Judging God! Who do You think You are?

judgegod“What do you think You’re doing?” is a question that springs to my mind too often, as if I have the right to question the Almighty, All-Knowing, Eternal God! It is a common human conceit, to think we understand more than we actually do, to want to make our will supreme. In a childish way, I want God to erase struggle, to grant perpetual smiles and sunshine. This fails to account for one of His greatest gifts to me (and all the world) – the gift of choice. He allows me to live in faith or to close my eyes to the mystery of the Divine.  If God were to become the ‘God’ so many of us desire, He would have to remove all creativity, all choice, every trace of freedom from this world because where there is freedom, there is always the possibility of evil.

If we take a short view of history, even in our own lives, we may join those who conclude that loving and serving the Holy One is an exercise in futility! “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’ ” (Malachi 3:14-15, NLT)  I will confess that conclusion tries to take root in my mind.  The people of Malachi’s time were not the first to wonder about God’s goodness.  The singer of the 73rd Psalm laments that “these wicked people— enjoy a life of ease while their riches multiply. Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?” (Psalm 73:12-14, NLT)

So what was the remedy for that kind of bitterness?  In both of those passages, it was a recovery of perspective, a long view, that restored faith. “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. “They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (Malachi 3:16-18, NIV)

In the moment, we may wonder why, we may be unable to see the greater blessings of the Lord. But, read the finished stories of those who walk in faith and renewed appreciation for His love will grow.  That is one of the reasons I enjoy biographies of Christians.  Sometimes their struggles bear no apparent fruit for decades, sometimes not even until after their death!  The sweep of the Scripture that envelopes centuries reveals God’s will and purpose, even as He preserves His people – through times of failure and success.

C.S. Lewis, who wrote much of the faith in Christ that he found late in life, observes the upside down relationship into which we fall.  He wrote these words in the time of social upheaval that followed the Second World War, but they are even more true of so many people today“The greatest barrier I have met is the almost total absence from the minds of my audience of any sense of sin… The early Christian preachers could assume in their hearers… a sense of guilt. … Thus the Christian message was in those days unmistakably the Good News. It promised healing to those who knew they were sick. We have to convince our hearers of the unwelcome diagnosis before we can expect them to welcome the news of the remedy. The ancient man approached God as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. … man is on the bench and God is in the dock.”  ― God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

Have you put God in the seat of the accused?
Have you donned the robes of a judge, presuming to indict Him for failure?
Are you ready to doubt Him, challenge Him, or accuse Him of wrong-doing?

The truth is that God is good all the time. When we suffer because of evil He desires our restoration. We blame Him for judging us, when in reality we eat the fruit that grows from the seeds planted by human rebellion. One of the persistent lies in this world is that God is angry, vengeful, and ready to destroy.  The testimony of the Word is that God is loving;  not in a syrupy, sentimental way, but in a bold, engaged, and redemptive manner. Our sin does matter, but He took it on Himself and settled the score with evil so that we could become truly free, able to choose to love Him, to walk with Him, and to enter into the fullest life possible.

Here is a word from the Word. As you read it this Monday morning, take it deeply to your spirit, inviting the Spirit to humble your heart and quiet you in your struggle.

“Let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.

This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. … if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” (1 John 4:7-12, The Message)

___________

This Is Amazing Grace

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory the King above all kings
 Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
Who leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory the King above all kings

 This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place\
That You would bear my cross
You laid down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh Jesus I sing for all that You’ve done for me

 Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory the King of Glory
 Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory the King above all kings

 Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy worthy worthy

Jeremy Riddle | Josh Farro | Phil Wickham
© 2012 Phil Wickham Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
Bethel Music Publishing CCLI License # 810055

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