Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Old Testament Night at the Cook House

Last night, just before bed, Andy and I both started to read our Bibles. I had no idea what he was reading, he had no idea what I was reading. They didn't fit together in any way. But God gave us a beautiful moment as a couple.

I was reading 2 Chronicles. I have a deep love for the OT books, and I am working my way through each and every one of them. I feel like a whole new world is opened up when you read and study the Old Testament. I just love seeing the pieces of the puzzle fit together. The Old and New Testaments just fit so perfectly. God's Word does not contradict itself. It clarifies itself.

I had read this verse, "Solomon brought Pharaoh's daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, "My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the Lord has entered are holy." (2 Chronicles 8:11) and was telling Andy about it. At first, we were both kind of laughing, because he was essentially saying, "Hey honey, you need to move. This place is holy, and you just aren't."

But then we started to think about it. And she really wasn't. God had clearly told the Israelites not to marry with women from other nations, but Solomon did. Several times. His wives weren't from God's chosen people and they led him astray.

"As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been" 1 Kings 11:4

That chapter says that Solomon married 700 wives of noble birth, and had 300 concubines. It also goes on to say that Solomon built high places for other the gods of his wives. The high places that his son and his future generations continued to worship at. The high places that tore their affections away from the one true God. God continued to give them chance after chance to repent. They were His chosen people.

At the same time, Andy was reading the book of Nahum. I have never read Nahum. Didn't even know what it was about, to be honest. But I learned last night. It's about the destruction of Nineveh. The very same Nineveh that Jonah was sent to with a warning. They repented then, but later turned back to their sinful ways, and were met with destruction.

As Andy was explaining it to me, I remembered the New Testament passages that talked about Nineveh, and the sign of Jonah. So I looked them up in my handy dandy commentary. And both Matthew 12:41 and Luke 11:32 said basically this:

The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

We spent a while trying to figure out the timeline, and realized that Nineveh has already been destroyed for hundreds of years when Jesus said this. The People's New Testament Commentary says that Matthew passage talks about Jonah being three days in the belly of the whale just as Christ is three days in the earth after the crucifixion. The Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah, but the people Jesus was speaking to did not repent at one who was much greater.

But then, Matthew Henry's commentary on the Luke passage said this: "As Jonah being cast into the sea, and lying there three days, and then coming up alive and preaching repentance to the Ninevites, was a sign to them, upon which they turned from their evil way, so shall the death and resurrection of Christ, and the preaching of his gospel immediately after to the Gentile world, be the last warning to the Jewish nation. If they be provoked to a holy jealousy by this, well and good; but, if this do not work upon them, let them look for nothing but utter ruin"

The people of Nineveh repented at the warning of their physical destruction, but Jesus comes to warn them of impending eternal destruction, and many do not repent. And just as Ninevah was eventually destroyed because of her sin, so shall those who do not repent and accept Christ. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

And that's why I love studying the Bible. Because it does not contradict itself. It explains itself, it clarifies itself. It is the Word of God. And it is truly living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.

1 comment:

ocean mommy said...

Hi Ashley! Thanks for you comment this morning on my atonement post. :) That's pretty cool that you've been looking at that word all week.

I LOVE this post of yours! What a special time. You two sound like a neat couple!