As I mentioned before, I am taking time in 2010 to read through the whole Bible in a year. I have done this many times before-and always feel richly rewarded when I do. I am already gaining some fresh insights from this year’s experience. What stands out to me most at the moment is that God’s redemptive purposes will always move forward. His sovereign control over salvation history is never dissuaded-never hindered. In our personal devotions we often read an individual passage-isolated from it’s salvation historical context. We may be tempted to think that man has more power in his influence over time and circumstances than is true. But when you see a passage in it’s salvation historical context-when you look through the lens of biblical theology-you see the tapestry of God’s redemptive purposes. And you begin to understand that God is not stopped. It also becomes apparent that God will use a great variety of circumstances to advance His plan. And I’m sure that even to those biblical characters their circumstances did not look like progress at the time. They were not omniscient-they did not have the advantage of complete revelation. Yet, still God’s plan moved forward-even in the face of what appeared to be defeat. Let me illustrate by way of just one set of snapshots-and see what you think.
In Genesis 24 God’s redemptive plan moves forward through a marriage-the marriage of Abraham’s son of promise, Isaac, to Rebekah. And the beginning of a people, a nation, begins to take shape. In Nehemiah 11-13 God’s redemptive plan is moved forward through a construction project as a city wall is completed. And along with it comes the renewal of a covenant relationship and a fresh dedication to the ways of God. In Matthew 21-23 God’s redemptive plan is moved forward through confrontation. Jesus enters Jerusalem and encounters the religious leaders of the day-and they seek to destroy Him-not realizing that this is only serving God’s greater purpose through the cross. In Acts 23 God’s redemptive plan is moved forward through the arrest of the New Testament’s greatest missionary-Paul. Yet this will ultimately take the gospel to Rome-the power center of the ancient world.
Our daily circumstances are no different-as we seek to live full on and full out for God we will encounter many things that do not appear to fit into any grand design. But the tapestry always looks confusing from the back-from the front it all makes sense. God’s grand design is coming together and He will use us and our circumstances to make it happen-may we cooperate in faith.