Chasing Contentment

Monday, January 30

Searching for the Gentle One
It's official. Numbers has kicked my tush. Not the cute CBS show on Fridays but the Old Testament book. I had been doing so well with my daily Bible study and prayer time, and I was relishing that time spent with God. I had been doing so well with my quest to read the Bible through. And then, I arrived at Numbers. And I've been floundering there for a month of Sundays.

I just can't seem to reconcile the harsh God I see depicted in Numbers with the generous and grace-giving God of the New Testament. I can't seem to muster up the interest needed to stay with the endless litanies of rules and rituals. I just can't seem... to conquer Numbers.

And yet, I can't let it beat me or I won't be able to keep going, and it's really important to me that I keep going, not only so that I can accomplish this goal but so I can find in Scripture the loving, gentle God I experience in my heart on a daily basis.

There are things in life that I find dear, that give me warm fuzzies, that remind me that I am loved. I have a marriage rock in my car that reminds me of the love that Mike and I have, of the covenant we made with God and one another on the day we married, and of the friends who supported us then and now.

I have a painting on my living room wall of a big fish. Aleece painted it on fabric, and it is beautiful. It is large and passionate and somehow tender all at the same time. There is something so reassuring to come up to our home on a dark evening to see the blinds open and the lights blazing... and a big fish swimming toward me on our big red wall.

In these things, I find a gentle comfort that sustains me through so many difficult times. The voice of a friend on the phone, a familiar address in my email inbox, an encouraging word, a small hand in mine. God gives me comfort in these trying days in gentle and loving ways (surely if I read far enough past Numbers, I'll find this God I adore in these Scriptures).

When I make it through my busy day - full of meals and snacks and kids and homework and work and laundry and projects and beading and reading and picking up and dishes and television and... on and on - and I fall exhausted into bed, the lights go out and the frustrations and fears and all go on in my head full blast. And then I feel Mike's warm body next to me, and his presence and gentleness calm my soul. And I say an evening prayer to the God who loves me enough to give me His comfort in all of the ways that I need it.

And just before I drift off to sleep, lulled by the clicking of the baby monitor and the breathing of my gentle husband, I resolve to try Numbers again tomorrow.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, January 30, 2006  ]


It is funny - I always have the same problem with reading through the Bible. I get stuck - stuck at the book of Numbers.:)
But I have to say, reading through the book of Numbers is makes me realize that because of Christ and I don't have to live by those regulations - I am free through Him from these regulations. And that thought always gets me through the book.:)

By Blogger eph2810, at 7:09 AM  

Wow, Chel. What a beautiful post! I'm honored by your description of my painting -- large, passionate, and tender. Our God is the same. Thank you for this today.

By Blogger crisper, at 12:43 PM  

Ha! I've been stymied by Numbers, too. Nice post!


By Blogger Donna J. Shepherd, at 5:36 PM  

Stay the course! If you got through Leviticus, you can get through Numbers! lol

By Blogger suzi, at 8:36 PM  

My advice is--pray for God to show you wisdom understanding.

I used to skim or veg out when reading geneologies. Then, I found Chuck Missler's meaning of names in Genesis:

Read it, you'll have a new appreciation for geneologies!

You might also want to get a new read through the Bible plan, one that has a little bit of the Old Testament and a little bit of the New Testament every day. Here's one:

When I first read through the Bible this way (I used "The Utmost Devotional Bible," which also includes a daily devotion from Oswald Chaimbers) I really started to see the Bible as a whole, and see God's mercy in the Old Testament and His justice in the New Testament.

Chuck Missler also has a learn the Bible in 24 Hours series that might be helpful for you for this:

By Anonymous Elizabeth B, at 5:49 AM  

Numbers can get dry, but isn't it good to know that along with being a loving, gentle God, He is orderly (which is why the planets revovle around the sun, why plants grow up from the ground, why babies look like their parents, etc.) And though we're free in Christ, we're to act out our freedom as bondslaves of God. (I Peter 2)

God gave the Israelites those laws and statutes for their benefit, not to bind and gag them. Throughout history, the Jews have escaped plagues that wiped out entire populations in Europe because they adhere to those statutes. Our gentle God had the good of His people in mind.

Read on, knowing that this is consistent with His character, and thank God he's not just a mush ball, but a just and a gentle God!

By Blogger Full Contact, Savior-centric Livin, at 12:32 PM  

Wow -- This was a beautiful essay. I've also struggled through some parts of Leviticus and Numbers until one day it dawned on me: He cares! God really cares! About everything -- the little things -- even my (boring) housework. He loves order and cleanliness -- and it's a wonderful aspect of His character that is further revealed throughout the way He leads and protects His people.

By Blogger Heather Ivester, at 7:15 PM  

God Speed on your goal to read through the entire Bible.

Huzzah to Elizabeth B for recommending Chuck Missler and Koinonia House for study material.

Chuck is fond of saying,"The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed; the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed."

Chuck has (or has passed on) some intriguing insights on the counts of the tribes as they wandered through the wilderness.

Yeshua Jesus said, "The volume of the Book is written of me." and "I came, not to abolish the Law, but that the Law might be fulfilled," Or "filled full". If you understand those claims as literal, then even the geneologies of Numbers must be important.

Trust God and make jewelry. Instead of the opposite.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:15 PM  

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