This week, for the first time ever, I read the story of six Old Testament figures in one go. My intention was to prepare content for the upcoming Gritty Faith app but what I gained from the experience was way more than content. I gained a more profound understanding of God's character and His ways, aspects that we can no longer ignore.
With the proliferation of skits about God on TikTok, it is easy to forget who the Bible reveals Him to be and develop a trendy social media version of Him in your mind. However, much of what we see on a daily basis of the depiction of God is either inaccurate, a little bit off or totally false.
Based on my study of Abraham, Jacob, Esther and Ruth in a short space of time, I was able to see the undeniable threads that run through the Old Testament, from one story to the next and to see God's consistent principles and characteristics shining through each story.
Here are five aspects of God we must not ignore, Christians and non-Christians alike...
ONE: God's Plan Will Be Carried Out Regardless of Whether or Not You Choose to Be a Part of It
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42: 2
Abraham chose to have a child with his servant instead of waiting on the Lord to give him a child by his wife Sarah. Despite this transgression, God still fulfilled His plan to make Abraham's descendants a multitude and a fruitful people. Jacob lied to his father and tricked his twin Esau into giving away his birthright and his blessing but God still continued multiplying his descendants and promising them inheritance. Joseph's brothers sold him and he ended up in prison but God still continued His plan to bring the descendants of Jacob into Egypt and to preserve them and multiply them throughout the years of famine. Tamar pretended to be a prostitute and her father in law Judah chose to sleep with her yet God continued His plan as their child became one of the ancestors of Jesus. Ruth was a widow and was not native to Boaz's land, nor was she brought up worshipping the God of Israel, but God continued His plan to make her one of the direct ancestors of Jesus. Esther was only chosen as queen after Vashti decided to be rebellious and was dethroned yet God continued His plan, through Esther, by preserving the Jews from genocide.
Do you see the thread here?
God never ceased or will ever cease rolling out His plan.
No man or woman's transgression, mistake, weakness, fallen nature, choice, cunningness, situation, position or past has ever stopped God from continuing His Great Plan, to send His Only Son to the earth, borne out of an imperfect lineage, to save us, make us righteous by His blood and reunite us to Him, and thereby, if we believe in Him, to adopt us, to call us His people and give us the inheritance He promised the descendants of Abraham.
TWO: We Cannot Avoid Facing the Consequences of Our Sinful, Selfish and/or Rebellious Actions
'No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble.' Proverbs 12:21
Hear me out here. Yes we can avoid death, which is the ultimate consequence of sin, if we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. However, no major Biblical character has been shown to avoid all the consequences of their sinful actions. That is, God does not let us off scotch free.
For example, Abraham's illegitimate son Ishmael became the father of Islam, whose people have forever been at war with the descendants of the child God actually promised Abraham, Issac. Jacob had to serve his cruel uncle Laban for 20 years, and faced the same underhandedness and trickery that he showed his own brother Esau. He also spent a long time with a problematic hip and after that, mourning the 'loss' of his son Joseph. He actually described his days as a sojourner 'evil' because they brought him so much strife. Joseph's brothers were obviously dealt harshly with and ultimately had to bow down to Joseph and follow his every command.
Do you see God's just nature shining through?
God is perfectly fair as He is perfectly merciful.
If you have rebelled, or had a period of repetitive sin, or are currently living in sin, knowing it is not what God has called you to, know that though salvation through Christ cancels your punishment of death, you will still face many consequences of your choices while on earth, whether that is chaos, strife, pain, discord, lack of success, lack of comfort, indisciplined children, unsuccessful relationships and/or limitation of opportunity, to name a few things. Knowing that you have to face some of these consequences is humbling and also reminds us that sin is incredibly toxic to our body, mind and soul, and God's way is always the most beneficial and enjoyable way.
THREE: God is Incredibly Generous to Those Who Love and Obey Him
'Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!' Psalm 31.19
Esther, who lived in humble and intelligent submission, was shown great favour, given the title of Queen and anything she asked for. Ruth, who was servant-hearted, compassionate and devoted, was favoured as a woman of virtue and taken as wife of a highly respected, righteous man Boaz, and named as one of four women in the genealogy of Jesus. Joseph, who showed exemplary discipline, devotion and grace, rose to the highest ranks and won favour amongst God and men.
See the contrast here to the consequences faced by Jacob, Abraham and Joseph's brothers?
God is just an overflowing river of generosity and favour to those devoted to Him.
So as the unavoidable consequences of our sin show us that living a life without God or in repetitive sin is toxic, disruptive and causes difficulty, the undeniable and unquenchable generosity of God shown to us when we are obedience and turn away from sin makes it clear that God's way is truly the most beneficial way.
FOUR: God Shows Favour aka He Does Not Treat Us All The Same
'For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.' Psalm 84:11
It may seem like this point is similar to the last but hear me out. It's really important for us to digest and come to terms with the fact that God shows favour. Though He has created all of us with His own hands, and does not make mistakes, He does show favour to the ones who choose to follow Him. What this means is that though God does love us all, we do not all have the same level of protection from evil, inheritance or authority. God gives more of His good things, exalts higher, guards more sturdily and promises more abundance to His children who kneel at His feet.
Get what this means for us and our lives?
If we don't choose to follow God's ways and design we WILL miss out on so much of what He has for us.
Saying God's name but not actually caring to hear and follow how He wants you to live holds no value. Choosing to devote yourself to God and allow Him to be sovereign over your life holds immeasurable value and promise.
FIVE: God is in Charge. To Deny That, and Deny Him, is to Choose to to Play for the Losing Team and Not Even Make it to the Tournament.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.' Colossians 1:16-17
Since God's Great Plan is being rolled out regardless of our choices, that means that those who reject Him and/or His ways will end up on the wrong side of that plan.
Since God leaves people to face the consequences of their sins and on the other hand favours those who obey Him, those who reject God and/or His ways will not just be outside the favour of God, but they will be so far from it that their entire experience of this world and God's life would be lacking.
Do you understand the significance of God's might and sovereignty yet?
God is in charge and no matter what you choose to believe or do, you will experience either the exceptional benefits of living His way or the unfathomable consequences of rejecting Him.
That is... you will experience and encounter God's sovereignty one way or the other. Which way do you choose?
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