Monday, December 22, 2008
Super Thankful for a Savior
I told y'all I'm doing the one-year-Bible reading plan, right? We started November 1st. I just read through Leviticus, and let me tell you...it's some weird stuff. One day's reading will cover skin rashes and bodily discharges and that kind of sicked me out. However, it's given me a unique perspective for Christmas this year. These are the things that really stood out to me:
1. The wages of sin is death. Yep, I stole that from Romans. But you see that for real in the Old Testament. It has been confusing to me in the past to be reading along, and see that someone has committed a sin (that might seem small to me) and then poof! God strikes them dead. What? Why? How? That seems like an over-reaction, Lord! A bit unjust. But this is the truth: We deserve death for our sins. We don't deserve anything else. Just death. We're not entitled to anything from God. We're not entitled to a life of happiness, ease, flowers and sunshine. We're entitled to...you guessed it...death. BUT! God, in all his goodness, had mercy on us and made a way for us. He offers atonement for our sins. Jesus. We didn't deserve it, and we never could. The fact that He saved us by no merit of our own, that is actually unjust. We don't get what we deserve. God's wrath would actually be just. This is a basic principle we learn when we're young. Every kids who was ever in AWANAS, G.A.'s, R.A.'s, or any Sunday School class has learned Romans 6:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." But reading the OT makes this real for me.
2. God is specific. He gave them unbelievably specific instructions. He didn't deliver a million people from slavery, lead them into the desert of all places, and tell them to figure it out. No. He gave them unbelievably specific instructions on how to manage the people, how to feed them, how to worship, how to make their sacrifices, and how to avoid diseases and maintain sanitary conditions. As I'm reading the rules on skin rashes, I'm thinking 'Good gracious, it was a real bummer when you got a rash.' I mean, you have to live outside the camp for a while, and then you have to shave off all the hair on your body, including your eyebrows, and make sacrifices, and...I can't imagine all the laundry that would have built up for me at home by the time I did all that. But my Mom helped shed some light on this by pointing out, these were a million people in the desert. God knew exactly what they didn't know about the spread of disease, unsanitary water, unsanitary food preparation, and keeping order. His instructions leave little room for error. How gracious of Him! When he instructs them on sexual sin, it was confusing to me that He didn't just say "just have relations with your wife" and leave it at that. But instead, He says "Don't have relations with your neighbor, your sister, your neighbor's sister, your aunt, your aunt's slavegirls, your slavegirls, your aunt's neighbor's slavegirls..." you get the picture. But then I got the picture of how specific I have to be with my kids. If my little ones are going to use markers, just saying "only write on the paper!" is not good enough. I need to specifically say "don't write on the table, don't write on your clothes, don't write on the floor, don't write on your brother, and don't color in your hair." If I don't, garuntee you, one or all of those things will happen. Until my kids grow up more, they need constant specificity. God knew the Israelites needed that too.
3. I'm super thankful for a Savior! Our minds are too numb to the fact that Jesus paid for our sins and we don't have to. Maybe it's because some of us have known that fact all our lives. My four-year-old knows that very well in his head. But good gracious, when you read through what it took for them under the Old Covenant to try to atone for their sins with sacrifices, it's overwhelming. And it makes me a little squeamish. Reading the blood and guts parts over my morning coffee made me a little ill. But it also made me enormously grateful! We live under the New Covenant. Jesus has already paid the price. This is why He came. This was God's beautiful and mysterious plan from the beginning of time. This was the reason He came to earth as a helpless infant that holy night. We deserve death, but he got it instead. We deserve God's wrath, but he endured the cross. For so long, they had to stave off God's wrath with their sacrifices and the keeping of the law. It's exhausting to read it all. But His plan was good and enduring, and He chose to save us and cover our sins with Jesus' blood. I'm very in awe of that big picture plan this Christmas as I do these readings.
So as always, I'm thankful for God's Word. I'm even thankful for the parts I don't understand and never will on this earth. It builds my faith. If our God was so small that we could understand Him fully with our finite minds, He would not be God. I can live in awe of a great God who is beyond my imagination! This passage has summed it up best for me. Rom 11:33-36
3 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
35 "Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.