“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
The atheist Richard Dawkins has described God in this way: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” (The God Delusion) There are several ways in which to hate God. You can actually manifest overt hatred and anger towards Him with words, thoughts, and expletives or you can simply ignore Him with no or little thought one way or another; remain deaf to His words and commandments. Both express hatred for God. The Hebrew word for ignore is “to hate.” Dawkins at least makes his thoughts for God blunt and fully expressed. We cannot say as much for the host of those who simply act as though He isn’t there, and mostly do not really show concern if He is or isn’t.
There are some occurrences in Scripture of God acting upon man that give us just enough information that appearances lead some to think that He is acting unfairly, capriciously, or without just reason, such as the immolation of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, because they led the worship of God in a way they were not instructed by Him; or the reaching out of Uzzah to apparently steady the Ark when the oxen pulling the Ark stumbled and it appeared to be falling, and he immediately died; or the instruction to God’s people to completely destroy a pagan enemy, men, women and children; or the immediate killing of Ananias and Sapphira when they lied about the selling price of their own property, secretly holding some back, as though publicly giving all the proceeds to support the Christian assembly of believers. These are but a sampling of Scripture history which seem to lead to Dawkins’s description of God, that is, if you do not search out any more facts for right interpretation and see these events from your own human perspective. But seeing that these written accounts are inerrantly expressed by the Spirit of God, what we have in the description of them is exactly what God wanted us to have; no more, no less. Trust is required.
Yet in the observations which we make of fellow human actions, do we ever judge just on what we see, entirely separated from who they are, or who they are to us, or to others whom we know and trust. Does their previously observed personal character enter in? Does it matter if they are family to us or a complete stranger? There are numerous factors which complete the picture of what we witness to determine the nature and “facts” of what we have just seen, for we “see” not only with our eyes, but the emotions, memories, intuition, familiarity, etc. God gives us enough factors to judge our opinion of Him, our trust in who He is and who He has revealed Himself to be. People like Dawkins bring, as we do, much personal mind-baggage to interpret what they read and what they see. In this case, those like Dawkins already have zero trust in the One they have come to hate. It is perhaps telling that they hate so vociferously the One who to them doesn’t exist.
There are many unspoken and for us unobserved-at-the-moment factors which may arise only from a relationship to God, our experience with Him, our acquaintance with His being and character which go into judging His actions. The Bible does not go to great lengths to defend God’s every action. It allows you to judge on your own, based on your trust in who He is and what His character is. Searching the Scriptures brings many other factors to bear on the particular recorded instance of what happened in a specific passage. For example, God had given clear and direct instructions elsewhere for the Ark to be transported on the shoulders of Levites, the priests of the people, not drawn with oxen. He had numerous times described the holiness of the Ark of the Covenant and who could and could not touch it to emphasize the eternal seriousness of worship, obedience, and its weighty consequences.
There is a real tendency in the fallenness of man to treat as common what is truly uncommon, unique, and powerful. This describes the very history of man in which sacred ministries, institutions and purposes have lost their singular message and mission and devolved into slovenly misrepresentations of a holy and pure God. That may not mean much to many, but it is the cutting off and denigrating of the majestic glory and power of the Giver of the Gospel, the one message which alone brings life to man.
God’s history with mankind, and the written record of it, can only be rightly seen, treasured, and applied personally so as to result in your eternal life, when it is seen and understood through trust in who He is and will always be; trust without leaning to your own understanding; trust which relies on the fear of God and not the fear of man, which more ably characterizes a Richard Dawkins.
The nature of knowing and hearing and obeying God is encapsulated in the nature of trusting God, which goes beyond personally understanding everything about Him. His ways are high above ours, his purposes are not fully known, His infinite knowledge of the hearts of men, of the past, the present, the future, place Him in a sphere that is far removed from your capacity to grasp the full truth and immensity of all things. Hence your trust of Him is absolutely essential. This, Richard Dawkins and his comrades, simply refuse to do, which place them in an ignorance of God they do not see. They trust only in their own perspective, which is but a fatal narcissism.
That which you cannot always see clearly with your eyes, or understand with your finite mind, or feel with your emotions you must entrust to God, casting all your concerns on Him, believing He cares for you, and will never lead you errantly. Trust in Him is absolutely necessary to your sojourn in this world. You cannot pass through it without it. Do not understand it, cannot see the justice of it, tend to blame God, are mystified by His sovereignty, question the Scripture, wonder if the Scripture fails to keep up with the times, wonder about LGBT? Where God has truly spoken, you must trust Him. Many today, even professing believers, are giving up on such trust because they lean on their own understanding. It is possibly why Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?” Indeed.
“We have not known thee as we ought, nor learned thy wisdom, grace, and power; the things of earth have filled our thought, and trifles of the passing hour. Lord, give us light thy truth to see, and make us wise in knowing thee.”
(1st verse of Thomas Benson Pollock’s hymn, “We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought,” 1889)
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