As most of you know, I am currently living abroad in England and studying with Youth With A Mission. I am a trainee, apart of their 9-month, intensive Biblical studies school called the School of Biblical Studies (I’ve written more about this school HERE). And we’ve sure come a long way since the last post I wrote on here. In my last post, we had only gotten through 6 books. Now, we have finished studying the entire New Testament (except for Revelation, which we will be studying last) and are 4 books into the Old Testament. We finished up Numbers last week and will be starting on the book of Deuteronomy this next week. That’s 30 books of the Bible. Wow. We’re almost half-way through and, let me tell ya, it’s been so so so GOOD. Busy, stressful, mind-blowing, hard, and tiring, but GOOD.
God is so good you guys. I wish I could put into words just how good He has been these past 4 and a half months. He has been blowing my mind with revelations of His love and grace, but also of His being. WHO God is. How BIG He is. How GREAT He is. How JUST He is. How POWERFUL He is. HOW HE IS. As we have started studying the Torah (first five books of the Bible; the Law), I have been completely blown away with just how much bigger God has become within my finite perspective of Him. And my view of just how big He is continues to increase with each passing day spent in His Word.
Each book presents different aspects of God; all following the theme of His pursuit to dwell with His people, in all of His greatness and glory.
In Genesis, He’s the God who makes a covenant with His chosen nation, Israel (Gen. 12:1-2). He is 100% Elohim (Creator, all-powerful, sovereign), yet He is also 100% Yahweh (“YHWH” – personal, unchanging, covenant-maker). It’s a beautiful paradox that shows how God is completely sovereign over the earth, but He is also completely personal in His relationship with His people. He delights in them, loves them, guides them, and makes them a promise; to bless them to be a blessing (Gen. 12:2).
In Exodus, He is the God who is delivers Israel out of Egypt by the power of His mighty hand (Ex. 29:46a). In Egypt, He displays His power over the false egyptian gods by sending plagues upon the nation, which counteract the hold that the belief in these gods have over the people. In the exodus, He shows His power to overcome the enemy and bring freedom. In the wilderness, at Mt. Sinai, God shows His power to Israel in order to begin shaping them into His people. He is Elohim, but He is also Yaweh in this book. Through the giving of the tabernacle instructions, He is preparing a place to dwell with His people (Ex. 29:46b). The detailed instructions show how great and serious the power of God is, but also how He, in all of His power, wants so desperately to dwell with His people.
In Leviticus, God calls His people to live in holiness. This book is such an evident display of God’s holiness. The law given is God’s call for the people to walk in holiness, just as He himself is holy (Lev. 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7). As He is giving instructions of how to live in holiness, He is encouraging them to emulate His holiness. Of course, that is quite a difficult thing to do. But that’s part of the point. The point of not being able to completely follow the Law was to show the people just how holy God is, and how much they needed Him. In turn, this is just a greater display of how great He is.
In Numbers, God proves to be faithful to His faithless army. As the 1st generation of Israel rebels against Him, He is patient. He is just in His judgment. He is faithful in light of their faithlessness. Then, He proves His power to redeem through the faith of the 2nd generation as they make their way into the promised land (Numbers 20). As Israel has grown to know and trust Him, He gives them the power to defeat their enemies. He begins displaying Himself to the surrounding nations through His chosen people.
Over and over and over, God’s majesty, soverignty, rule, and power are displayed so evidently. And the more evident this great side of God becomes, the more and more and more significant the personal relationship He desires to have with us becomes.
This has been what’s blown me away so much in the past few weeks. This great God, who made order out of chaos in the creation of the world; the God who split sea and earth; the God who defeated armies in the thousands. This God. He delights in me. Little ole’ me. He loves me oh so firecely and relentlessly. He desires to be in relationship with me, His beloved child.
I almost don’t feel worthy. I’m just abounding in so much thankfulness. That the God of the universe would turn His face and ear toward me. That He would come to me in the very midst of my brokenness and pour out His love and His grace and His strength and His light and His life and His patience and His kindness on me. That He delights in me and cares for me. I couldn’t be more thankful for just how great He is. Just how good He is.
And the fact that I will never, ever fully grasp His greatness, just shows how much I will consequently never be able to fully and completely grasp the love that He has for me. And that’s just what makes His love oh so much more overwhelming and beautiful.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness fo God.” / / Ephesians 3:18 ESV
This prayer written by Paul to the church in Ephesus is something that has so resonated with me in this time. More specifically, I think the last bit holds so much significance pertaining to the lesson I’ve been learning about the greatness of God and His love. “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” That’s a funny little bit of irony, huh? How can you know something that surpasses knowlegde? You can’t.
His love is something that surpasses the finite capacity of our human understanding. And the very fact that we are unable to comprehend that love should bring us to our knees in utter, overwhelming awe and thankfulness.
What a love. What are words that could fully encompass the complex, simple, and vast love of God.