Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bible Alone - Week 2

I have remained faithful to my challenge of reading nothing but the Bible for 30 days. Earlier this week, though, I visited the library to pick up a few books for my sick husband. While I was there, I also picked up several books for me to read once February starts. If I had enough time, I would have curled up in the stacks with a library Bible and read for awhile. It's such a peaceful place!

Since last week, I've read:
2 Samuel 5-24
1 Kings
2 Kings 1-4

I've picked up on a few things this week. My biggest realization is that God doesn't fit into the box we like to cram Him into. Two specific stories made me pause and take notice.

The background: King Ahab (an evil king) was told by a prophet of God to soundly defeat the Syrians. Instead of killing the Syrian king like he should have, Ahab made a treaty with Syria and allowed the king to live.

The first story that made me take notice: 1 Kings 20:35-42. Here we have a prophet of God who instructed another man to strike him, but the man refused. The prophet told the man that he had disobeyed God's orders and that the man would immediately be killed by a lion. It happened. Then, the prophet of God, disguised, visits King Ahab and lies to him about a scene on a battlefield. King Ahab believes the story and condemns himself by ordering judgment on the disguised prophet. The prophet reveals his identity and passes on Ahab's judgment from God, the same judgment that Ahab had decreed on the prophet.

Why did this story strike me? First - The prophet of God ordered another man to hit him and pronounced a judgment when the man didn't comply. That is difficult to comprehend as I cannot picture someone today believing that God would order a man to hit another man. Second - The prophet of God went to King Ahab and lied in order to pronounce judgment on Ahab. God was behind all of this! It's not the way we would expect God to act unless we are open to God working in mysterious ways.

The second story that made me take notice: 1 Kings 22:19-23. In this passage, God's prophet Micaiah is telling King Ahab about a vision he had that took place at God's throne. God asks the host of heaven who will persuade Ahab to go into battle so that he will fall. Several voices make suggestions and then a spirit comes forward. This spirit tells God that he will be a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets (those that only told Ahab what he wanted to hear). God said that this plan will work and sends the lying spirit to speak through the false prophets.

Why did this story strike me? Well, is this a literal story or was Micaiah using an illustration? Does God send lying spirits to deceive people so that His plans will be fulfilled? I believe this is a supported possibility and one that we have to be open to. It doesn't fit the traditional picture of God! I was taught that God is loving, kind. While this is true, there is more to God than these attributes. The stories illustrate this but we have to be open to God being more than just a loving Father. Sometimes He does things we don't understand or that go against the character that we believe He possesses.

I am looking forward to reading more. I pray that God will keep my heart open to receiving the truth about Him, not just reinforce preconceived ideas. God is bigger than we think.

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