Monday, August 22, 2011

Does God Lie?

I have a friend - I'll call him "Al" - who has asked me some challenging questions lately.  I love these questions because they really make me dig into the word and into the very nature of God Himself.

Two questions came up this week.

One was regarding the account of Yeshua visiting the gentile region of Tyre and Sidon in Matthew 15 and Mark 7 (the only time He ever ventured away from Israel, other than His journey into Egypt as an infant).  A gentile woman begged for His help with her daughter who was demon-possessed.  In Matthew 15:23, He even ignored the woman, and His disiples encouraged Him to send her away.  In the next verse, He replied “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”    It sounds harsh, does it not?   Why would he say that?  Did He have no intention of providing a means of salvation to the gentiles as well as the Jews?

The next question from Al came from Exodus 32, beginning at verse 7.  And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves (emphasis Al's)  Why is God calling them Moses's people?  And in verse 10, God says to Moses, "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”  The reaction from Moses was to intercede for his people; and to remind God of His promises, and to point out that His name would be tarnished among the Egyptians if He destroyed the Israelites.

What is going on in these scenarios?  Did God change His mind?  I discussed this with the kids tonight, and this is what we concluded:

Regarding the gentile woman:  The fact that Yeshua ended up healing the woman's daughter, in spite of what He said, tells us that something was going on beyond the face value of His statement.  He was about to expose His disciples to a great faith, and He was also preparing them for the near future, in which salvation would be offered to the gentiles.

I believe He was actually sharpening Moses in Exodus 32. And look at the incredible insight He was able to get out of Moses - Moses was able to articulate very well why God shouldn’t do what He was saying He would do. And in fact, if God DID do what He was suggesting, He would have had to break His promise, and therefore be a liar… He promised in Gen 49:10 that the scepter would not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes. Destroying the tribe of Judah would have wiped out the messianic line, and we’d all be toast.

Throughout scripture, God says or does seemingly outrageous things in order to teach a lesson or to test one's faith. Remember Abraham and Isaac?  That would be a subject for an entire post on its own ... we'll save it for another day.

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