Now, while I don't agree with Marcion's conclusions, I think I would enjoy a breakfast conversation with him over some Eggs Benedict and Kenyan Chai. Because there are things about God that confuse me, that make me angry...
- God tests Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his son? Whether he ever intended to let him do it or not... still. (Gen. 22)
- I feel sorry for the Exodus Pharaoh because although half of the time he hardens his own heart, the other half of the time God hardens his heart. How do you win that one? (Ex. 9:12)
- God's command to punish the Amalekites by killing everything: men, women, and CHILDREN (I Samuel 15:1-4)
- "The next day an evil (harmful) spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul." (I Sam. 18:10)
- Or, one of my favorites, when God sends a deceiving spirit into the prophets' mouths in to lure Ahab into the battle of his demise. (I Kings 22:19-23)
- The Book of Job... uh, where do I start?
There are things about God that are disturbing, things we often don't talk about on Sunday AM, or read to our kids before nighty-night. I know, I know, "You don't want to serve a God who you can fully understand. His ways are beyond our ways. God works in mysterious ways!" I get that, but I think sometimes Christians use those bumper-sticker sayings to be intellectually and faithfully lazy. God has a history of revealing himself. He wants us to KNOW him. So what do I do with confusing aspects/tactics of a God who wants me to know him intimately yet is far larger than my minuscule brain; a God who sometimes seems to step outside of his self-definition - "God is Love;" a God who, at times, I wouldn't want to meet in a dark ally... what do I do? I don't have a sure answer. I tell you what I do right now. I turn to Jesus.
Sometimes God appears inconsistent, but then there is Jesus. He is consistent. He says, "This is how life looks, life as it is designed to be lived," and then he lives it. You look at that wandering homeless rabbi and you start naming all the cliches "That guy walks the talk, practices what he preaches..." Jesus makes sense; I cannot get away from it. And then Colossians 2:9 says, "For in Christ ALL the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." and then John says (1:18), "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son who himself is God... has made him known."
When I am confused by God, when I am angry because I cannot figure him out, when scripture seems to present different perspectives of God, the whole story of God and God himself points me to Jesus. Jesus is God saying, "I know I'm confusing the heck out of you right now. I know you don't get it. I know you think I've lost my mind, but look at Jesus. That's me, God. Right now some things don't make sense, but I'm Jesus: the one who heals the leper with a touch, the one who forgives the prostitute, the one who feeds the hungry crowds, the one who cuddles the babies, the one who empties myself on the cross!" When God is far off and I cannot see what he is doing, I look through Jesus and things get clearer.