But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, "He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them." John 12:37, 40
This week I was walking with my good friend Darcy when we passed a yard. She pointed at my neighbors yard and said, "Look at all those lilies!"
I looked at the yard for several seconds and stared blankly. I wondered what she was talking about. Sure, there were lots of flowers, but I saw no lilies.
Darcy just laughed at me. "They're everywhere you goofball. You don't see all those orange flowers?"
"Orange! I thought lilies were white." As soon as she said "orange," a sea of lilies suddenly appeared in my viewfinder.
Recently I've had a "conversion" experience. I realized that for the first 40 something years of my life, I've been conditioned to look for white lilies, and missed the many orange ones right in front of my nose. This discovery has been both an uncomfortable and a completely euphoric experience!
In short, I've been blind in the way I was taught to read my Bible, and have missed out on understanding and glorying in the true power, redemptive plan, and victorious purposes of God. But now the strength of His arm has been revealed to me, and I am smitten!
Four elements have totally revolutionized the way I see and understand my Bible now, and for the first time it makes total sense, cover to cover. I don't feel like there are any huge holes, indiscernible foundational meanings, etc.
1. A Jewish perspective on the Bible. It's a book written by Jews, for Jews, and one must grasp the Covenants, the Feasts, the Harvests, and Jewish culture and traditions in order to make sense out of where we started and where we end (and how we get there).
2. A historical perspective on The Church (Gentiles), and how the Bible was put together and by whom.
3. God's plan for the ages, not for eternity, as spelled out in the Bible. Yes, there is an eternity, but the Bible actually teaches very little about it, focusing rather on particular ages. This is hard to see in erroneous modern translations, but can be more easily detected in literal translations and in the Hebrew and Greek.
4. God's redemptive plan for His creation. It is much bigger and more inclusive than we have been taught by tradition, and the Bible is full of orange lilies that tell about it!
If you want to know more about these four crucial elements in seeing the orange lilies—lilies that were there all the time—you can read through my One Year Bible Blog, beginning with January 1 to follow my trail of learning this year. You can also write and ask me for more information. But a word of warning. There ARE orange lilies, so be sure you're ready to graduate from the white ones before setting out.