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20 January, 2014

The God of The Old Testament

Sovereign and merciful God, thank you for choosing me. Thank you for not holding my ignorance, arrogance and self-centered mind against me. Thank you for being you and thank you for being my God,  even when I keep failing you over and over again.  Keep me close to your heart and hold my hands through this difficult journey. 

Few years back when God told me that I had to stop being impressed by the God I read about and start making Him real in my life, He spent so much time with me in the Old Testament. He needed me to embrace this God first before I learn the value of what is written in the New Testament. I still remember how He showed me that the God of the Old Testament had to come out of the pages and make His dwelling in my heart, only then I could move onto the next phase. Even though I hated reading the Old Testament  and all I used to see were senseless deaths throughout the pages, I submitted with my heart to do as He wished since by then He had become the leader of my life. Noticed I said the leader because that was exactly how I felt about Him, since I did not know Him personally yet. Now that I know Him well, He is my Master, my King and my Daddy. It turns out God was in the process of revealing Himself to us in the Old Testament, and in both Old and New Testaments God is the same today yesterday and forever.  

The first lesson that I will never forget was in 2006 when He taught me to see His SOVEREIGNTY. The lesson lasted for so long and I was amazed to see how all the songs that I sang in the pews as I repeated this word, never even come close to experiencing up close and personal what it means to serve a Sovereign God like Him. The experience bought so much joy in my heart and He started being so real to me. During that time it was as if I was in a classroom and the first lesson was God 101. He took me back to a time where at Church I was singing a song during the service and the words go this way. “Faithful One, so unchanging, Ageless One, you’re my Rock of peace…..”  Through this lesson, God had truly become the Ageless and Unchanging God for me.

 I never realized how important and the magnitude of serving this unchanging and ageless God. Now, when I look back, I realize two things: First, I was no further ahead than the average Israelite in the wilderness. Think about it, they were so average and caught up in the rituals, they never took God inwardly and as a result, God could not penetrate their hearts and build their faith. Only two truly past the tests and were changed on the inside. Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter the promise land out of millions of Israelites in the wilderness with God.

The second thing I learned is that God can only become a personal God to each of us, only when His word is personalized into our hearts. It is strange to see how I used to repeat like everyone else in Church “I have a personal relationship with God”. But, as God taught me how all of it was nothing more than words, I felt like a complete fraud.

Another exceptional and valuable lesson God taught me and I don’t think I can truly expand on it now, but I need to bring this to your attention. Have you ever thought about Korah’s Rebellion in Numbers 16? Have you thought about what happened to them in verses 30-33?

This lesson was on my mind and heart all day yesterday because, at Church, the Pastor said something that struck me. He read Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” Then in his comments the pastor said, “although it is His will and His plan to sanctify us, but some of us simply refuse the process in our lives….We simply won’t allow Him to do the work in us.”

Here is the parallel I am trying to make. I bet most of us when we read Numbers 16:30-33 we do not give much thought about our own relationship with Him because this happened in the Old Testament. I bet when we claim Romans 8:29 our mind cannot comprehend that it would have anything to do with Numbers 16:30-33, unless the Holy Spirit steps in. So, in the story of Korah’s rebellion, these people were chosen by God not once, but twice. They were chosen as his people from Israel’s line and they were also chosen to be His line of priests.  When we know God personally, we stop looking at things from our point of view and what’s in it for us, but look at things from God’s point of view. What I mean there is that nothing matters more in the story than the fact that THEY PROVOKED GOD! As Christians, that should be the moral of the story, and that should be the one thing that moves us and what we meditate upon.

Here is how Matthew Henry concluded his commentaries on those verses: “The ruin of others should be our warning. Could we, by faith, hear the outcries of those that are gone down to the bottomless pit, we should give more diligence than we do to escape for our lives, lest we also come into their condemnation