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Monday, February 09, 2009

A Need to Know Basis...

My church did a really great message about staying immersed in God's word. It really encouraged me to read through the Bible in a year. I'm using the SOAP method and really enjoying the discoveries so far. If you're not familiar with SOAP, you might consider taking a bath. Pffft! Just kidding. Here's how S.O.A.P. works:

S--Scripture: write down any key verses or passages that stand out to you as you read.

O--Observations: what are your initial thoughts about what you've read? Any connections or meaning that you've gleaned.

A--Application: how does what you've learned actually impact daily thinking, doing, and living?

P--Prayer: Praising God for the elements of truth that have struck you and asking Him to make changes in your being and life because of this new truth.

Basically, you just write all this stuff down in a journal. I use a word document that I just keep saved in a folder.

Using this technique, I'm into Exodus now, and I have 16+ pages of devotion and reflection. When I finish the Bible, I'll literally have a whole book. How cool will that be?

Long preface to say that the study I did today really seemed shareable. Not everything is, nor would I bore you with my meandering thoughts that often. I'm no theologian with a half dozen initials after my name. I'm just a seeker, gathering what wisdom I can. For what it's worth, here's what I found the other day...

Scripture: From Exodus 24:

15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

So Moses was up there 40 days and nights...with God. What did they do? What did they talk about? That's a lot of time by man's standard. BUT, we aren't told what they did during that time. The Bible...God...doesn't share those details with us. I love that there are things we simply don't need to know. Or maybe, there are some things we really must seek after to find out.

God knows what we can handle. Going back to the Garden; God said, there’s one tree here you don’t want any part of. It’s the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—don’t eat from that tree, or you’ll die. Adam and Eve did it anyway. They didn’t die right away. Yes, they were made mortal…and so death would now haunt their steps into the future. But what happened immediately? They knew they were naked and they knew shame for the first time. It gave them fear (they were afraid of the consequences of their actions); it gave them guile (they hid from God); it gave them irresponsibility (they blamed each other and the serpent). It was too much for them, but they dove in anyway. We humans want to know it all: we want to know why God did this or didn’t do that? We want to know why bad things happen to good people. We want to know what God is like, personally. We want to know how He did stuff. The reality is, God knows what we can handle, and it just might be that there are certain things that we don’t need to know…for our own good.

Lord, thank you for looking out for me, for shielding me from knowledge that would puff me up with pride or destroy me in its complexity. Help me to be content with the knowledge your Spirit reveals to me in your word and in life. When there are mysteries, help me to resist the urge to demand to know. And in the short time that we have to wait before heaven, let me be content to know you are good and let me trust you with all of life’s greatest mysteries. In Jesus’s name amen.