I began studying God’s Word in October 1982, when I was invited by a friend to Bible Study Fellowship (which I had never heard of). I had attended church for about three years as a teenager with my family when my dad became a Christian, but I walked away from the church when I married at 17 years old. So, for about 25 years I was out wandering in the world ignoring God.
But when my husband, three children and I lived in New Mexico for four years, God was working in my heart, and I knew that something was missing in my life. I felt an emptiness, and I knew that it had something to do with God. So I cried out to God and told Him that I knew that I needed Him in my life, but I didn’t know how to find Him. He heard my prayer and brought us to Oregon when my husband was transferred with his job. It was shortly after we moved to Oregon that I was invited to Bible Study Fellowship by a friend that I had met in NM and who had moved to Oregon a few months before we did. It was like God said to me, “I’ll show you how to find Me!” So, on October 21, 1982, I gave my heart to Jesus and asked Him to be the Lord of my life...and what a journey it’s been!
I’ve been studying the Bible for over 40 years now, and if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that we can never fully plumb the depths of God’s Word. We are life-long learners. I once heard it said that God’s Word is shallow enough for a baby to wade in and deep enough for an elephant to swim in. It truly is living and active, and it takes root in our hearts and changes us.
The Tuesday morning Bible study completed the study of Genesis by Jen Wilkin this past spring. We learned so much as we journeyed through the Book of Beginnings. We learned that God uses flawed people to accomplish His purposes. Aren’t we thankful that God paints His saints warts and all? That means that He can use you and He can use me to accomplish His plan for us, imperfect as we are.
We met Abram, a man of faith and flaws, who obeyed God, was willing to sacrifice his own son, yet he lied about his relationship with Sarah to save his own skin.
We learned that both Abraham and Isaac had smokin’ hot wives who attracted the attention of the kings when they traveled and so, we saw that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, when Isaac follows his father’s example, and asks Rebekah to lie and say that she is his sister out of fear for his own safety. We see again that God’s chosen servants are fragmented and flawed. And yet God used them mightily!
We also met Jacob, whose name means “deceiver." He certainly lived up to that name! "God, really? This guy had a pretty inconsistent walk of faith! Couldn’t you see that?"
We learned about the dysfunction in the families we came to know, and the sibling rivalry created by the favoritism of parents for their children. It was obvious that favoritism tears a family apart!
Then finally, a breath of fresh air, we meet Joseph! Joseph, the favorite son of Isaac, which caused his brothers to hate him. At first, ten of his brothers plot to kill him and lie to their father about his fate, but instead decide to sell him to traders traveling to Egypt where eventually Joseph becomes second in command and forgives them years later when they come to Egypt to buy food during a severe famine. Joseph knew that they intended evil toward him, but that God intended it for good to save God’s chosen people through whom the Messiah would eventually come. I saw Jesus in Joseph!
Each week we wrapped up with the attribute of God that had stood out to us during the week’s study. Oh, we learned so much about God’s love and His faithfulness and so many other characteristics, but overall, the character trait that I saw was God’s sovereignty.
God had a plan for His people, the Jewish nation, and it would be accomplished according to His perfect timing and way! His plan could not be thwarted!
And He has a plan for you and for me and each of us, imperfect as we are. God can even use us!!