I love the way God speaks.
When you’re reading the Bible, does a verse ever just stick out to you and either wrap itself around you like a warm blanket, or punch you in the face to knock in some sense? Well, it happens to me all of the time. Sometimes I’ll be reading along, comprehending as well as I can what I’m reading in context, and suddenly, BAM! A verse or line shines off of the page of my Bible and it just sits on my heart and resonates and saturates and does all of the things a verse does.
That’s what happened when I was reading through Ezra chapter 10.
The first verse that stood out to me as I read was verse 2. But it was just this part of the verse: “…even now there is hope.” And I know I’m taking the line out of context a little when I try to apply it to myself, but just wait. Here’s the connection: we are Israel. We are sinners. Each and every one of us. But EVEN NOW THERE IS HOPE. Through Christ!
And my study Bible made the verse even better when it put it this way for me: “Who can fathom the great love of God? Despite our rebellion and sin, He continues to bless us with hope and forgiveness. Still, we must never take His grace for granted — we should continually praise Him for loving us and obey Him wholeheartedly.” (Charles F Stanley Life Principles Bible)
Isn’t that amazing? You guys, that’s grace, right there.
And the hits keep coming…
In verse 4, an Israelite encourages Ezra, “Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Now again I know I’m taking this a bit out of context in order to apply it to our lives as they are today. But listen, here it is: be courageous. The Holy Spirit is with you, and will give you the strength to do whatever-it-is. Also, there is a band of people surrounding you, praying for you and supporting you (if not there, then right here on the Illustrated Faith Team), and we believe in you, through the power of Christ.
I read last week in the Naptime Diaries Make Room Advent devotional a line that struck me, because it was just so true. Nadine Schroeder wrote, “Sometimes I get a little fearful when I open my Bible. Not because I don’t like to read it, but because I am confident that the Lord will say something if I dare enter His presence and sometimes hearing from God can feel scary to me. God isn’t silent. The Word isn’t quiet.”
The Word isn’t quiet.
I love the way God speaks.
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