Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

IMG_5600There are people, even Christians, who believe the Bible isn’t relative for us today. It’s a bunch of ancient writings that don’t pertain to our culture. And it’s true, our culture is far different than that in the Old Testament, but God isn’t. He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Just because we justify some of our behaviors (sex before marriage is a big one) it doesn’t make it right. So many of our long-term consequences stem from turning our backs on the basic tenants in the Word.

But what I find even more astounding than the list of dos and don’ts is what we can learn from those faithful followers who’ve gone before us. Faithful, yes. Perfect, no. Yet, God took their disobedience and rebellion and wove it into His plan. So, even when we blow it, there’s hope!

In struggling to find forgiveness—or even the desire to forgive, I look to Joseph. When I can’t seem to find it in my heart to pray for these people, God reminds me of the young man, who through no fault of his own, was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery and spent years imprisoned. Yet, when he had the opportunity to pay back these brothers in kind, he instead said, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20) This reminds me that when someone betrays us, takes advantage of us and/or slanders us, God has a plan to use it. I then envision the betrayer as a vessel for God—not a vessel for destruction. And it changes everything.

Then there’s Jonah. Disobedient and rebellious, running from that which God asked him to do. But Jonah’s refusal was two-fold: He didn’t want to face the evil people of Nineveh because he feared for his life; and he didn’t want them to repent, because he wanted them to be judged for their sin. How many of us hold grudges, refusing to pray for those who hurt us? I’m guilty of this. And when the story of Jonah was brought to my attention on three separate occasions, I could no longer deny God was speaking to me. Message received.

However, there is another lesson learned from the book of Jonah. After three days in the belly of a great fish, he repented beautifully. Again, God sent him to Nineveh—and this time he went—but his heart hadn’t changed. Yes, he did as God asked, yet without a change of heart, it did him no good. I believe God is more concerned with our hearts than He is with our obedience. He didn’t need Jonah to save Nineveh—He didn’t need Jonah for anything. What He desired was to see Jonah transformed. Sadly, that didn’t happen—at least not from what we read.

Through Moses, we can learn to trust God’s power and strength when we’re asked to do something for which we don’t feel capable. Gideon reflects our need for reassurance that God is who He says He is. David, a man after God’s own heart, shows us that even the most faithful of servants can be derailed by lust and power—or anything else that takes our eyes off of Him. Esther exemplifies trust in the Lord, even though God’s name isn’t spoken even once in her story.

The examples go on and on. Every true-life narrative has the capability to speak to our hearts and keep us on the Lord’s path if only we see them as relative to our lives today. The Bible is the inspired Word of God—the breathing, living Word of God—relevant through the end of time.

Which of the Bible stories has impacted your life?

2 thoughts on “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

  1. The story of Joseph is one of my favorites. And Genesis 50:20 is a favorite of mine too which shows the redeeming quality of God. It’s the ‘beauty for ashes’ thing.

    Thanks again for your insight and transparency. I too, have a difficult time praying for people who I feel are missing the spiritual mark. So I ask myself, am I better than them as I have a critical heart looking at the flaws they display? Others sin seem so much worse on them than me! Yikes!!! I’m a work in progress!

    Grateful for His grace….grateful for you, my friend!

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