Day 3!!! I'm sticking with it so far! Huzzah!
Anyways, I wanna try and get this done before Youth Group tonight, so let's see if I can! (I didn't.)
Pray for me about jobs. I have interviews coming up and I get to hear back from other interviews soon. Pray for the kids in the Youth Group I help with. Being a teen sucks, and they need all the God they can get (don't we all). Pray for my mental health, I'm going through a depression slump and I need to keep pushing through it.
1 Samuel 2
Heck yeah, Finally finishing up that first chapter of Luke.
So, this starts right after Mary was told about the fact she was going to have Jesus.
And it starts off with something amazing. The first thing Mary does is go to Elizabeth. Her darling cousin who was also having a miraculous pregnancy and would be able to help Mary learn how to deal with being preggers.
The moment Mary approaches Elizabeth, fetus John the Baptist jumps for joy. All shall know the Lord, even the unborn. The second this happens, Elizabeth immediately knows what is going to happen. She knows Mary is having a kid, and that the kid is God. She felt it deep in her heart and just knew.
It's pretty freaking rad. I wanna have those types of experiences, and I want to be able to just know and understand.
The next thing they do is praise God. Immediately.
Then John is born. And the first thing that happens is everyone tries to police God's will. "No, that can't be his name." "No, tradition states we have to do this." "You can't actually mean that?"
God wanted that kid to be named John. He didn't want the baby to have the name of his family, as he was going to be much more than his family.
It took Zachariah finally acting out in faith and deciding to follow the command God gave him through Gabriel for things to get done. And, by doing so, the punishment that God had given him was finally taken away. He was able to speak once more.
Another thing that I've learned from God... when I finally stop struggling and actually figure out what I need to do to be right with God, God moves on. When I'm in a tough place in my life, the moment I realize it I pray this to God, "God, please let me figure out what I'm missing, point to whatever it is that I'm messing up on right now." Why? Because I know that the struggles exist for you to learn something you need for later. And, well, if I need to learn something, can I please figure it out now instead of much more of whatever hassle is going on?
The rest of this chapter is about John and the role he has in God's plan. That he will lead people back to God to prepare the way for Jesus.
Honestly, I wish I could have my life plan as laid out as John. But, hey, God knows what is going on.
1 Samuel 2
This is a very highlighted chapter in my Bible.
Mainly because it starts with such a good prayer.
Hannah had prayed for a son, she was old and wanted a kid. So, she prayed. She promised she would give the child to God, she just wanted to have a child.
And just like Abraham and Sarah, and just like he later did with Zachariah and Elizabeth, God came through and gave a child.
This child was Samuel, a prophet famous for leading King David.
But the first thing Hannah does is pray over her son and pray about God's goodness. And then goes and gives Samuel to the temple to serve God, just as she promised.
You should read the prayer, which is verses 1-10. It's amazing. It's a great prayer for uplifting God and talking about the wonders of God. It also is referenced in the part of Luke we were just reading, in Mary's prayer.
Remember, Jesus is in every book of the Bible. Jesus is referenced from the first verse of Genesis to the last word of Revelation. He is everywhere.
And, after the prayer, it goes into talking about Eli's sons.
Eli was the priest that Samuel was raised by. And he had two sons that were absolute trash. And then Samuel, who rose above them and stayed on task.
The older sons were off sleeping with the temple workers and skivving off of their duty. Samuel was focused on God and devoted himself wholly to the Lord. He may have been raised in Eli's home, but he was given to the Lord, not to Eli.
And, because of his faithfulness to God, and because he didn't fall down the same path as the others in the house, he was honored and revered by all men. He was good.
And it ends up biting Eli in the butt. Due to the evil ways of his sons, God had no choice but to punish the household. They were supposed to be the priests, and therefore held to a higher standard, and yet they couldn't meet the lowest standards. But, because of how Samuel turned out, not all is lost for Eli.
Because the goodness you do helps and effects others. It never hurts to do the right thing in the long run, even if it is super painful in the short run.
Wow, look. Another prayer that talks about Jesus. And about why you need to follow the word of the Lord.
This one is... a lot more severe.
This is during one of the eras in which no one was doing the right thing. They've been refusing to deal with God for so long that God has finally decided enough was enough. He's about to send them off to the Babylonians and have them learn there. Just as I was saying above, God makes us deal with pain and the suffering of our actions when we refuse to learn from them and move forward. And so, after generations of people refusing to trust in God and refusing to do as He commands, He decides to stop going out of His way to protect them and let them see what comes next.
Sometimes we need that.
The Jewish people did at this time. And, so, God did.
God calls out the city. The city that hasn't helped those who needed it, who was selfish and without remorse. And He promises to completely end it so something new can happen.
A lot of people have confusion over this. How can a God who is all about love and kindness and forgiveness plainly tell His people that He's going to throw them to the wolves and they're gonna be destroyed? How can the God of love be so hateful?
First off, tough love is a thing. And it is a very good thing.
And two, deciding you've had enough isn't hate. God forgives sins because of His covenant with Abraham. Because of His covenant with us. He promised that He would help us and guide us and forgive us... in exchange for us listening and loving Him. It is a two way street. So many people forget that.
God does 95% of the work. And, if we decide to not do our 5%, He is more than in His rights to not uphold His 95%. He often chooses not to. Out of the goodness of His heart and His love for us and His understanding that we're human and make mistakes, He doesn't usually do so. He gives us chances upon chances upon chances.
But, after a while, He realizes that it isn't us being slow to the uptake that's the issue. And, it isn't that we're just stumbling. It's that we're openly and willingly not doing what we're supposed to. And, well, that's when God says enough. If you don't want to uphold your end of the bargain, and are going out of your way to actually break your end of the deal, I'm done. And I'll be done until you realize how much I was helping you.
It's a big thing that a lot of people don't seem to get. And, well, I know it's a hard thing to explain. But, just know, God saying enough is enough, now y'all are going to have to deal with it isn't God hating the Jewish people.
They brought this upon themselves.
Just like you do when you knowingly do wrong and then have to deal with the consequences of your actions.
And another prophecy from Ezekiel warning someone things are about to go down.
Remember, God's way is the right way. And, if you stand against that, you're going down. It may not be right away, but one day it won't go too well. And it's because God will always prevail.
This should be both a warning and hope to everyone.
A warning because God will not let you get away with garbage.
Hope because God will prevail.
No matter what happens, no matter how bad the situation is, no matter how much you trip up... God's plan will not fail. You cannot ruin God's plan. And neither can anyone else. If God wants you to do something, nothing will stop God from getting you there.
The Egyptians thought they could control the Nile, and God said... hmmmm. Nah.
And so, He struck down Egypt.
And it stayed down. Egypt has never been as prolific as it was at this time. Sure, it had a few more interesting times, like Cleopatra... but it was never the monolith of the desert like it used to be.
God has been speaking to us throughout time about His promises, His love for us, Jesus, and how things are going to go.
Sometimes they're overfilled with praises and happy things. The scary power of God is referenced, but isn't over done.
Sometimes they're downright terrifying. The only thing that seems happy in these words are the promise that God is with us and that God's will will be done.
Both are good.
Even if we don't see it. Even if we don't like it.
Both are good.
God's plan will happen whether or not you are on board with it. Will you work with God? Or will you work against God? It's all up to you.
You'll like it a lot more if you are with God instead of against God. That's for sure.