Wednesday, October 16, 2013

revealed in the Bible

Over and over, during the time that Seth and I have been reading through Joshua, Judges, and now 1 Samuel, God's role as the central character in the narratives has been clear.  He acts to accomplish His purpose and the human agents are His following His script, to borrow an analogy from Doug Wilson in his book Easy Chairs, Hard Words which I have previously posted about here.

In Easy Chairs, Hard Words, Martin the elder pastor, in speaking to the younger pastor, has just compared God's actions as analogous to those of Shakespeare creating the character of Macbeth and causing him to act in the way that Shakespeare wrote for him to act.  I'll pick up with Martin explaining possible objections to this viewpoint and the younger pastor responding.
Whenever I use the analogy of a play, people object and say that we are greater than mere fictional characters. But the same objection can be leveled against the biblical analogy of the Potter and His pots.  We are more than mere pots. And Paul agrees with this, even while he is using the analogy. But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this?' Paul declares that we are fashioned according to the will of the Potter, and in the same breath, he blames those pots who think otherwise. He clearly assigns personal responsibility to pots. And the analogy remains a good one.
"You are saying that because God's resources are infinitely greater than Shakespeare's, He has the power to write history and create characters who have true freedom." 
"Yes...without having His creatures write the play."
"I don't get it."
Martin laughed, and leaned forward. "Neither do I."
"Now I don't get that. If you don't get it, why do you believe it?"
"Because I was told to. This is not truth presented to me by some explorer or scientist. It was revealed in the Bible. If it had not been, I would not believe it. God does not demand that I understand Him, or understand all His relations to His creatures. And I don't understand Him."
"But you do believe Him...?"
Martin smiled, "I do believe Him." 

And that's what it comes down to.  Do I accept the teaching that Scripture provides of how God interacts with His creatures, or do I only allow for that which makes sense to me or seems "fair"?
I choose to accept the teaching of Scripture.
Here are just some of the verses (some will just be the pertinent phrases)that have caught my attention while we have read through these Old Testament books:

Joshua 10:8,10
The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you."
The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel...

Joshua 21:44
The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them.

Joshua 23:3,5,9-10,15
You yourselves have seen everything the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the LORD your God who fought for you.
The LORD your God himself will drive them out of your way. He will push them out before you...
The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand because the LORD your God fights for you, just as He promised.
But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until He has destroyed you from this good land He has given you.

Joshua 24: 2-13 is Joshua recounting the words of God to the people of Israel where each verse begins with "I", as in God doing all the things recounted, beginning with making Israel a nation out of Abraham.

Judges 1:2,4
The LORD answered, "Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands."
When Judah attacked, the LORD gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands...

Judges 2: 3
Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.

Judges 4:9
"Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman."

Judges 7:22
When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords.

Judges 13:1
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so that the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

Judges 14:3b,4
But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me. She's the right one for me." (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines, for at that time they were ruling over Israel.


  1. Kathleen9:11 AM

    Oh Heather, Hard Words indeed. I find I default to the Gospels where Jesus turns to His disciples after something of a small exodus of followers and says, "...Do you also want to go away?" To which Peter says, "Lord, to whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:65) I love that Peter doesn't say, "NO! I DO NOT want to go AWAY ever!" He is reconciled to the fact that Jesus is Lord, as he calls him. He is the Lord whether you stay or go, so he stays. Fair, not fair, easy, hard... He is Lord, so by the grace of God, we accept his teaching.

  2. Isn't it amazing how a truth so fearful as this can also be our ultimate comfort? Thanks for sharing these words Heather.

  3. Very thoughtful comments, you dear girls. Kath, I liked your point about "He is the Lord whether you stay or go", that's a great point. And Vanessa, you're so right about this being an ultimate comfort. Thanks for saying that.
    Love you guys. xoxo


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