Monday, January 10, 2011
God... with sarcasm
Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.
The Old Testament shows us a covenant-keeping and merciful God. He is in relationship with Israel. He loves them and provides for them. But He is also deserted by them and forgotten by them. In this context the text lets us know that Israel has forsaken God and followed idols. It specifically lists seven particular gods that the people of Israel began to worship instead of God. This was more than a distraction, it was an all out cultural revolution in which God was completely abandoned. They replaced Him with pretty much anything else that might have come along! They wanted to be so much like the gentiles around them that they adopted virtually any religious influence and loved every idol they saw.
This wholesale abandonment led to them being repressed by the very cultures they had become enamored with. They eventually realized the folly of their sin and cried out to God. His first response is stinging with more than a hint of sarcasm. My paraphrase: "What? You talkin' to me? You got loads of other gods... let one of them fix it!" Of course this is a teaching moment. God used His disappointment and sarcasm to get their attention. He did send them another deliverer. His grace was there, in time... but not without the prophetic edge of His angry words leaving them in fear of Him.
We forget this side of God. He is a person. He is the ultimate intelligence. It is very insulting when we replace what should be our sole worship of Him with anything else. He has pure emotion. God feels disappointment, anger, and to a degree insult. And He expresses and knows these feelings in a holy manner we cannot begin to fully understand. He will respond with words that may humble us so that in our humility we might properly align ourselves with His power, glory, and holiness. From there we can begin to worship Him again.
This instance makes me re-examine the way I view God. When I see God through His sarcasm, I take notice. I re-evaluate the limited way in which I tend to view Him. It purges me of anemic views of deity and calls me into a real and honest respect. I am probably an odd duck in that category, but because I am "gifted" with sarcasm (often imperfectly expressed) I know what is at its heart. And if I know it (even with sin in me) how much more does it say coming from a Holy God. I'm thinking it means a lot when God does not mince words.
God is a gracious and merciful. Those are the outstanding features of the gospel. Frankly, we would have no hope and no faith without those facts. But God is also holy, pure, just, and an intelligence and wisdom beyond my scope of comprehension. To snub Him is more than a social miscue or an intellectual choice. It is to offend the greatest and only perfect mind. It is why Hell exists. But thankfully, it is also why grace in Christ Jesus is freely offered! God's sarcasm is not played for laughs. It is displayed to show His holiness. Wildly enough, His grace is displayed so that we might know true joy! And that brings more than chuckle. That brings happiness and contentment in Christ forever!
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13