The past two weeks have been a humbling, eye-opening, and emotional roller coaster ride, but I have learned so much and seen God’s glorious goodness in so many different ways that I wouldn’t change any of it for anything! During the past two weeks I read 1&2 Chronicals, Isaiah, and Mark, I inductively studied 1&2 Kings and Matthew, I attended my second night of Campus Ministry, I shared a very vulnerable devotional with all my classmates, I tried fire-breathing for the first time, I devoured all kinds of new food at a Hong Kong banquet, I pulled an all nighter in order to finish an assignment, and I finally got to see my base members in action as they performed some wonderful dramas for the elderly at a social services event.
Every second I spend learning about different books in the Bible sends my whole being soaring, and I feel so completely filled with joy and excitement. 1&2 Kings and Matthew were so good, for such different reasons. After reading Deuteronomy in week four, honestly, the whole Old Testament just makes so much more sense and is so much more enjoyable to read. Previously I would have never imagined I could gain so much insight and wisdom for my own modern day life while reading the histories of Ancient Kings! Our lecturer for 1&2 Kings was an absolutely awesome teacher who just so happened to study the Bible in Taiwan with one of my friends from Lake Tahoe. What a small world! I find this very exciting, because I love discovering little connections like that! As well as that connection, just everything this lecturer taught hit home so hard for me. There wasn’t a single application of scripture she shared that didn’t immediately drop my jaw with revelation or conviction.
Throughout 1&2 Kings we see God fulfilling all His promises, both for blessings and for curses, depending on whether the current king and the nation are faithful and righteous, or unfaithful and evil. King David shares with his son Solomon such a good simple summary: “Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statues, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.” There are amazing signs from God, incredible blessings, epic prophets (Elijah is one of my absolute favorite people in the whole Bible), and yet there are so many bad kings! There were times while studying these books when I started to feel so frustrated, like, ‘Why is everyone so dumb! Just obey God already!” and then I remembered that I still disobey God too, despite seeing all the wonderful stuff that He has done in my life. Gurgle. Conviction. Gurgle.
One story that I really, really related to is found in 1 Kings 13. In this story, a prophet is sent to prophecy to king Jeroboam, and God tells him that he must not eat or drink during his journey, and that he should not return the way he came. The prophet shares his message from God, performs a healing, and turns down the king’s offer to dine with him and receive gifts from him. But then, on his way home, he listens to another prophet, goes back the way he came, and goes to eat and drink with him. As a result, he gets mauled by a lion. So dumb, right? He had already resisted a much bigger temptation, but then he gives in and disobeys for something not even as appealing. If he had of obeyed, he would not have been mauled by the lion. Just dumb. And yet I can relate so much. I recently experienced a time where because I obeyed God on something for so long and felt successful in it, I let my pride take over, I let my guard down, and definitely started to develop an attitude like I deserved to indulge a little bit because I was doing so well. That really didn’t turn out too great for me, I assure you. I may not have been mauled to death by a lion, but I definitely learned my lesson. When God says obey, obey, and keep obeying! Don’t put a time limit on it and don’t let your confidence convince you that you are suddenly impervious to making a mistake you resisted once.
I enjoyed our teaching for Matthew so much as well. One of my roommates who is extremely diligent, wise, and thorough, and who also used to be schoolteacher, taught us. For 1&2Kings I knew I didn’t know that much and I was ready to have my mind blown with new knowledge. For Matthew, I was like ‘oh yeah, I know the Gospels pretty well, this will be a more cruisey week.’ Wrong. There is a theme that is starting to really develop during my BCC time… The more I learn, the more I realize just how little I actually know. So it was exciting to learn so many new things about a book I thought I already knew so well. In particular, I feel like I have a much better understanding of the original hearers and readers, and their perspective on what Jesus taught, especially the Jewish-Christian audience that the author of Matthew predominately wrote his Gospel for.
So, overall, it is all very good. Our base could definitely use prayer right now though, as we have quite a few members of our team who are very sick and need healing! For me personally, pray that my attitude would be one of receiving and rejoicing in the positive aspects of every thing I encounter on a daily basis. Some circumstances you just can’t change, but you can change your attitude towards them!
To finish up this post, I would like to share a little sneaky something concerning my future with you all… and since I am currently studying the Bible, I will relate it to a story I really enjoy which is found in 1 Kings 18:41-45. Let me set the scene for you all… Elijah, the last prophet of God in Israel during this time, has just performed a great miracle and is now speaking to the extremely evil king, Ahab. There has been a great drought throughout the land for three years now and yet…
“Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of rushing rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; there he bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea.’ He went up and looked, and said ‘There is nothing.’ Then he said, ‘Go again seven times.’ At the seventh time he said, ‘Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea.’ Then he said, ‘Go say to Ahab, ‘Harness your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind; there was a heavy rain.”
From just a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand, Elijah had faith to say that God was bringing an end to the drought that lasted three years. God has shown me a little cloud too, so now I pray that I would have the faith to trust Him even from just a little sign. I will give you a hint, it is one of the things listed on my dreamy journey entry below…