miffed. But outright angry.
And it’s hard for us, on this side of the New Testament where we’ve been introduced to God in and through Jesus Christ, to wrap our brains around God’s anger.
In fact in general, anger is hard to deal with. Anyone here like to be around angry people?
Anger is hard to deal with in people. It’s really hard to understand in God.
Why is anger so hard to cope with, in others AND in our selves, AND in God?
I learned something from the mission’s Hjead of Counselling, Elaine Paz this past spring as we co-led the Trauma and Transformation course together that some of you attended.
What I learned, or was reminded of, is that anger, as strong an emotion as it is, is actually a secondary emotion.
It is more of a surface eruption of something deeper. It’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s the stuff that spews out of a volcano.
When a person blows their top - have you ever seen someone really lose it?
When anger surfaces, it’s a culmination of other emotions. It’s an explosion of frustration, among other things. (Pause)
In the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, there are numerous times when God is pleased.
After He makes each stage of creation, He says it is good. Then He makes humans and He says it is very good.
The narrative of the Old Testament shows that God is pleased when justice prevails, when mercy is shown.
Perhaps Micah 6:8 puts it the most succinctly: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”.
Why does God require these things of us? It’s because God loves justice. He loves mercy. And He loves being in relationship with us. (Pause)
But we can see early on in the Bible, in Genesis 6:5-6, when the problem really emerges: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled”.