In the first book of the Bible, we find promises made by God and given to a certain people who later became the nation of Israel. In the book of Exodus, this group was led by Moses, to whom God gave commands for the people to follow. Right out of the gate the nation stumbled with these rules. Though it was a sign of things to come, God sticks with them. We find an important foundational lesson in these early years:
- No one can fully keep God’s commands. No one is perfect. Only God is perfect.
Though this is the reality, there is good news even in the commands and rules God gives, such as those found in the book of Leviticus…
- God provides a way for an imperfect people to have relationship with Him.
When we catch up with these guys years later, we find them getting settled in with their new leader, Joshua, after the death of Moses. Despite their disobedience at times, this imperfect group goes on an absolute militaristic tear through the land given to them by God. But, it was prophesied by God that as they settled into the land, they would “eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant.” (Deuteronomy 31:20) God led Israel into the land He promised to them, knowing that his own people would forsake their promises towards Him. This leads us to our third and fourth lessons:
- God works through our failures (and successes!) to accomplish his purposes.
- God is true to His word. He is faithful. Always.
As I have been reading through the Bible this year, I am forced to acknowledge that I have a lot in common with this broken people. These are a few of the lessons I have learned. I see my failures set in juxtaposition to a faithful God; the inwardly complaining, self-justified, quick-temperedness flesh next to the continually gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, Holy God. Yet I see how He does work through me, in spite of myself. It’s amazing!
And ultimately, I have been given One who was perfect, coming from heaven yet also born out of this flawed nation of Israel. In Him was no sin. He followed His Father’s commands 100%. God worked through Him to accomplish his purposes. Thank you, God, for making a way for us to have relationship with you by giving the gift of Jesus! That’s the best lesson of them all!