Hey everyone, thanks for keeping up with me on my journey through the Bible, my updates are probably going to be about once a month or so because there is so much that I’m having to focus on with our assignments, but I want to give you an overall idea of what I’ve been learning. So far we have studied Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel (1 and 2), and now we are finishing up Kings (1 and 2). What has struck me most since starting the school is the beauty of the story’s continuity, because the Bible is indeed a story. It’s a story of God’s love and creative design and purpose for the world, contrasted by humans continually choosing to do things their way instead of trusting in God’s way, summing up the essence of sin. However, as much as it is tempting to stop the story there, it doesn’t end yet. Throughout the mess and chaos that humans create as a result of their rebellion and continual determination to use their freedom of choice to do things their own way, God reveals the majesty of His sovereignty as He slowly unveils the plan He had from the very beginning to right all the wrongs and bring redemption to the very ones who rejected Him. It is easy to allow frustration and hopelessness to fester as I read through Exodus and Numbers and marvel at the Israelites rebel against God and refuse to trust Him for both their small needs and their big ones (These were the people who, only a year or so before, witnessed God do unthinkably impossible things on their behalf to deliver them from one of the richest, strongest, most educated nations of the world at the time). It’s tempting to get angry at the Israelites in Judges who, despite the beautiful, practical and completely culturally relevant law God gave through Moses, did “what was right in their own eyes” as the book continually tells us, and horror, destruction, and moral degradation are the result. Samuel is a bright light when David comes on the scene, but it’s followed by Kings which falls right back into the cycle of rebellion, chaos, rebellion, destruction, etc. The question I’m faced with is how is there any hope when people act like this? God knows everything people do, and yet He never rejects them or disowns them, but instead says that people are made in His image, destined to be like Him (Genesis), supposed to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus), and throughout Numbers and Deuteronomy calls Israel His “people.” How can He do this? He says that people are made in His image, yet they act in ways completely opposed to His character.
Leviticus showed me something that I wasn’t expecting as I realized that the point of the law was to show people who God is, and thus who they were meant to be (ie this is what God looks like, so this is what you are meant to look like). What the point was not was that this is a bunch of stuff that people have to do so that people can be holy and people need to figure out how they can follow all these rules: the revelation? It’s not about people! The whole thing, from Genesis to Revelation, is about God, from creation to the law to God’s redemption it’s never stopped being about Him. When we get into trouble is when we start to get focused on ourselves and think that we need to have the answers to life and we need to take care of ourselves and we have to have everything just the way we want it otherwise the world will fall apart. This was Adam and Eve’s issue, the people of Noah’s time’s problem, the Israelites’ problem in the wilderness and in the early years in Canaan, and it definitely was the problem for the kings of Israel and Judah who continually did what they thought was right based on their perception, not God’s.
So, what does God do with this? He’s not in the least surprised or shocked at our selfishness, but He does know how to deal with it. The thing that I loved most in reading Joshua was to see Israel (who has had such a hard time obeying God in the past) fully yielding themselves to Him and taking the land they were instructed to take even though they were hopelessly outnumbered and disadvantaged in a human sense. Most had never seen war, they didn’t have sophisticated weapons and they were on the offensive in a land they didn’t know and that was completely different from anything they had ever known, and yet God gives it freely into their hands and they have almost no opposition. What brought about this trust and obedience? These Israelites were the ones who did not grow up in Egypt where there was bountiful sources of food and security in living circumstances and a mindset of slavery where they depended on their masters, but they grew up in the wilderness where there was no one and nothing to depend on but God. They saw death, suffering, hunger and pain, but in the midst of that they saw God bring life, healing, love and provision for all their needs. This was enough to show them that depending on their own strength and understanding was not enough to get them through, but instead they needed to rely on God and His strength. This is what God does continually throughout His dealings with Israel when He allows pain and suffering to come as a result of their rejection of Him in order to show them the hopelessness of relying on themselves, versus the life and hope that comes from relying on Him. This is something I am taking to heart this week as I seek to ask God to show me the areas in my heart where I’ve been self-focused and relied on what I can see and understand instead of trusting in His wisdom and, what a concept, asking Him what He thinks before jumping to conclusions myself (something that is surprisingly hard in life). I hope these musing minister to you as they have to me, and I hope they find you well! Please pray for my health (I’m fighting off the remnants of a cold) and my emotions as God takes me deeper in this process of surrendering my will to Him. Blessings!
PS I also want to let you know what my financial situation is like. I have been able to fund my first two quarters (Yay Jesus!) but I still have one more quarter that God needs to provide for. The total that I need is around $2700 and it will be due sometime in the early/mid spring. If God asks you to contribute financially to my school then you can donate online at http://ywamla.org/donatepay-2/ and write Aubrey Simons for the name and CSBS for the school. If you would rather send a check then you can mail it to 13621 Wheeler Pl. Tustin, CA 92780 and make it out to me (that way I can pay directly from my account). Thank you so much for your prayers and support, I’m so thankful for all of you and look forward to sharing more about this journey as it goes onJ