No, I did not misspell that last word in the title- at least not for this post. For the past few months I have been powering through the Old Testament- and I mean powering through all the way through Esther and skipping ahead to Ezekiel (I had read from the books Job through Lamentations many times, I always seemed to run out of steam in the past for the later Prophets). Anyway, hanging out in the Old Testament for that long can really mess with a person's mind, at least it did mine. One question that kept going through my mind over and over is why are things so different with God from Old Testament to New Testament, I mean He's the same God, right? Unchangeable. So why the dramatic change in the game? When I asked this question in the past, the answer is always Jesus and okay I get that but, why? Toward the end of the Chronicles of the kings I actually started to feel compassion for the Pharisees spoken of in the New Testament that Jesus was always calling out. Jesus was all over them for being lovers of the Law and when I read the Gospels I'm like "get em' Jesus!" Then when I'm in the Old Testament I get to the stories of Hezekiah and Nehemiah- especially Nehemiah, he was among the Israelites in exile, he was a cupbearer to the king of Persia and his heart was heavy for his land and to rebuild the temple of the Lord. It was he along with Ezra who helped bring the law back to the land with great fervor it was because of lack of following the law that resulted them being exiled to begin with. And this wasn't the first time, they had the books of the history going all the way back to the Golden Calf and the 40 years wandering the desert because the Israelites refused to follow the law. We're talking over a thousand years of a cycle of disobeying the law met with punishment of plagues, deaths, oppression, exile. After all of that can we really blame the Pharisees for becoming such sticklers about the law? It took them over a thousand years to figure it out that they didn't want to be punished anymore. The problem is that the lesson was learned so hard that there was no way they were going to let go of the law anymore, except that they missed the point, but it wasn't their fault it was just part of the plan so that Jesus could be revealed. There was no way they were ever going to put it all together on their own. God knew that all along so what was the point of putting the people through all of that, of putting us through having to read it all? I think to show us that we really aren't capable of doing it on our own, to prove to us why we need help- a Savior. That was the mystery to be revealed to us that God knew about all along, I get it now. God created us to have free will, but that free will is really a disability, an impairment, it prevents us from fully being able to obey God. Free will equals independence, why would someone with independence ever choose to depend on anyone, including God? Then comes Jesus who has come to help us if we ask Him, we can't follow the law but He can, we can't drive this car straight but if we slide over to the passenger seat and ask Him to take the wheel, our will, He can drive us straight, he is the ultimate alignment.
All this comes from a crazy dream I had after reading Ezekiel I fell asleep and dreamed that I went back to my old ways of making really bad choices, except I was making them against my current family, I walked away from my responsibilities of taking care of my children and I got into a car with some old friends and rode around with them for awhile acting like I used to act. Then they dropped me off at my car and I got in to drive back home to my family but all of the sudden the weather changed to this horrendous snowstorm and I couldn't drive straight and I couldn't see to drive and I slid and wrecked into the side of a building. A girl came out and started yelling at me to watch where I was going and I said to her "but don't you see all the snow on the ground, who can drive in this mess?" but when I got out of the car there wasn't any snow on the ground. I wasn't going to find my own way back home, I couldn't do it on my own. There was more to the dream than that, including trying to find other people to take me home, etc. but no one else could. The first part was that I had to acknowledge that I couldn't see clearly the way that I needed to go, second part was asking who can help me get home? The third part, which is the hardest, is trusting that who I am asking will lead me in the right direction. It's easy to say I need Jesus, I ask Jesus, I trust Jesus-but putting that into practice, believing what I say I believe is a scary thing for someone who has free will. It is very difficult to be able to hand that free will over and say "Jesus take the Will", yet it must be done for me to have any hope at an eternity in paradise. God loves us so much He always has and He always will, He never changes. He could have very easily wiped us all out if He wanted to, still could. So who are we to question what He has done past, present, or future? All we can do is accept Jesus to set our course straight and pilot us home. Jesus take the Wheel or Will, kind of means the same thing, doesn't it?
I realize that this is not some new and profound revelation but it's something that obviously needs constant reminding, each day is a new day, met with some kind of amnesia. The Apostle Paul knew this, which is why he said that he had to die to himself and surrender to Christ everyday. As long as we have flesh we wake up each morning with a fresh new dose of our free will ready to take on the world to do it our way. I think I might make that Carrie Underwood song my alarm clock song so I can be reminded upon waking who I want running my day.