Intro to My Next Bible Study!
Dear reader, guess what! After mountains of study and so much prayer, Bible Study number two is finally in the writing stage! The first week is well under way, so I am sharing the (draft) introduction with you. I do this for two reasons. First, I need the accountability to keep typing away! Second, I want to get your feedback in real time. I will continue sharing from the study each week, and I'd love to know what you'd like to see addressed, and what questions pop up in your mind.
I invite you to clear your mind of distractions for a moment, and ponder what God has to say to us today. Maybe this gorgeous scenery will help!
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15
In Romans 7, Paul went on something of a mini rant about doing what he doesn't want to do and not doing what he does want to do. It made me go cross-eyed the first few times I read it. But the more I did, the more the sentence quoted here resonated.
It’s a frustration I’ve had with myself on repeat. I don’t understand my own actions! Why do I keep making the same mistakes? Why do I have to keep learning the same lessons over and over? I’m not a dummy, so WHY?! (Paul identifies the culprit as sin.)
In this study, we’re looking at Scriptures that lead to the same frustrations and questions. As I read, I think, “I don’t understand your actions! You’re not dummies, WHY do you keep messing up?!
I’m left with the question: how can I do better?
Our goal in this study - yours and mine - is to look at the Scriptures where this plays out on a grander scale, and learn from it. What do we recognize in ourselves? What patterns of behavior emerge? What can we glean from this to do better ourselves?
As we take on this challenge, I believe we will learn a little something about ourselves. I believe God will bless our search for answers and our desire to do better. I believe that by being intentional, we can draw closer to God and become better reflections of Him.
So join me as we look at a specific period of time in the history of God with His people. We will start in the era of Judges, and run through Kings. This is a huge period of time, so we will take something of a bird’s eye view and dive in here and there for more detail.
I landed on this giant chunk of Scripture out of a search for what led God to go silent for 400 years before the New Testament picks up with His voice again. What had gone so wrong?
What I learned was that the failures of the people to obey Him far outweighed the successes. Worse than that, when God spoke loudly and clearly through His prophets, the people straight-up ignored Him far more often than not. As a parent, there have been plenty of times when I found myself in that position with my children. And my reaction, after exhausting myself? “Fine. Try it your way, you know where the bandaids are.”
Looking at the years before the silence, you can see why God would come to the decision to save His breath. And much like any loving parent, even in his exasperated silence, He was always watching, always ready to step in and bring rescue when His children called on Him.
As I read about moral failure after moral failure, I felt some of God’s frustration. And as I was exasperated with the people I was reading about, I was hit with the realization that I do the same things. How much must I frustrate God? But look how patient He has been with me! Look how much grace He lavishes on me! Look how completely He forgives and restores me!
And not just me; ALL of us!
Out of deep gratitude for that restorative mercy and grace, I long to be more like Jesus. I long to do better, to be a better example, and to help others do better.
Now we begin. We will look at the times of Judges and Kings, and will take a ton of “What Not to Do” lessons, and some valuable “What to Do” lessons, and we will examine ourselves to shed the things that are holding us back and build up the things that will draw us closer to Jesus!
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I'd love to hear from you! Does this resonate with you? Do you feel the need to examine why you keep doing the things you don't want to do and figure out how to do more of the things you do want to do? I'd love to know some of your specific struggles and questions.
I don't want to leave you with only this introduction that doesn't give answers to the questions I brought up. So let's focus on that grace and redemption that Jesus gave us. He is merciful and loves to help us grow. Let's make this our focus today: look for the little things we can do today to be more like Jesus.
Thank you for going on this journey with me!