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Consider The Kindness of God
by Samuel Frost
Paul tells us to consider God’s kindness in a passage where “wrath”, “judgment” and “hardness” are mentioned. God “hardens” hearts of individuals. He has “mercy” on whom he has mercy. It’s his choice. The problem is, we humans don’t like God’s choices because we deem them as “unfair.” But Paul’s only response to this is: “who are you, O’ man, to talk back to God?” That’s a deep question.Paul tells us to consider God’s kindness in a passage where “wrath”, “judgment” and “hardness” are mentioned. God “hardens” hearts of individuals. He has “mercy” on whom he has mercy. It’s his choice. The problem is, we humans don’t like God’s choices because we deem them as “unfair.” But Paul’s only response to this is: “who are you, O’ man, to talk back to God?” That’s a deep question.Who are we to say that God can and God cannot do this and that because, in our great estimation, it is “unfair”? When did our sense of fairness become God’s standard? I am recently translating the Book of Micah, and I noticed where the NIV again drops the ball in its quest to be a “dynamic equivalent” linguistically speaking.
In Mi 2.1 the prophet wrote, “Woe to those who plan sin…who plot evil…” The word for “evil” here is ra. The NIV got this right. However, they miss the boat when, in verse 3, they translate: “Therefore the LORD says: I am planning disaster against this people…for it will be a time of calamity.” Notice the words “disaster” and “calamity” there. Both are the same word in 2.1: ra. In reading Hebrew, one cannot fail to miss the lexical force of the prophet’s use of this single term in three instances here: woe to you who plot evil. I, the LORD, am going to plot evil myself against you!” Micah, and I add, the Holy Spirit who so guided Micah to use the word ra, is making an incredible statement concerning God’s prerogative over the affairs of men. But, I can hear the post-modern, politically correct crowd began their whine: that ain’t fair! And, I can hear their argumentative protests that this makes God arbitrary. Perhaps the more sophisticated PC pendants would give us a lesson in semantics, noting that ra does not always mean evil. Well, there were other terms our dear brother Micah could have used, but he uses this single one three times in one passage…think he has a point? Man’s plotting evil versus God’s plotting evil?
Christians have a hard time dealing with a God who is sovereign and very much aware of human suffering. At this moment a child is being raped, a limb is being hacked, a baby is being aborted and a pornography film is being made – add a homosexual pornography film. And God knows each of the people involved. He knows their very thoughts while they raise the knife or roll the camera. He knows every detail of their evil acts. The prophets let us know that he has a little evil in store for them, too. It may strike us strange, but the prophets never conjure up the so called “question of evil” or “problem of evil” in the world. After all, why should they? It’s God’s world.
Some may notice that God here is repaying evil with evil. True. What’s the problem? Where does it say that he can’t? Who will say to him, “hey, man, peace! Smoke a doobie!” (which is the source of much of the now fifty something politically correct used to be hippies). “Doesn’t the Bible say not to repay evil with evil”? Yes, it does. But that’s written to man, not to God. God is under no law and no obligation except his own being. Kant, the nineteenth century German rationalist, developed the idea that God cannot command man to do that which man is not able to do. Similarly, some have the idea that God cannot do or break commandments that he gives to men. But, these ideas are rooted in freewill philosophy, of which Kant was.
Let me give an example of this reasoning: God commands men to love him with all their strength, mind and soul. Ask yourself, is that humanly possible apart from the grace and power of God? 24 hours a day? Heck, if I could do that in my own strength and mind, then why do I even need “the power of God”? That ought to settle the first problem. The second one raised is that God says to “love your enemy.” But, God is under no obligation to love his enemies. Just because he tells a man not to lie, does not put God under the obligation that he cannot “bring such a powerful deception so that they believe the lie” (II Thes 2.11). God causes people to believe lies? God forbid, says the dope smoking, tree hugging postmodernist. That’s not cool, dude!
These are just some thoughts I thought I’d share from my studies in Micah, which will be available soon on our website in a lecture format (www.thereignofchrist.com). I did have one other thought, since there is so much “love” going around. How can a God who loves as much as some say that he does turn around and condemn a person who was once saved and believed? That is, how can a truly converted person, saved by the love of God, turn around and sin to the point that God says, “that’s it, you’re not saved anymore!” Wouldn’t love mean that “I saved you and love you regardless of your sins. In fact, I am with you the rest of your life, furiously pursuing you, in spite of you defects and shortcomings, and I will always love you and never separate myself from you.” Man, now that sounds like some heavy duty love action! Oh, yes, but that involves that pesky evil Calvinist doctrine of perseverance of the saints, the P in the TULIP. And, well, we can’t have that, because that would require that God did love us in such a way, and, well, we just can’t have God loving us that much. Hey, but the homosexual pastor, he’s gold! Besides that, that much love from God would negate freewill, and that’s the one sacred cow that must not, can not, ever be even questioned! Ask yourself again, in the words of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, who are you?