Sometimes what we see in the Bible is not what we experience in everyday life. Sometimes this is a good thing! For instance, think about these examples:
When we set off into the Bible on a quest to know Him, we will find the journey both thrilling and fascinating. And truth be told, we won’t be left wondering what God values or wants.
Part of the revelation of God’s heart comes via these shot across the bow moments, typically at the start of a new era. What does God think of human sin? The flood makes that clear (as well as his deliverance being the only option available in the face of judgment).
What about taking his battle instructions lightly and flexing for the sake of lining our own pockets? Achan’s sad story draws a line in the sand for that.
And what about pursuing our own reputation in the way we give resources or anything else for the ministry of the church? God is as strongly opposed to self-appointed mini-gods claiming glory for themselves as he has ever been. The bride of Christ is given Christ’s glory, but grabbing glory for ourselves is unfaithfulness to our groom that His Father and ours does not take lightly. Rather than killing glory-hunters every Sunday, Acts 5 gives us the shot across the bow that makes God’s desire clear.
We could chase a few more examples, but perhaps we would do well to finish with the biggest of all. How would God react if we were to disregard his word and trust in ourselves instead? The events of Genesis 3 make that clear. There were lots of consequences, but notice that physical death was not immediate. Why not?
Because God intended to fix the mess. The consequences of human sin in Genesis 3 are huge: spiritual death, the introduction of physical death, death to creation itself, … all supremely serious. But there was also another thing to notice – the seed of the woman would get a “bruised heel” in defeating the serpent. What would that mean? As we read on we eventually come to the biggest statement ever made in human history that does not need to be repeated because its impact remains in force today and always – Jesus’ death at Calvary.
There on that hideous instrument of humiliation and death the heart of God for sinners like you and me was laid bare for all to see. I can ask God to demonstrate his love to me today as I rely on him in prayer, but the demonstration of God’s love is already crystal clear, painted in vivid shades of crimson for anyone with eyes to see. God loves us and is willing to give everything for our sake.
May the reality of the cross mark our days so that we don’t stray over the other lines drawn in the sand. And may our pursuit of God’s heart in the Bible be ever fruitful and delightful as we get to see what God loves and what God is like in the great epic revelation of God’s Word.
You are invited to additional articles by Peter Mead at Cor Deo