As the back door of July shuts and opens up into August there seemed little hope for some scorching sunny days ahead this summer, and yet I remained hopeful. In the early hours of August 2nd my eyes opened in the middle of the night to the sound of rain. At first the sound seemed to bring disappointment yet I soon realised it was soothing and relaxing. Quietly anticipating a brighter day ahead, I reached for my Bible beside my pillow. Uncertain which of the various books to read that very moment, I flicked through several books. As the pages turn, I’m taken back to the first time I picked up the Bible to read for myself some few years ago.
There are several ways to approach the Bible when you are familiar with it. However how do you approach it when you have no guidance, no knowledge and no expectation? Logically, you’d read from the beginning page just like most books right? After all, the chances are if you read from page 700 you’ll be lost and confused. That’s 700 pages skipped and you’d wonder what happened in the pages you missed. If you know nothing about the God of the Bible you would most likely start from page 1 and assume you’ll know much about Him. And so I begun from the first book of Genesis – it was exciting – creation of the world and creation of man. I moved on to the next book, Exodus and was totally blown away. The power of God was displayed incredibly! It was awesome and I applauded God because His demonstrated power did not disappoint my expectations of God – so thumbs up God! In the same book of Exodus the introduction of the 10 commandments sounded reasonable to me because ‘law to stop people from doing bad’ so thumbs up again God.
Moving on to the next book, Leviticus, I paused in the early pages. What were my thoughts of God by now – ‘pretty awesome and scary’. ‘I do not want to get on His bad side’ clearly. And yet somehow I continued into Leviticus barely trying to motivate myself through the ceremonial requirements etc., into the book of Numbers – there were so many names I couldn’t keep up!! Also there were so many laws!!! Whoever told me there were only 10 commandments lied to me! Dos and Don’ts. Overly discouraged with the many “You shall…”, “you shall not’s…”, I paused. What would you do when faced with a God who required so much from you? Drop the Bible? Continue reading? Call the people who follow Him crazy for even trying to “do” ten out of over five hundred other commandments? What would you do?
What did I do? I skipped pages! Not a few hundred but over a thousand pages. Yes I know it’s cheating but I call it a ‘leap of faith’. What was it about the God of the Bible that believers held on to? Four books in from the beginning and I was dreading His impossible requirements and preparing mentally to cling on in dreading fear. And yet there had to be more! Uncertainty flooded my mind but there really had to be more to this God! Was it really fear that hooked believers onto Him? What was it?
His goodness. Embedded in the pages of judgment and wrath, dos and don’ts, was the heart of a Saviour and a Redeemer. Understand this – the moment I picked up the Bible to read that time, my heart was opened to discover God. I was expecting to discover God and I did discover God. From creation, to sinful man, to flooding the earth, to making covenants with righteous men, to destroying lawless people, to signs and wonders, to parting the red sea in order to save His people and giving hundreds of laws – His power and authority was demonstrated no doubt. God is awesome in power. He’s God and He can do anything. But truthfully, that discovery presented an all powerful Being whom nobody was to mess with and it seemed scary. The concept of God is scary to many because no one can control such a Being and generally we hate not being in control. However His goodness was undeniably addictive.
In my pursuit to discover God in the Scriptures, I found God. My heart couldn’t handle the weight and uncertainty of such a powerful Being who was good and a judge I couldn’t relate to. Although made in His image and likeness, He seemed pretty far and up there. Although He heard the cry of my heart and promised never to leave nor forsake me, He still seemed pretty far away. However, I took a leap of faith and a thousand pages later Jesus Christ stepped in to present a Father…