Thursday, January 04, 2007

Speaking For God

I was still thinking about the whole Pat Robertson thing, mulling over what to do with the pronouncements that come so easily from the lips of those in Christian circles. It has always disturbed me. I remember hearing one miscellaneous preacher talking about how the Bush compound in Maine had been badly damaged by a storm at about the same time that Bush(senior) had pushed through some policy that wasn't as positive for Israel as this preacher apparently thought it should be. He said that it was God's punishment.

I remember laughing and saying something rude to the TV. If that was his version of God's judgement he serves an inept and bumbling one. If God really wanted Bush punished I am sure he would no longer be alive. Some storm damage, that was probably covered by insurance, would hardly seem like a sign from heaven.

Truthfully, by blaming God for every negative outcome, we make Him small and weak. We portray Him as nothing more than a schoolyard bully that is more interested in I-told-you-so's than in reaching out to this world.

I do not prescribe to the clockmaker approach to God that views Him as some distant third party, that made us and has no further interest in us. He does interact with this world and in the personal lives of His people. The disconnect comes when we think that we know everything that He is up to. We become arrogant, putting our words and ideas into His mouth. We assign Him a political party, clothe Him in our own vestments, and limit his movements to a few strict dance steps. We so often go beyond what is written for us, directly disobeying 1 Corinthians 4:6b.(...."Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over another.)

The God I know is a vast , unfathomable, creator of the complex, neverending, mysterious universe. He knows each atom He has created. He knows what the inside of a black hole is like. He knows each protein strand in my DNA. He knows me even better than I know myself. He stoops down to my lowly estate and chooses to call me daughter.

He is in control and his plan is much bigger than what we can see. He works in ways that are incomprehensible to us. He is the God of Job 38-41. The only response we can have to Him, during times when we have presumed to explain Him and His ways in our limited, finite methods, is the same as Job's : "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked 'Who is this that darkens my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you and you will answer me.' My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:2-6)

Later, God responds to some of Job's friends, who have interpreted Job's horrible circumstances as punishment from God for Job's sins. He says, " I am angry with you[Eliphaz] and your two friends because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." (Job 42:7) They have to make sacrifices to God and have Job pray for them. After fulfilling these requirements, God says that He will not deal with them according to their folly. He is merciful even in the face of being libeled and smeared by others.

So, even when I get irritated by people who should think before they speak, I must extend mercy to them and ask God to help me not harbor resentment against the foolish things that people say. I am sure that I have probably said stupid things too....as hard as that is to believe. :-)

May God teach us to weigh our words carefully.

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