God Can Be Really
And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD
when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites
out of it (Shemot / Exodus 7:5).
One of the things that seems to keep some people from believing in
God is the hardships of life. If God is so powerful and loving, they
say, then how can he allow people to suffer? This is not just a difficulty
for unbelievers, mind you. Many people who would say they have faith
in God, also have a hard time with this issue.
Some resolve this by separating the negative experiences of life
from God. This view is expressed by either saying that God cannot
do anything about these hardships or saying that God has chosen not
to do anything about them. Either way limits his power - a kind of
he-would-if-he-could,-but-he-can't-so-he-won't" sort of thing.
This limited God-view may pacify our desire for a nice God, but I
don't think that it faces the truth of the matter.
This week's portion features the first seven of the ten plagues against
the land of Egypt. It is clear that these dramatic and traumatic events
were caused by God. When the King of Egypt refused to obey God's word
given by Moses, he violently and lethally struck the people of Egypt.
Men, women, children, livestock, and vegetation suffered greatly at
the hand of God. Whatever led to this, the God of Israel, the God
of the Bible caused this destruction.
And this is not the only biblical example of God being harsh with
people. There are all sorts of circumstances where people have suffered
horribly at God's hands. So however we may try to come to grips with
this issue, if we are ever going to understand what is going on, we
must start by looking at the truth rather than tailoring it according
to our preferences.
Part of our problem is that we refuse to accept how serious our alienation
from God really is. By rights, because of our rebellion against our
Creator, we should all be destroyed. To live on this earth is a gracious
gift given us by God, and we have ungratefully used it for our own
devises. God has actually been incredibly patient with us throughout
We prefer a God, who lets us do whatever we want. If the all-powerful
God does judge his creatures, then he may one day judge us. That is
a thought we cant easily tolerate. Therefore if we can reason
that God doesn't actually judge people, then we convince ourselves
that we won't be judged.
Judgement, harsh judgment is a reality, So instead of reasoning it
away, we would do better to learn how to avoid it.
We will continue this discussion next time.
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