Read: 2 Chronicles 36:1-21
But Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord.
2 Chronicles 36: 12
When I first became a Christian, I struggled to read the Bible. There are some things in the Bible that are just plain hard to read, whether it’s because it can run counter to our 21st Century, Western sensibilities or the words, descriptions, or concepts don’t seem to make sense. I think there is some of this in today’s reading. I really struggled with one question for a while – if God is truly both omniscient (knows everything even before it happens) and omnipotent (all powerful), why does He allow certain things to happen? For instance in today’s reading, why would He allow so many men to be kings of Israel and Judah when He knew they would do evil (verses 5, 9, and 11) and lead His chosen people so far astray?
As I mentioned in a previous post, I love to read. Part of the answer to some of these questions came through reading (C.S. Lewis has some interesting things to say about the question of omniscience, omnipotence, and free will in his book Mere Christianity). Perhaps more importantly, taking the Alpha Course really helped me to come to peace with these kinds of questions (if you have questions about Christianity, I strongly encourage Apha: http://vineyardwheeling.com/the-alpha-course/). During the Alpha course, I realized that I was approaching the Bible with an arrogant attitude. I was assuming that either I should be able to understand the Bible on my own or that if I couldn’t understand it or agree with some of the concepts, the fault wasn’t mine – I couldn’t understand it because it was an “outdated” book that didn’t fit modern life.
God used the opportunity to humble me and help me to understand that His ways and thoughts are higher than mine (Isaiah 55: 8 – 9). He showed me that just because I think something or perceive something in a certain way, that doesn’t make it so. Paul provides an explanation of this in 1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 31, but essentially he says that the most foolish plan of God’s is much wiser than even the wisest of human plans.
In Alpha, I also learned that God promises to give us the wisdom that we need to understand His Word. James writes in James 1:5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” As I began my Bible reading each day by asking God for the wisdom to see His Word as He would have me to see it, something amazing happened – I began to gain an understanding that I never imagined; God’s Word came alive (I had never understood what someone meant when they said that). There are still passages I stumble over and struggle with in the Bible, but it’s different now because I know God has changed my perspective and will continue to provide me the wisdom to understand His story, His plan as revealed through Jesus, and my role in all of it.
Father, I believe You when You promise to give us the wisdom necessary to understand Your Word if we ask. I ask You for wisdom and that you open my mind and my heart to You as I read Your Word. Please speak to me and help me to understand what You mean in Your Word. Please help me to let go of anything in my life and thinking that keeps me from You and prevents me from seeing what You have for me in Your Word. I thank You for salvation through Jesus; it’s in His name I pray… Amen.