I’ve been reading in the book of Job. I’m at the part where God is asking Job if he wants to take on Leviathan. Have you read the description of this beast? You should. It’s in Job 41. He’s impenetrable! Terrible teeth, rows of scales shut up tightly as with a seal- air cannot flow between them, and he breathes fire. Darts are as strands of straw to him. Verse 22 says, “…sorrow dances before him.” I’ve never seen a real live human killing dragon before, but I have read plenty of books with dragons in the. I’m telling you, Leviathan is WAY scarier than I could imagine. Job repents right after this, but I’m curious about something. How long did Job have to sit there listening to God? It must have been terrifying. At one point God asks Job, “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebuked God, let him answer it.” Job doesn’t have much to say.
I read something in Judges 10 this morning that moved me. God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had forgotten the goodness of God turning back to serving and worshiping the foreign gods of the countries surrounding them. Verse 7 says, “So the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel”. As a result, He let them be oppressed for by the Philistines & the people of Ammon. It took the Israelites EIGHTEEN years to be distressed enough to cry out to the Lord. He tells them that He won’t deliver them anymore. He’s done it before, but they forget Him and His deliverance to serve an idol that does nothing for them. “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress” He tells them. They know they’re toast so they say something like, “Hey, we know we’ve totally messed up here. Do whatever You think is best. Just deliver us!” Then they put away their foreign gods & served the Lord. They turned away from what they had been doing for almost two decades. They chose Him. This is the part that brings tears to my eyes, “And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.”
Psalm 33:10-11 says:
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
I am beginning to understand this merciful & gracious God. For so long I didn’t really see that part of Him. I saw only the part that does the punishing. I am seeing over and over and over again how often Jesus is moved with compassion for people in the New Testament. That doesn’t surprise me as much as seeing God the Almighty deliver Israel because His soul couldn’t endure their misery any more. My friend would tell me that it hurt him to sin because he knew it hurt the Father. I knew sin harmed me because it was wrong causing separation from God. I wanted to stick close to Him because I wanted to be protected, not because I felt loved by Him. I think that’s why it’s so hard for me to move on when I have sinned. Another friend recently wrote in response to my question about Lent, “my spiritual father often says “when you fall down, get back up.” Don’t beat yourself up about it; recognize in it your weakness and cry out to God for mercy and strength. Lent isn’t about keeping a rule; it’s about seeing that we, like the prodigal son, have strayed far, and lent is a time for us to return, to say we’re tired of the pig sty and to make our way back home, humble, and asking for mercy.” Later in the letter she tells me that mercy, in the eastern [Orthodox] context, is not so much asking to be spared what you deserve, but asking for healing, blessing, and wholeness, recognizing that our whole being is “infected” and in need of healing. You can read more about that here.
YES, I am in desperate need of healing.
Walking. Falling down. Getting up. Walking again. Trusting. Always Trusting. Walking in the path He has laid before us.
So here I go. I’m diving in. Getting deep.