Pray for my Job Situation
I am back for Day 2!
I had a job interview today for a job in my field that uses my degree and matches up with my past experience. I think it went well, but please, feel free to pray about the job. I just want to have the right job that God wants for me. I know He will provide.
Anyways, today's reading:
Let's get to it!
So, yesterday we left off with Zachariah being told by the angel that he's going to have a son soon.
An angel. From Heaven. Zachariah has a freaking angel standing right in front of him telling him about how amazing his future son will be. How he will save people and help lead them back to God and help save the world.
And Zachariah's first response is: I don't believe you. How do I know you're real.
It wasn't like this was a weird voice, or an urging, or a dream. This was an angel, standing right in front of his face. Just like the Israelites had a literal whirlwind of fire in front of them through the desert and they still didn't feel like listening to God.
And so, Gabriel says that enough is enough. God's plan is going to happen despite your unbelief, but you're not going to be able to tell anyone until it happens, because you chose to not believe a literal angel right in front of you.
Now, remember. Angels don't look like humans with wings. They don't.... blend in. They are crazy looking, obviously supernatural beings. This wasn't like, asking your friend if they're sure that's what the boss said. This is like a divine, terrifying being standing in front of you, and you refusing to believe that it might have an idea of things you don't.
As a priest, Zachariah would have known the story of Abraham and Sarah. Better than most. Therefore, he would have known that what Gabriel was telling him was entirely possible.
And yet, he chose disbelief.
(Hey, look, this is a parallel to us today. We are told things that we know and yet try to act like we have no clue and it can't be real.)
And, speaking of parallels, this then goes right into Mary's story. We know Mary's story. But, having it immediately as a contrast to Zachariah's is really interesting.
Same angel, same announcement. Different responses.
Zachariah: What? Prove it.
Mary: I don't get the how, but okay.
Where Zachariah had doubted, Mary believed. She expressed her confusion, but never said it was impossible. He made excuses as to why it couldn't happen. She stated a confusion but didn't fight it.
There's a huge difference.
You don't have to understand what's going on. You usually won't, to be honest. But you need to accept that God knows what is up. Because He is in charge of everything. He knows how it will happen, even if you don't. You can ask for clarification, like Mary, like Gideon. But, you should not doubt God. Especially when He's giving you a clear sign.
God understands your fear and your doubt. But, as you get to the deeper stages of faith (like, idk, the one that a priest may have), God expects you to trust where He's going, even if you don't get how it'll happen.
I currently am stressed and have fears about my future. But, at the same time, I know that God is going to get me there, even if I don't get it. I have trust in God, even if I'm confused. And that's what God wants. He knows you won't always be able to understand the how or the why. He just wants you to trust Him to lead you where you need to be.
Be like Mary, not like Zachariah.
Malachi 4 is the last chapter of the New Testament. It is the last thing to read before the joy and hope of the Gospel.
And it is God laying down the law.
It is God being very straightforward. Warning us that we got to get our crap together. The lawless, the wicked, the evil will not survive. They will be destroyed by God when the time comes. There is no escape. You cannot hide your sin from God, and you cannot hide your state of your heart from God. He will see you and your intentions and will strike you where you stand.
But, if you are with God, He will use you to help and raise you up to glory. This is a renewal of His covenant, His promise, that this is what He will do. If you are with God, He will heal you of all pains you've ever had, and lift you up. He will fill you with joy and thanksgiving. He will let you help in condemning the evil that was attacking you for your mortal life.
He will send the prophets to let you know when this will be. And when that happens, you need to make sure you're right with God and have done your part to make the world a better place according to God's plan. Or... well... you'll have a bad time.
Some people need to be smacked in the face to understand the gravity of their actions or the repercussions of their choices. And, well, this is a good short little chapter that leaves no wiggle room to how God sees people who think they can get away with being wicked people.
God sees. And God has no patience for that crap.
Get yourself together.
As boring as this book can be, I actually have found a newfound love for it in the past few years. It started with a Bible study I did that paired the Gospels up with Leviticus. Especially the Sermon on the Mount.
Seeing how Jesus's actions reflect the laws of Leviticus was an amazing moment for me spiritually. And made Leviticus a lot less of a slog. I recommend it.
Anyways, chapter 10 is actually one of the story bits of Leviticus!
It's the story of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron that sinned and broke God's laws about how to be a priest.
Thing is, there are stories in other parts of the Bible that have people editing the worship of God and not being killed, and sometimes even being rewarded. But, thing is, there's a big reason that these two were killed.
