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Running With Horses November 17, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Christianity.
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Mentally, I know that there is only one God who is the same in both the New Testament and the Old Testament.  Yet one thing that has always struck me is how different the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament come across in the Bible.  The God of the Old Testament feels legalistic and stern, almost to the point of being heartless.  The God of the New Testament feels loving and gentle.  He seems to be more concerned with the plight of poor people and having compassion for sinners.

My perception of a dual-faced God is gradually being clarified.  The bible study I’m in just finished a six-week series on Jeremiah.   We started with God calling Jeremiah and sending him a vision of a boiling pot.  God tells him, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land…. I will pronounce my judgements on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.”  Jeremiah 1:14,16.  We finished in Jeremiah 29, where Judah has been exiled into Babylon, and God tells them “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters….When the seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:6-7, 10-11.

I think it’s interesting that God exiles Judah into Babylon as a judgment for their sins, yet when they get there, his attitude isn’t “Gotcha!  …Bet you’ll remember to listen next time, bastards.”  Rather, he follows through with his word while at the same time loving them and wanting them to prosper.  “This is how it is, but they’re part of my plan and I still want the best for you.”

 I don’t know if God exiled Judah into Babylon because those were the natural consequences of their actions or to discipline them.  Perhaps both.  But God never lost his poise.  How awesome it is to serve a God who knows what he’s doing and who has plans to make us the best that we can be – even when we don’t think much of ourselves.  When Jeremiah (who initially had reservations about his age) asks God why the wicked prosper, God tells him: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?  If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”  Jeremiah 12:5

Perhaps one day I, too, will run with horses.

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