So to know God, we pray, worship, sing praises; but the most important time investment of all is reading the Bible--the Words of God. How better to know Him! If we listen to the world, He is either this angry man on high who kills people and sends bolts of lightening and disasters; or He is an odd combination of Mr Rogers & Barney the dinosaur singing "I love you, you love me..." Neither are accurate! They are simplistic cartoon caricatures that are a misrepresentation of who He is! The richness and depth of who He is, is mind-boggling! Where do we learn the character of God?--in the Old Testament! But I have heard far too many Christians dismiss the Old Testament by saying "we aren't under the law anymore, we are under grace!" True to a point, but not to the point of dismissing the Old Testament and not studying it!
I thank God for His Grace and Mercy. Wouldn't still be here without it. I am also thankful that we don't sacrifice animals and if I so desire, can have some ham or pork barbecue! But I want to encourage you to STUDY the Old Testament if you truly desire to know the character of God.
Read the Old Testament from the perspective of discovering His character:
What did He say? What did He promise? What was His reaction to man's sin and disobedience? Every story is rich with the Character of God! As you study, you begin to see patterns, consistency, order in everything He does...every little thing. God cannot lie, God does not do "magic tricks" and God does not change. When God sent His Son to redeem the world, He did not change His character. The birth of Jesus did not negate all that God had said and done in the Old Testament. It fulfilled it. It completed what God had already said was to come.
When you learn the Character of God and get it down in your spirit, you will know how to deal with situations that come your way in life. You will make better decisions and give better advice.
Think of the parent/child relationship. How deep and rewarding would that relationship be if all the child knew was their parent's grace and mercy?...if because of their behavior they needed to "get what they didn't deserve and not get what they did deserve" every day?! What if that child was always in trouble, always messing up, always 'dancing on the line'? What if that child never learned, grew, matured? It would be sad and difficult for the parent, but for the child it would be far more tragic! They would be missing out on the blessings of obedience and the rewards of learning, maturing and growing into Godly adults. They would also miss out on truly knowing their parents. You cannot truly know your parents' character when, every time you come to them, you are asking for their forgiveness and mercy.
Today, I want to encourage you to dig into the Old Testament and learn the gems of the Character of God. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed trying to understand the Old Testament, but I believe if you read with the specific goal of discovering God's Character, it will be much clearer!
After every chapter, ask yourself "What does this say about God's Character?
What did He say--do-- require?
What happened when people obeyed Him?
What happened when they were disobedient?
What does God love?
What does God hate?
When you know someone's character, you won't believe things that are said that aren't in tune with what you know of His Character. Take your relationship with God to another level!
KNOW Him and you will not be deceived by man.
~~ Be blessed, Arlene