Deuteronomy 4:23-26 teaches: “Take heed unto yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which He made with you and make you a graven image or the likeness of anything, which the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” This God who promises destruction to idolaters is the same God of whom it is said: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
This dichotomy of God as both loving and terrible confuses many who will not study the scriptures and who wish to have all the blessings of a loving Father and none of the punishments for their wrong doings! This confusion leads them to condemn the Bible as a book of contradictions. Such convince themselves that if they condemn the words of God, then they will be not be condemned for their sinful behaviors. Jesus spoke to those of His day who deceived themselves in this way: “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13).
In truth, there is no more of a contradiction in the dual nature of God than there is in the dual nature of an earthly father who must “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). Jesus puts it this way: “which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:9-11)!
However, good fathers also punish their children to teach them that actions have consequences. So, why shouldn’t the ultimate Father punish us when we disobey? Hebrews 12:5-11 says: “do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives…we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness”.
God is not the author of confusion; He is the perfect Father! Perhaps we cannot see this because we have surrendered little by little our lofty God for one so low, so ignoble that we cannot find enough of Him to believe in or respect- how tragic”(A. W. Tozer). Think about it!
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.