(I often reference song titles in my blog titles and then I realize that no one else will know that I am doing so. That one references Rita Springer, a terrific worship leader).
I have 3 thoughts. I will try to be brief (ok I failed at being brief). I will list them in decending order of length of time I've been thinking about them - starting with the longest.Holiness
A reoccuring theme I've been noticing as I have read through the pentetuch since January is the theme of Holiness. The entire purpose of the Law, as God restates again and again, was to set apart this group of people as his own. Because he is so very holy and the group who represents him is called to be holy as well. The law is a picture of absolute holiness and is serves to show us how very far away we are from achieving it, but it was also meant to be followed. God really wanted the Israelites set apart as His and to reflect him to the people around them. He is holy so they were called to be holy. And so in this manner, it still applies to us. Yes, we are free from the Law but we are not free from righteousnes, in fact Romans says we are slaves to it. I think our culture, at least the strain modern Christian culture I am most involved in, would like to forget this. I know I do at least. In the great push toward freedom and love, the pursuit of holiness seems to have dropped by the wayside. It can't! It absolutely can't. We are set apart. We have been given the GREAT HONOR of being called the very BODY of JESUS CHRIST. We have to represent him. He is completely holy, therefore we too must be holy. This includes things we like to tell ourselves are no big deal like: cussing, drinking too much (or underage), telling dirty jokes, watching movies with questionable material or even blatantly awful material, and a whole lot more. Jesus said "therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly father is perfect." I think he was actually being serious. That's what we should be striving for. OF COURSE there is grace when we fall - don't you ever forget it! But Grace opens the door for righteousness to abound not for sin.Unity
My friend said last night, "I want to be someone who LOVES the body of Christ." (or you might have said "the church", correct me if I'm wrong). Either way that really stuck with me and has now become an urgent prayer of mine. I won't even go into details of how this topic came up becuase I think that would do more to divide than to unify, but the point is this: As much as I see holiness as a recurrent and highly important theme throughout the Pentetuch, so I see Unity as an incredibly prevelent theme throughout the New Testament. It comes up again and again. I've mentioned this before but the New Testament actually talks a lot more about loving your brothers and sisters in Christ than it does about loving non-believers - yet the latter is by far the message I hear preached and personally focus on more often. Of course we should love unbelievers, I would never ever say we shouldn't, but HOW MUCH MORE (a common NT phrase) should we love our very own brothers! I don't just mean this on an individual level. In fact I mean it most urgently on a corporate level. That is the level I find myself struggeling with the most and I see the church struggling with the most. If you find yourself talking about the church - the corporate body of Christ OR any individual believer - in any way shape or form stop and ask - is this working towards unity or towards division? If it's the latter STOP RIGHT THERE. I know I can't make myself into anything, but I really belive God can make me into someone who really loves the body of Christ. That is really exciting.God's Power and God's Plan
Lastly, I have been thinking about how totally in control God is. We don't like to talk about it much but he would even control king's wills in the Old Testament sometimes so his plan could be fulfilled - (see Deut 2:30 for one example). He is first and foremost, above all else, concerned with his great plan that he is working out. We have the priveledge of being players in that plan. But what that translates to is that I really can't complain about any situation in my life. I can't despair. I can't long for things to be different. Because I KNOW that God has total control and total power to change anything that he wants and he has simply chosen not to... I say I want to be nowhere but his in will... So since this is his will, as long as I am striving to obey him and seek him, well then I want to be nowhere but right here. This too is not my natural way of thinking, but I believe and know that God can change me and even is now changing me to really live out these words and not just believe them as a concept.
So bravo for you if you actually read all of that. I hope it didn't sound to preachy - I really wasn't talking about anyone or to anyone but myself, I just wanted to share what I've been thinking about with you all.