So… Apparently I’ve actually caught and overtaken Stephen. Just noticed that today.
An extremely close friend was texting me today, and in amongst things, said she loves me. For a moment, my mind went to a reply along the lines of, “If you keep saying that, I might start to believe you.”
How much do we really believe that people love and care about us? I know that I’ve struggled with it, the thoughts of not believing that someone loves me wasn’t actually that difficult to conceive; especially in the mindset I was in at the time. I think that a lot of people actually struggle with being loved, even more than they struggle with loving others. It seems to be a human thing to actually think that we have to only receive what we deserve.
I remember being told in the past by a girl I liked, that she didn’t want to be with me because I deserved better than her. I was shocked, and totally confused. Why would that matter? Shouldn’t I be the one who gets to decide who I ‘deserve’? Since when does ‘deserving’ have anything to do with love and relationships? And even if she was right, shouldn’t it then be the case of just feeling lucky rather than saying no?
If we can’t accept love from other people, because we think we don’t deserve it; then how are we ever meant to accept God’s love in our lives?
I love the concept of the Year of Jubilee.
I really do. Just imagine how much freedom would be released throughout the world right now, if every debt was suddenly released. If all the governments of the world united together and said, “Right, in 2011 we’re having a year of jubilee. All property is to be returned to its original owner, all debt is to be cleared, and we’re just going to start over.”
Imagine the release. It really would be a year of jubilee. The entire population of the world would celebrate.
I’ve heard once before a claim that if all the money in the world was to be gathered up and distributed evenly to everyone, we would all be millionaires. However, I’ve also heard predictions that it would only take a few years for the money to be pretty much back in the same places as it was before. I’d be willing to take the chance though.
I think the point of the Year of Jubilee was, apart from the restoration of the land – both to the people and itself – was to just keep things balanced. If we actually applied some biblical economics to the world today, I think there’d be a major shift in the way the global community works. People wouldn’t be able to accumulate obscene amounts of wealth, and perhaps, if they couldn’t accumulate so much, they wouldn’t worry about it so much. Perhaps it could break the hold that money – and more importantly, greed – has over modern society.
On another topic that I just alluded to, comes the restoration of the land.
I’m no hippy, greenie or tree hugger. Not really, anyway, but I do care about the environment, about our land, about the animals and the trees and the plants that share this planet with us. I believe that when God gave us dominion over the Earth, he gave us responsibility over it as well, to manage and till the land properly; to care for it and raise it; to treat it like our own.
Again, greed took over though.
I read the first part of this chapter, about every seventh year not planting any crops and just letting the land fend for itself, and wondered just how different the world might be if we kept this particular idea also. The Earth itself doesn’t get a chance to recover from what we do to it, and instead of just letting the Earth take care of itself, humanity keeps trying to fix it. As though we know better.
God built this Earth, he built the laws of nature that surround the Earth and the universe. I think that chapter 25 of Leviticus is more than just a series of celebrations and inconsequential laws – I think this was God actually telling us how to take care of his world. How to take care of ourselves. How to live in harmony with the Earth and with each other.
God knows better than we do. We keep trying to fix things, but we don’t try to fix the problem – we keep trying to bandaid the symptom. Perhaps the solution to global warming and other problems that our planet is facing isn’t to try and fix it; but rather, to trust that God knew what he was doing. Perhaps we should just step back and try to integrate ourselves with the way God built the planet, rather than trying to integrate the planet with the way we’re building our society?
It’s amazing how easy it is to let your focus slip.
I’ve been doing what I can to make sure that I keep my focus on God lately, ever since coming back to him. However it is exceptionally easy for things to just get in the way.
Whether it be just being tired, or issues with a personal relationship, or being sick, or just being stressed about whatever it might be, they can all get in the way of God.
I’ve been dealing with some issues surrounding personal relationships the past few days, and it’s hard. I keep letting things go to God, and telling him that I trust him in all of it. However then I find myself grabbing hold of it again. Feelings, thoughts, emotions keep flowing back and all becomes a distraction from my Father.
It’s getting easier, though. As I keep releasing things, the peace begins to increase as does the comfort, and I don’t worry about things so much.
Well, I think God really took the sabbath day seriously.
It’s so important. It really is. I know that I discussed this just recently, but the importance of the sabbath day is massive. It’s the day dedicate to God.
This chapter really shows how seriously God takes the things that he commands and wants to see us do. Not simply because of the heaviness of the statements about the sabbath, but also through the next sections. We find Moses going to the people of Israel and asking them to bring forward offerings for the tabernacle. Instead of simply saying that, though, it’s detailed. He goes through every single item required, gold, silver, bronze, fabrics, dugong hides, gems, the whole kitten kaboodle! He goes through and tells them what it’s all for, as if it hasn’t already been explained what everything’s for.
Once again, though – like what happened earlier, the people of Israel bring forward what they have.
And everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. ~ Exodus 35:21
It’s all about what’s in their hearts. Generosity starts in the heart.
Here we are. It’s the end of Book 1, Genesis.
What a journey it’s been in my life over the past eight weeks or so that I’ve been doing this. I’m not sure whether it feels like it’s gone fast or slowly. It seems to have gone by very quickly, but so much has happened in that time that at the same time, I feel it must have been longer than that.
I was writing an email last night to a friend who’s been right there throughout the past couple of months, and someone for whom I’m massively grateful. Through some of the conversations that have been going back and forth in those emails, there was one comment in particular, saying I don’t do things by halves, do I?
No, I guess I don’t. It brought me back to that little voice that’s been in my head once or twice over the past couple of months about whether I’m leaping into things too fast, and perhaps I should just settle down, be a little bit more rational and reasonable.
But the fact is, that everything I’ve been learning and hearing and reading recently has been telling me the opposite. I don’t have any doubts in where I’m going or what I’m doing; I do have traces of nervousness in there, but that’s not exactly unexpected. Faith is something that grows. I’m excited by what the past two months have been, and I’m even more excited as to what the next two months have got in store. At which point I’ll be somewhere in Numbers, getting stuck for things to write about!
Joseph was probably pretty young when he got taken from his family, and he was much older when they finally were all reunited. He missed out on a lot of time with his father, but as is the natural course of things, Jacob eventually died, and Joseph wept pretty heavily.
Here’s just another small sign as to the influence of Joseph’s position in Egypt, the Egyptians mourned for seventy days for Jacob. The entire nation actually showed their respect for Joseph’s father.
I don’t completely know where I stand on all of this any more. The lines between archaeology and biblical history are in different places for me these days, for obvious reasons. God’s got me focussing on other things at the moment. One thing, though, that I’ve been trying to ensure throughout this study so far, is to focus on what the essence is of each chapter, what’s the message and what’s at the heart of it.
The part of this chapter I want to really look at, though, is the next section, verses 15 to 21.
Now Jacob’s dead, Joseph’s brothers are suddenly afraid that he’s going to come after them.
Isn’t it amazing how the negatives manage to hang around in our thoughts for so long? I know that I’ve been guilty of doing this, worrying that something I did in the past is going to come back and haunt me, going to come and get back at me. Perhaps it does – in the form of that never-ending self-condemnation that is attached to it.
Guilt doesn’t go away very easily, though, does it? It’s one thing to be told that you’re forgiven, it’s another thing completely different to actually accept that forgiveness.
Joseph said and showed for years, potentially, that things were okay between he and his brothers. He said right back when he first revealed himself to them that they intended to harm him, but God used it for good. He says it again here in this passage.
It’s perhaps something that is really worth learning. Being told that you’re forgiven, that it’s all okay, that you don’t have to feel guilty any more is one thing. Actually accepting that forgiveness and releasing the self-condemnation that we hold over ourselves, that’s a lot harder, and that’s the part that really lingers. We don’t have to feel guilty, though. God has forgiven us, he’s released us of the condemnation – but we need to release ourselves of it as well.
Okay, so one more short comment on politics.
I love politics, and I really have a passion towards it. I’ve given serious consideration for a few years, now, about actually entering politics as a candidate.
It could be – it’s a choice that’s sitting there in front of me. However, it’s not going to happen – at least, not in the near future.
I’ve really been considering the paths that God has laid out for me over the past week, and I think I’ve brought it up before, but the focus has really been on trusting him. I’ve lived a very material-based life, for most of my adulthood. That’s not to say that I consider myself wealthy, in fact, quite the opposite – but what I mean is that there’s been a real focus on the fact that we live in a world where money is king – you can’t really survive without it.
Yet God’s challenging me to release that attachment, and that reliance on money. Not as in giving up my job, just as in actually trusting him to provide all my needs, which he does promise. I’ve really been challenged by verses like 2 Corinthians 4:18 or Matthew 6:20. Important lessons of realising that everything here on Earth will fade away, I can’t take any of it with me when I die – so what’s really important is “investing” – so to speak – in eternity.
Well, first of all this chapter gave me deja vu. We hear the story, then we hear the servant tell the story to everyone else.
But wouldn’t it be nice if every decision in life was this easy? Find a wife simply by sitting down and asking for some water?
I’m exceptionally tired, so I don’t think I’m going to have much more to say tonight.
For all of the words in this chapter, there isn’t a great deal of story actually told. Abraham doesn’t want his son to marry a person from the place he’s come to, but he wants to bring someone from his homeland and family. It wasn’t exactly an easy mission that Abraham gave the servant, to go and find a woman who would then be the wife of his son. I guess, when you think about it, he really needed some supernatural guidance!
God always provides, though – and this comes back to what God’s been talking to me about. The servant admitted that he really wasn’t likely to find the right person for his master’s son, and asked for God’s help, and God provided.
Trust, and it will be given.
Now, it’s sleep time…