Reading Someone Else’s Mail

Violins serenade in the newly-redecorated coffee-shop, emanating from an invisible sound system behind dark mahogany woodwork and high metal tubing. A last cheese Danish from the back and hot coffee are perfect companions in my window seat. The snow outside is like white turf with pebbled pavement peeking through. 
Lord, in my time in Jeremiah I hear a prophet echoing your frustration, and I see a big God who’s fed up. I have read Israel and Judah’s history now through the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and seen their disobedience and offenses stacked high. I see my own failings written in their font and have often cried out confessions in the last four–five months of reading these prophets. 
But now, Lord, I want to see you. I want to delight you. Help me to learn you. I want to know your heart: what brings you joy and what saddens you. 
After several years of reading through the Old Testament, wanting to see it all with fresh eyes, I occasionally feel like I’m reading someone else’s mail. Peering into love letters between an on-again-off-again mistress and her Man, I see the Creator’s love and loyalty to his World, especially his Jewish people in the 600 and 500s B.C.  His love is patient and deep, offering second, third, fourth, tenth, and hundredth chances to his Beloveds. The Creator’s forgiveness and tenderness entrance me. 
Thanks to Microsoft clip art
Reading familiar promises in context, though, sometimes leaves me holding someone else’s mail, reading someone else’s love letters. Too often, I have held aloft verses meant for another, and claimed them as my own. Snatching another’s Valentines, I read the words and started counting daisies meant for another. 

So, that’s my own little study this year… seeing which of God’s promises are truly meant for me (us) in the 21st century, and which are more meant to show us the big picture of His love, and his work throughout history. In that process, I can read the Lover’s letters to others too, and see his heart, study his character, and learn what delights him. 
This doesn’t mean he hasn’t written of his love for us; it just leads me to word studies on “all nations,” and “that the world may know,” and “to those who come after” and more. We’re in there, loved and written about in his hand as well, but I’m still learning whose mail is whose. 
What about you? What have you thought or read about this? Any insight or verses for us to study on this? You ARE loved, though, my friends, and it’s written in his hand.
(The giveaway winner selected at random is Cabinart! Please email me your address so I can mail the coffee card to you. Enjoy!)

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  1. Carol on February 28, 2012 at 5:04 am

    So many of the promises in Isaiah and Jeremiah are for Israel . . . God is still reaching out to Israel.

    I always enjoy seeing your comment at my blog.
    Have a good week!


  2. tandemingtroll on February 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    The kids and I are reading through Matthew in preparation for Easter. Our church is going through Galatians. I just posted something that was inspired by the sermon on Sunday. In kids church, we have just finished studying the attributes of God and will be studying the promises of God. In it all, God is speaking to me, even of sometimes, I feel like I am going through the motions half-heartedly and inconsistently. God is faithful and true, to His glory and honor, which I gladly give Him.

  3. cabinart on February 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Me? Really?? Aw shucks, Jennifer, thank you!

    And thank you for this post – when I am reading the Bible I am often asking myself if a particular verse is meant for me or if it is just to show me what God is like. Then, I realize it is pointless to ask myself and instead I need to ask the originator of the words in The Word! Don't always get an answer, but I do keep asking.

  4. AmyAlves on February 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Hey Jennifer, I just want to say, that was a BEAUTIFUL post! Seeing into God's heart for His "chosen people" is a mystery beyond me… and He even loves me too! Glorious!!! Many blessings to you sister!

  5. Elizabeth on February 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

    SO interesting! I've often thought of that before, reading the Old Testament, but never studied it…I would love to hear any of your insights on promises meant especially for us…

  6. Elizabeth on February 29, 2012 at 7:07 am

    SO interesting! I've often thought of that before, reading the Old Testament, but never studied it…I would love to hear any of your insights on promises meant especially for us…

  7. Cheryl Barker on March 2, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Interesting analogy — reading someone else's mail. One thing that's neat, though, is that we can learn from it all, even if it was written to another.

    Have a great weekend, Jennifer!

  8. Jennifer Dougan on March 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm


    Yes, I love seeing God's deep patient heart to his creation– both to Israel, and to us as well. His love amazes me, and inspires me.


  9. Jennifer Dougan on March 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm


    I love hearing what people are learning and studying!Matthew and Galatians are very interesting. I'll have to pop over and see what God is talking to you about too. Thank you.


  10. Jennifer Dougan on March 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm


    Congratulations! I need to pop over and see your March 1st post too. It's been busy. 🙂

    Yes, asking the Holy Spirit to give insight into this word is perfect — it's in his job description. 🙂


  11. Jennifer Dougan on March 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Amy Alves,

    Thank you! I was hoping that post would come across right, since it was a slightly odd slant on it. Thanks for the input. Yes, God's love for his people Israel, and us as well, is humbling and fills me with joy.


  12. Jennifer Dougan on March 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm


    Yes, isn't that intriguing? I'll keep that in mind as I seek those out over this next year. I'm finishing up the Old Testament first though so it might be a slow answer. 🙂


  13. Jennifer Dougan on March 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm


    Yes! I agree. We can learn God's heart, his character, and his deep love for all of his creation– Jew and Gentile alike. What a wonderful God we have!


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