Saturday, August 28, 2021

Is God brutal?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Many people today think that God was brutal and ugly in the Old Testament and that thankfully, Jesus arrived on the scene in the New Testament to rescue His reputation. Getting our attitudes about God straight is very important. It is tough to love and follow a ruthless God with His power and abuse in His relationships. It is bad enough that some people have dads like that, let alone a Father in heaven who perpetuates the problem.

So, here is the good news. Take a deep breath. We do not need to feel that way about God anymore! When the real God stands up in the Old Testament, His actions and attitudes consistently exhibit an unusual depth of grace in the face of deep offences against Him and His law.

Take the sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3. Talk about a time when it would have been really appropriate for God to pull the hammer out! God had given them everything they needed for life and satisfaction in a perfect environment. Instead, they blatantly conspired with God’s enemy and used God’s gift of the garden to serve their own selfish desires. Also, in the process, they destroyed the gift of God as sin destroyed the garden and their lives, to say nothing of granting Satan access to the domain of God where he would continue his damaging ways right up to today.

If one of our children had taken all that we had built up, and all that we had given to them, and in our face destroyed it all, well, my guess is that grace would be the last response to cross our minds. Annihilation, yes—grace, no!  How did God react?  Of those two options, God chose grace.  

The grace to walk back into the fallen, damaged garden and call them out of the bushes—not to hammer them but to restore them.  The grace to replace the self-constructed, fig leaf cover-up of their sins with the sacrificial provision of the animal skins, pointing to the ultimate moment of grace when the sacrifice of Jesus would cover us with the permanent covering of the righteousness of Christ and cleanse us fully in the process.The grace to promise them that the day would come when the seed of the woman would deal a death blow to Satan’s head.

The grace to expel them from the garden so that they would not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in the bondage and brokenness of sin. He had something better in mind: heaven—where they could live forever liberated from the consequences of their own foolishness.  The grace to re-establish a godly line in a deeply damaged world by the birth of Seth, who started the legacy of those who would live by “calling on the name of the Lord”.      

Getting to know the real God is a wonderful experience, especially if we know Him as a God of unusual grace. Why? Because we all deserve the hammer!  We should never stop being grateful for the grace and love of a God who manages our brokenness with the healing and restoring power of His grace.  

We need to put ourselves in Adam and Eve’s shoes and think of a time when we sinned against God. Remember how we felt about our sin and how we thought God would respond to us. Does our view of God include “the hammer” concept, or have we fully grasped the depths of His grace? If our attitude needs readjustment, we need to ask Him to help us better understand His ways of mercy, grace, and loving-kindness! I guess we need to do that today!!

Written by Peter Francis for Messages with Meaning (24/08/21) & Your542Day


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