Day 261 – God in the Dock
On: July 19, 2015 | By: SWLadmin
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When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfilment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 20-24
The world will not like these verses. They appear to speak of a vengeful, havoc wreaking deity. How could a loving God do these things? Or even allow such things to happen?
A little context may help understand what was actually going on here. God had chosen a people, Israel, to be recipients of His favour. However, rather than modelling, to a watching world, how life lived in harmony with their Maker might look, they kept the blessing to themselves and exploited the privilege for their own status. Quite the opposite of what God had intended.
God had warned them many times that this would not go on unchecked. Indeed, the Old Testament closes with an opportunity and a warning: “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Malachi 4:5-6
The Israelites’ hearts were not turned – they called for the crucifixion of the last and greatest prophet, the Elijah referred to in Malachi’s prophecy, God’s Son Himself. God’s patience was exhausted and He removed the protection Israel had known. Thus, the destruction of Jerusalem took place in AD 70, not by God, but by Him withdrawing His special protection against an invading army.
The context actually reverses things: rather than God being “in the dock”, it is mankind, specifically His chosen people, who brought trouble upon themselves. It is they who had to answer for their actions.
Christians today are similarly called to reveal God’s character and grace to a watching world (see Day 259). Will we fare better than His chosen ones did all those years ago?
Father God, You took the sins of the world on Your own Son. Forgive me when I am tempted to blame You for things that are the result of my own doing. Amen.