“Therefore, my trust is in the Lord, and not in mine own merit; On him my soul shall rest, his Word upholds my fainting spirit. His promised mercy is my fort, my comfort and my sweet support; I wait for it with patience.”
-Indelible Grace Music
After spending a little over a month in the UK, things have really started to settle down into a routine, just as the academic load is stepping it up. The past couple of weeks have really been consumed with reading and writing in preparation for tutorials, where you discuss your subject matter and essays with your professor. When I met with my Old Testament tutor for the first time, she was really kind and wanted to know which books of the Old Testament I wanted to study. I suggested the Psalms or Prophets and she decided we would devote the term to the book of Isaiah, so that we could take more time to study it in-depth, rather than an overview of several books.
Although it has really been eye-opening to get to read and learn from different perspectives than my own and what I am used to, I have also realized how much one’s worldview influences how you read the Bible. The reading lists for Isaiah contain books from authors who have a naturalistic worldview and don’t believe Jesus was raised from the dead. This, combined with the fact that I really have so little knowledge about Isaiah and his prophecies outside of Oxford, has made for a big need to catch up. I’ve been given books and resources from professors back home written by people who do believe the Bible to be God’s inspired and unified Word, which has helped balance the perspectives I learn from. I have found it hard to know how to be open-minded to accepting new information, while remaining discerning and faithful in forming my own opinions with the writing aspect of this tutorial, but the Lord has provided again through his people and his Word.
The sermon this past Sunday at our church (which is also going through Isaiah!) was on Christ’s perfect dependency on the Father during his life. This is seen in Jesus’s faithfulness in prayer, submission to the Father’s will wholeheartedly, and his listening to God. This was convicting because only the Lord has words to help and encourage, and I often try to come up with things on the spot. Rather, the fruit of dependance on God is knowing what to say to sustain the weary and knowing what God has said about himself because you’ve been listening to him. The way to know how to respond to hurting people around me and how to respond to different opinions about the Bible isn’t really about just being kind or my own scholarship, it’s about learning to be completely dependent on the Father and asking him to help me listen to his words of life.
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