When God Gets into the Fight

Standard

When God Gets into the Fight

Exodus 14:19–31

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

The Pursuers Drowned

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Matthew 18:21–35

Forgiveness

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

One of the questions we all have about the connection between the Old and New Testaments is how can the God who fought for the Hebrew people and punished the Egyptians be the same God of Jesus Christ in the Gospels? It is a common question that often lacks a lot of investigation for those who ask it.

The problem for those who focus on the violence in the Old Testament is that the stories are often taken out of context. For instance, if you have a problem with God killing all the firstborn of the Egyptians, you really should have a problem with the Egyptians killing all the Hebrew male children. If God is truly good, something has to be done, and however justice is given, it would likely appear violent to someone. In context, most groups like the Hebrews, who outnumbered their Egyptian masters, would not have stopped with the firstborn. They would have either killed all of the Egyptians or enslaved them, thus becoming them within a generation. That’s not God’s will or God’s way. God fights the battles Himself so that we are not twisted by the stains of sin.

Those who think that the New Testament does not portray a violent God have a problem with cotext. They have not read Revelation… nor have they read the parts in the Gospels in which Jesus talks about God’s justice. In Matthew’s Gospel, the rebellious are killed for trying to keep for themselves that which belongs to God.

But there is a wave of grace that flows from Genesis to Revelation in the offer of forgiveness and the call to repentance through the grace and power of God. It is a wave that we step into to get washed and then it whisks us off our feet and away to forgive the rest of the world in Jesus’ name. God handles that justice. We may be called to go with Him in that work of justice. We will always be about the work of grace though. I believe that when we all look back over the whole of history, we will see that it all was grace.

Where do you see God fighting for you?

Who else do you see God fighting for?

Click to Tweet!

When God Gets into the Fight

Exodus 14:19–31

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

The Pursuers Drowned

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Matthew 18:21–35

Forgiveness

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

One of the questions we all have about the connection between the Old and New Testaments is how can the God who fought for the Hebrew people and punished the Egyptians be the same God of Jesus Christ in the Gospels? It is a common question that often lacks a lot of investigation for those who ask it.

The problem for those who focus on the violence in the Old Testament is that the stories are often taken out of context. For instance, if you have a problem with God killing all the firstborn of the Egyptians, you really should have a problem with the Egyptians killing all the Hebrew male children. If God is truly good, something has to be done, and however justice is given, it would likely appear violent to someone. In context, most groups like the Hebrews, who outnumbered their Egyptian masters, would not have stopped with the firstborn. They would have either killed all of the Egyptians or enslaved them, thus becoming them within a generation. That’s not God’s will or God’s way. God fights the battles Himself so that we are not twisted by the stains of sin.

Those who think that the New Testament does not portray a violent God have a problem with cotext. They have not read Revelation… nor have they read the parts in the Gospels in which Jesus talks about God’s justice. In Matthew’s Gospel, the rebellious are killed for trying to keep for themselves that which belongs to God.

But there is a wave of grace that flows from Genesis to Revelation in the offer of forgiveness and the call to repentance through the grace and power of God. It is a wave that we step into to get washed and then it whisks us off our feet and away to forgive the rest of the world in Jesus’ name. God handles that justice. We may be called to go with Him in that work of justice. We will always be about the work of grace though. I believe that when we all look back over the whole of history, we will see that it all was grace.

Where do you see God fighting for you?

Who else do you see God fighting for?

Click to Tweet!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s