Our whole congregation is collectively reading through the Bible in a year. I was a little reluctant at first (quietly rebellious, of course, as I didn’t want to be viewed as mutinous) since initially it felt like someone else would be dictating my personal Bible Study.
I’ve since recanted my insurgency and have embraced the plan, partly because it has given me so many wonderful blog ideas, but mostly because I have learned a ton in the last 50 days.
In Exodus 24, the Israelites had been scared straight by God’s fire, lightning, and cloud spectacular on Mt. Sinai (think Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams times 10). A few mornings ago, I was reading chapter 32 and, as is my habit, I tut-tut-tutted the immaturity and speed at which the Israelites abandoned the promise they made only 50 days before to never make or bow to another god.
How could they? I thought. Didn’t God just display himself with the locust, flies, frogs, and the death of the firstborn in Egypt? Didn’t he just slice open the sea and let them stroll through on dry ground? Didn’t he just send breakfast, lunch, and dinner from heaven? How could they forget so quickly?
Then I was exceedingly grateful that the last 30 years of my life wasn’t written down for every human being on the planet to read and see my own faithlessness. I was thankful that my doubts and attempts to explain away the countless ways God has performed miracles in my life hadn’t been podcast over the internet. Further, I was quite appreciative that there were no YouTube videos of me proclaiming sacred vows to God in one breath and then plunging headlong into orgies in another.
It’s sad and yes, pathetic, but I am no different than the Israelites. Not in my heart of hearts.
I question God’s ability to work in my life all the time. I question his timing, his methods, his purpose, and his planning. Once in a while, I even question whether he’s really there or if someone has parlayed some massive scam on the entire human race.
But then I work my way back to his Word and my doubts recede (most of them anyway). The Bible is a miracle in itself. Anyone who questions its divine origins simply needs to spend one month attempting to put its principles into practice. No human being in their right mind (or any mind) could have fabricated such a fantastic plan. By fantastic, I don’t mean sensational like a trip to Disney World. I mean implausible, unbelievable, confounding, preternatural, and inexplicable. But that’s a blog for another day.
Bottom line, I’m a hypocritical mess. And anyone who doesn’t admit the same is clueless.
In Poor Richard’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”
I like Samuel Coleridge’s thought: “Ignore thyself, and strive to know thy God.”
While we’re made in his image, we are a dim, pale shadow of God. Only when we seek his face and stare unflinching into his loving gaze, can we see our true selves reflected back.
How well do you really know yourself?