Intention and heart.
Just like in these other passages we've gone through today (amazing how they're all related, right?), it's evident that God looks at the heart. God stares at your soul and looks at the thing that is driving you. Is it doubt? Or faith? Is it self greed? Or is it trying to follow God?
It matters. God sees.
He knows that we will mess up, but as long as we do what we know is right, that's what matters to God (Genesis 4:7).
Other times that worship has been edited, it has been okay because the heart of worship was still there. This time? No dice.
These two were going against orders. They literally just were made priests. They just received instruction directly from God. And yet, here they were, making up their own rules. "Who cares what the God who literally walked with us to safety in a giant tornado of fire told me to do? I'm gonna do it my own way!" And God was like, are you kidding me?
They were selfish, their hearts were only on their own gain, and they didn't trust God's way as the best way. And, so.... they were punished. Was it harsh? Yes. But they, of all people, understood the importance of God. I mean, they were priests! And yet, they didn't think to follow God.
It's the same disbelief that Zachariah had with Gabriel. A giant fire cyclone? Nah. A giant angel? Nah.
(You may want to think about anything in your life that God has been trying to make obvious you need to get your stuff together on, that you've been ignoring because you don't wanna)
Jeremiah starts this chapter with the opposite of what we've been reading. Instead of starting off by threatening everyone who has been doing wrong, God starts off with hope.
Jeremiah is already in a bad place. They're exiled and terrified for the future.
So, instead of threatening them, and instead of warning them to knock it off, He's letting them know it's gonna be alright.
Sometimes we need the smack in the face, and sometime we need a hug. This is a hug.
"Just talk to me. I'll be there for you." He tells Jeremiah. "I will destroy those who have harmed you. I will destroy the evil people who have been cruel to you." It's the same promise, but turned away from us for once. It's the same promise, but turned so we understand how it is a good message that is full of hope, and not just a scary thing of despair.
That God will destroy everything that has been bad, that has tainted good things, and He will bring healing to it all. But ripping out the evil, good can grow back and take over once more. You just gotta trust God.
Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes God lets us have seasons of pain. But God rips the pain and suffering away and replaces it with healing. God lets evil people show their true colors, and then destroys them. Those that were hurt by people being selfish will be healed.
God isn't malevolent. He is benevolent.
He's looking forward to defeating the odds, looking forward to rubbing it in everyone's face. He enjoys proving His power by doing what everyone else calls impossible. "it's impossible to redeem that man." And God made Saul into Paul. "It's impossible for anything good to come out of this." And God had those dry bones come to life.
God likes to make sure that no one can question that it was anything other than God that acted. He doesn't want people to take His praise. He doesn't want people to be able to explain away what He has done. God is obviously God, and He wants everyone to see it.
But it does end with God warning Jeremiah.
"I may have promised you this. But, remember, I need you to do your part. If you start taking me for granted again. If you start to be selfish. If you start to ignore me and disregard me. I'll stop helping you."
God is doing pretty much all of the work. He just wants you to trust Him.
Trust is one of the scariest things in the world for people. But, if you can't trust God, then who can you trust?
In today's readings, do you notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to obey, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in?
Yes! A flowing line through all of these is that God needs us to trust Him. God understands that we don't understand. We can't get it. We aren't omnipotent. But, I can trust God. I may not get where I'm going, but I can trust God. And, according to these chapters, that is enough.
God just wants us to have faith in Him. He sets everything else up. We just gotta trust Him more. Also, as I said a few times, He needs for us to have our heart in the right place and keep our motivations in check.
But, if we can do that, God promises that He will guide us and lift us up when needed. And, honestly, that's more than enough of a promise for me.
What do you learn about God, about yourself, or about the world?
I love how these chapters combined just drive home God's sovereignty. Like, dang. They just weave together a repeated reminder that God will take care of those who trust Him. And, well, I know that I trust God. While reading these, I wasn't nervous or anxious, I was at peace and filled with hope. Because I knew that God would be lifting me up.
Is there one verse or thought that stands out to you today?
Trust in God. Have your heart with Him. And check your motivation. Make sure you aren't driven by selfishness or pride. And freaking listen! God knows that we aren't that smart, He will make sure you can pick up on His signs. And yet, here we are, putzing away and pretending we can't understand what God wants. We need to get over ourselves and stop pretending God doesn't know exactly how to talk to us.
I need to listen to God more. And trust my urges more. Instead of trying to just be.