I do a daily bible reading program. I've never read it in it's entirety. Ed Noble mentioned this in church and on his blog at the beginning of this year so I took him up on it. It's been mostly good, a lot convicting, and sometimes horribly disconcerting. In the Old Testament I've read Genesis through Deuteronomy and in the New Testament the Gospel of Matthew as well as Acts and Romans.
Are there parts of the Bible that you get hung up on? That you just can't get your head around? I love Romans. I love the way Paul explains our new relationship with God after Jesus came and died for our sins. I love his humanity in chapter 7 as he explains how he does what he hates to do. I'm really grateful that I go to a church that lets me know that it's OK to stumble. That God's grace covers all. I know being raised Catholic it didn't always feel that way. I know that as a catholic I felt out of the going to heaven game by the time I was eighteen, if not younger. The way that I lived my life from that point forward was kind of a confirmation that I thought I was going to Hell so I was going to make the most of the time that I had here on Earth. Easier yet, I decided not to believe in anything at all, which made it easier than ever to do whatever I wanted, regardless of the consequence.
Which had nothing to do with the opening sentence of the last paragraph. Sometimes I digress. I ran into a really disturbing passage in Deuteronomy the other day. It goes like this:
Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you. 54 Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, 55 and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities. 56 The most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter 57 the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For she intends to eat them secretly during the siege and in the distress that your enemy will inflict on you in your cities. - Deuteronomy 28:53-57
That's the worst of the chapter. From Deuteronomy 28:15-68 it's brutal. I mean, some really, really horrible consequences. I was feeling the revulsion of these words again as I was copying and pasting them onto this post. If I was joking around, it sounded to me like Ali talking about what he was going to do to an opponent before one of his fights. I have to be honest though, I don't think this is anything to joke about. If you know me, that's rare. If I had been an Israelite I would have been terrified. Hell, I'm terrified for them just reading it.
So here's my dilemna. I don't even know that I can call it a dilemna really. I think when you let Christ in your life you give up the right to question what you read in the Bible. Hmm, that's not it. I make a decision to have faith that the Word is right and that I don't understand everything. That's a little better. I think as a thinking human being I'm going to question things that confuse me. That don't seem to line up square in my perception. I think that I'm even going to be angry and confused about things that God says in his book.
Believe me, God can and will do whatever He wants. I'm not egocentric enough to think that I know better than Him. I just have a hard time reconciling the God of Deuteronomy with the God that I've been learning about in Romans. I understand Grace and Christ's sacrifice doing away with the old law. I understand that when I accepted Jesus into my life that I made a new covenant with God.
I've been reading The Shack. It's a good book, maybe a little too new agey for me. In a lot of ways it remined me of Illusions by Richard Bach. Which was an awesome book, it was one of the first books I read that poked some holes in my youthful conception (or non-conception) of God. There again, the author has God as Papa. Papa is this wonderful entity just oozing love and forgiveness. Same with the book version of Jesus. I think that the author (willie) painted them with what? Too bland of colors? I thought the Holy Spirit (sarayu) was well done. I guess whenever we try to write about God we are putting Him in a box and as I'm constantly reminded, He's a little too big to try and cage in and say "This is God."
Here's what's been happening as I'm writing this post. I'm realizing that God is way too big for me to try and pin down. That I can still have my doubts, my moments of confusion, and yes, anger and still love Him. There are still things that maybe I'm too new in Christ to comprehend since I haven't read the full story. I'll just keep praying that He will open my eyes to the things unseen.