EXPLORING THE WORD
God in the Old Testament
By Denise Baum
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Continued from Page One
Lot's Daughters. I wholeheartedly agree that this passage is disgusting. I always thought that Lot must have been a slimy jerk, a coward, and a poor excuse for a man. The perplexing thing is that Lot gets a good report in the New Testament. He is called "righteous" in 2 Peter 2:7. But this description does not apply to his treatment of his daughters. Again, I highly recommend Dr. Lamb's book; he speaks about this very incident. He reminds us that "an absence of condemnation does not constitute an affirmation" (God Behaving Badly, p.61). We don't have to believe that God condoned Lot's behavior. In addition, he notes that "Lot wasn't rescued because of his righteous behavior, but simply because Yahweh was merciful to him based on the intercession of his uncle Abraham" (ibid, p.61)." Look closer to this filthy piece of history and you will see that the angels shielded Lot's daughters in the absence of a father's protection. God definitely did not endorse the decision Lot made.
In the Old Testament, when we read of rape, incest, brutality, deception, theft, and greed, we must see the moral corruption originates with man, not God. We have a whole Bible whose history demonstrates the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin.
And now I come to the story of Hagar and Ishmael. We may blame Abraham for failing to trust God and creating that whole heart-wrenching mess. Isaac was so obviously the son God promised. Ishmael was the result of Abraham and Sarah trying to help God out, since they felt sexually incapable of becoming parents. When Sarah became jealous of Hagar and her son (and what wife wouldn't be in those circumstances!?), Abraham was upset. He had cherished Ishmael as son and heir for over thirteen years. It was God who commanded Abraham to drive away the slave and her son. "But God said to Abraham, 'Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring'" (Genesis 21:12-13). God wasn't at fault just because he made a hard decision. We need to trust God to mend our mistakes for us. He has an amazing skill at transforming sorrow into joy, performing for us what only he can accomplish. And we have the proof that God kept his promise to Hagar, to make her son into the father of a great nation (Genesis 17:20 and 25:12-18).
As you study these biographies in the Old Testament, I pray that you will experience a transformation of your own perspective. Often our own worldview obscures the true meaning of the Word of God. King David said this about the law of God. "Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart" (Psalm 119:34). David saw no injustice and no sorrow in the law; he longed to obey it and benefit from its wisdom and honor. He understood the law as representing a perfect, loving God. We too need to cherish the law with the same trust and adoration.
I truly believe that God Behaving Badly will be an enormous blessing to you. Dr. Lamb gives in-depth answers to many of the apparent inconsistencies of the Old Testament. He has also just published another book with similar frank treatment of Biblical difficulties, Prostitutes and Polygamists. May God bring you peace and understanding.
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | God-Father | History-Apologetics
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