August 12, 2013

God’s big picture

My summer studies are Old Testament Survey I and II. The professor uses verses from the New Testament where Christ says He is spoken of in the OT to build an understanding of the plan of God that I had not fully grasped. He shows how the ancient believers pointed to Jesus Christ and how He did perfectly what they attempted and often failed to do.

He also shows how the writers of the NT understood the older Scriptures and saw Christ in them, even though the church today fails to see much of that and even dismisses the value of the OT. With a Christological perspective, those NT writers said things like this:

He (Moses) considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:26)

Moses had been rescued and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. He was heir to the position, but when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he intervened. This is the only hint of this choice and there is no mention that Moses was thinking about Christ. He actually killed the Egyptian, something Jesus would not do. Yet under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the writers of the New Testament understood his motivation and recorded it for us. Moses was more concerned for Hebrew slaves than he was for the power and wealth of being a pharaoh.

As I gain a much broader perspective of the Bible, I’m also convicted by this new understanding. The God who planned my salvation from before the foundation of the world also plans the ending, the reward for me and for all others who choose Jesus over temporary treasures. Just thinking about that changes the way I live, but far too often I forget my eternal destiny and all that God has done and is doing for me. I try to solve problems without Him, run after things He forbids, and become overwhelmed by the trials and temptations of life.

I need to put that broader perspective into practice by remembering the bigger picture. This means carrying the purposes of God in my thoughts, remembering His plans and on the basis of that, making wise choices that fit with those plans.

I also need to remember His faithfulness, certainly in my own life, but also in history. He uses all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28-29) and not one of His promises have failed. Even when His people were in captivity, the virtue of men like Daniel and his three friends brought them into a more glorious status than the king who held them. He actually waited on these OT believers and even acknowledged their God after casting them into a furnace and witnessing the power of God to save them.

This tells me that even when I am held captive by my own foolishness, God considers me still more glorious than anything or anyone that tries to rule over me. And when I fear God, He allows nothing to grieve or topple me, not poverty, disease, captivity or slavery, or of any other dire situation. Even these very things will themselves work together for me the other way. I might be held captive but whatever is holding me must bow before God as He uses their very dominion for my good.

Moses may not have articulated this or the principle that his rewards were far greater than all the gain here on earth. However, in faith, he chose his heritage as a child of God rather than his right to the treasures of a pharaoh. He sets an example for me to remember the big picture, the larger plan of God and His power to implement His plan, no matter what tests or tempts me. All that happens, including all my choices, are tools in His hands.

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