I really need to get back into my Bible. I had this whole rave against God the other night where I felt like He was abandoning me and how I felt like He didn't listen to me and then I ended the whole thing by telling Him that I was mad at Him and tht I didn't want to talk to Him anymore because it wasn't like He answered anyway. I was very childish about the whole thing.
But the funny part is that even though I didn't have this sudden revelation or mind-blowing encounter where it was like He was physically talking to me, which He sometimes does when I go into these raves, He's still managed to change me through it. It's like something that Mark Driscoll said a couple podcst sermons ago-something that really stuck with me: Prayer isn't about changing the situation; prayer is about changing you.
And it's absolutely true. The past couple days, without my even realizing it, I've been feeling this growing and growing need to get back into the Word and read it every day. To really dig into it and know what it says for myself, not just what pastors on podcasts say it says.
So last night I really start in on it. And I'm all over the place. I start in Acts and read all about Paul and his experience with Christ on the road to Damascus along with an apostle Phillip who helped an Ethiopian understand the Bible. Then I jumped back to the Old Testament and started going through some Isaiah, then ended up reading like, 8 chapters in Jeremiah. Jeremiah is one of those books that I hear referenced fairly often, but that I don't think I know really anything about. And I think I heard a pastor telling Jeremiah's story a little and it really peaked my interest. So I start reading.... and get more and more depressed with every word. Jeremiah is a harsh book. It's all the Lord's words spoken to Jeremiah to tell to the Israelites, and almost all of it is what a terrible and sinful and adulturous nation Israel is. How God hs given them all these chances and they continually repent with their tongues but then keep their backs turned to Him. So now He's through with warnings and with putting up with them. Now He's going to demolish their entire nation to absolutely nothing and no matter how the people cry out, He will not listen. No more mercy, no more forgiveness, no more second chances. Basically, the opposite of everything you're told growing up in little PG Sunday school... It goes on, cahpter after chapter after chapter of how fed up God is with these people and their idols. He puts it a thousand different ways, explains what He's going to do to them to punish their adultery in a thousand different visuals. It's brutal.
I've been going on and on a lot lately about how scared I am of God, how His power and His awesomeness are terrifying. But this is a whole new level. I mean, God blatantly states that He's done with compassion, done with mercy. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but looking ahead, it looks like most of Jeremiah is filled with the same. And it just gets me thinking, "How on earth is humanity still alive? If God is this wrathful towards His chosen people, how the heck did the rest of the world manage to get by virtually unscathed?
So the next day, I don't want to delve into Jeremiah again. There's only so much of that a person can take in one hit before they commit suicide or something. It's that brutal. So I start looking for something else to read. I remember Kristina talking about the book of Hosea and how it's about this guy that God tells to marry a prostitute, who is inevitably unfaithful to him. So I think, okay, that sounds kind of cool. So I look it up. I start reading and it's true, God tells his man to marry a prostitute anmed Gomar. But the whole thing is just a visual for God to show how Israel has been unfaithful to Him; as Hosea has each of his children, God names them "not loved" and "not my people" to show His feelings toward Israel. He starts His raving and I'm sitting here thinking, Oh no. Here we go again. But I keep reading anayway.
And then I come upon this (note that you need the context of the entire second chapter in Hosea for this to make sense): "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt."
Basically, it's God saying that He will bring her back to Him, make her fall back in love with Him through gentle coaxing and romancing. And yes, I'm probably romantisizing that a little, but I nearly cried when I first read it because it was such a hopeful passage after all I had been reading about how wrathful God was feeling and how He had no more mercy or compassion. I just kept thinking the lyrics of that Brandon Heath song- There is hope for me yet.