Hukkat and Balak
For the week of June 22, 2002 / 12 Tammuz 5762
Torah: Numbers / Bemidbar 19:1 - 25:9
Haftarah: Micah 5:6 - 6:8 (English: Micah 5:7 - 6:8)

Don't Blame God

My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me (Micah 6:3).

One of the things that I struggle with in my relationship to God is understanding how in control of life he really is. It's not that I believe that God isn't in control. I believe that God is what is called "sovereign," meaning he rules over the universe, and that rule is effective. Just as we recite in so many Hebrew blessings, he is truly the "Master of the Universe."

While the Scriptures teach there is a cosmic struggle between good and evil forces, God is all powerful, and nothing can prevent his will from being accomplished. That said, it appears that he hasn't set up the universe like a computer. He doesn't sit at a keyboard causing things to happen with the simple press of a button. He has given the power of choice to humans. He calls us to cooperate with his purposes and desires, rather than forcing us to do his bidding.

I am well aware that scholars have grappled with this subject for centuries. It is not my goal to attempt to resolve such issues. In fact, what I want to point out is that we donít know how God's sovereignty actually works. We live our lives, we say and do things. Things are said and done to us, and somehow, through it all, God is at work to accomplish his purposes.

God asks a question of his people through the prophet Micah, "My people, what have I done to you?" The people had been thinking that God was responsible for their predicament. Since God is in control, they reasoned, then whatever is happening to us, is happening because of him.

Interestingly many people today who claim not to believe in God share this problem with those to whom God was speaking here. They think that to accept the reality of God means that they also have to accept that he is the author of all the wrongs in society. They think that to believe in God means to attribute all life experiences to him. Understandably they don't want to believe in a God like that. I don't blame them.

So many people have asked the question, "Where was God in the Holocaust?" This is a most important question. But all the assumptions concerning God's relationship to this and other great evils, don't help. The only way to find these crucial answers is for each one of us to face God himself and allow him to speak to our hearts.

You may be struggling in your relationship with God, thinking that he is responsible for this or that. Maybe it's that you think he should have done something and he didn't. Let him show you what he has really been doing. You may be surprised.

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