Sometimes reading the Old Testament over a long period of time puts me in The Dark Place. I read stories about humanity that I might as well be reading in today’s headlines. History repeats itself. Humanity doesn’t get better. I read about great leaders who are pioneers of God’s relationship with us who make huge, outlandish mistakes and fall. Today, for the second day in a row, I read about a woman whose body was used to satisfy a greedy man’s lust and then immediately discarded, her life ruined.
A few years ago, whenever I was reading my Bible, I was waiting to catch God failing us. I was looking for the gray areas in the text, trying to find a failure. He’s continually teaching me, and probably you too, an important lesson: God does not say that bad things won’t happen to us, but he promises he will be with us when they do. The Bible is full of stories of imperfect people, corrupt leaders and abused women. Even as a reader hundreds of years later, I want to put my trust in King David in this narrative. But we are just starting his backwards slide away from God. There is only one perfect leader.
If you are just getting use to consistently reading your Bible, I encourage you to stick with it. You can push back on God, you can do some finger pointing. You can hate that Tamar’s story is flippantly mentioned in one chapter. You can wonder why bad things happen to innocent people. God’s character stands up to all of that. The more often I read about God’s history with his people, specifically through the story of Israel, the more I trust him and believe in the hope of Jesus for mankind. The more my heart rejoices whenever I’m reminded of the gospel in a sermon or a story. I doubt him less and lean into him more.
Observe your tendencies today: who or what do you put your trust in when something good or bad happens?