So my darling online Bible study group and myself undertook a journey to read the entire old testament in 187 days. We have read for about a hundred plus days now and are presently reading the book of Isaiah. Considering the stories of Joseph, Esther, David etc which we have read and found quite enjoyable, Isaiah generally seems like a difficult book to read. We find ourselves sometimes asking questions like “what was that chapter talking about?” “What exactly was said?” “What does it refer to?” Etc.
I have a very dear friend whom I recently involved in the bible study plan where we both read and share what we learnt from the reading of the day.
Upon the study of Isaiah 15-19 the following conversation ensued between us:
Friend 1: Finished reading. Did not understand it. It made me tired.
Friend 2: Lol
Can you say a short prayer that God should please teach you what it is you’ve read. That you want to get the meaning as He intends it?
Friend 1: Ok I’ll do that.
Friend 2: To my mind He was cursing His enemies – Moab and Syria.
Friend 1: Yes I felt bad for them. He brought them up and made them seem happy only to bring them down.
Friend 2: Truthfully this reading is tough.
You for meet me when I dey 1 Samuel. The stories were sweet then. Lol
I’m afraid to be on God’s bad side.
Friend 1: Yeah. Very scary.
Friend 2: It is. Many people don’t want to read the bible so they don’t get to see the details. They’d rather just believe God is love and keep doing what they do.
Friend 1: Well yes and no.
Some people dont believe in the bible fully. Its a collection of events from a human’s eyes.
Friend 2: But with the Spirit of God. Yeah many don’t believe in God at all.
Friend 1: So I read, but dont take it too seriously. God is love to me. Case closed.
Friend 2: hmmm…
The thing with that view is that the bible itself says that that view of God is incomplete. Because it says He is love. And He is also a consuming fire. There are two major sides to His personality. He is rich in mercy. Yet people will go to hell. Because they refused to accept Him. If we keep thinking only “God is love” we may tend to think He’ll somehow forgive our sins even without us asking for forgiveness and genuinely repenting. Or that He will change His mind at the last minute and forget about people going to hell.
Friend 1: What I believe is simple. God is love because He is merciful, He forgives all. Yet when you sin and dont show you have manners by apologizing, you get burned. Different strokes for different folks.
Friend 2: Seen. Yet He doesn’t permit us to keep sinning deliberately and coming back for forgiveness simply because He’s merciful. If your hubby keeps cheating and apologizing will you buy it?
It’s really not about how you or I take it or what we believe. It’s all about what He’s said. The responsibility lies on us to find out what He’s said. He said He honours His word more than His name.
Friend 1: Ok.
Friend 2: His word is all written hence we study to learn it and as we read we ask His Spirit to teach us the mysteries in the word. God is extremely deep. We can’t really understand the bible with common sense. It has life in its pages. That’s where His Spirit comes in.
Friend 1: True.
Friend 2: You know if your hubby is cheating everyday God expects you to forgive him everyday? To hold no grudge against anyone no matter how hard? No human can do that. It’s difficult. Only by Him living in you and in full control of you can you do that.
Friend 1: Very true.
Friend 2: Can you give a Muslim your car to go to mosque with? Can you pray for other people for a whole week without saying any prayer for yourself? Having the heart of Jesus is not beans men. Lol
Friend 1: Very true. Jesus is great.
Friend 2: He’s even beyond great.
Friend 1: I agree.
Friend 2: Isaiah is not easy to read though. But we’ll ask for grace and we’ll finish.
Friend 1: Yes we will. Amen.
So what are your thoughts? Is God love only or is He also a consuming fire? May we continue to sin that grace may abound? Is it because of our apologies to Him that He forgives us our sins?
God bless you.