Isaiah 45:6 I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.
One of the most challenging realizations I had when I first determined to read the entire bible start to finish was the fact that God was responsible for some awful, awful things. For example, the bible tells us that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” when asked by Moses to let the Hebrews go from slavery in Egypt. As a result Pharaoh denied Moses’ request over and over – and the Egyptian people suffered horrific plagues.
Or when the Israelites were taking over the Promised Land from the native peoples and were directed by God to slaughter every man, woman, child, and living animal. In other words, nothing that drew breath in that place was to be spared. Can you imagine Israelites (at God’s insistence!) taking babies from their mother’s arms and running them through with the sword?
And of course God’s own people Israel were not spared. When they rebelled against God’s rule God sent plagues, poisonous serpents, and other kinds of calamities to bring Israel back in line. It’s not that God was never merciful, but God was not always merciful. That’s just a fact.
As I’ve written before, God refuses to be domesticated by you and me. God is God. God does as he chooses, for reasons known only to God. I don’t have to like it, but I also shouldn’t deny it. Part of becoming a mature Christian is learning to make peace with God’s apparent contradictions and less than loving ways.
Lord God, teach me to love you – even the parts I don’t like. Amen.