If someone asked your closest friend out on a date, then told them, “In this relationship, if you do what I like, I will spoil you and make your life the most beautiful experience ever.
However, if you leave, break up with me, or – worse still – have an affair, I will destroy you and everything you have so bad, you will wish for death?”…
…what would you tell them?
“GET OUT OF THERE IMMEDIATELY!” Right?
Suppose your friend still went ahead, then later broke up – and the other party actually went ahead to destroy their reputation, livelihood, property, and even physical body?
What’s worse, they didn’t just stop after the emotional heat of the moment, they did it deliberately and consistently – and over a long period of time?
What would you term that person? Insane. Cruel. Vindictive.
Well, most of us know the Blessings in Deuteronomy 28:1-13. Many of us can even sing or quote them verbatim: “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field…”
But have you ever sat down to read the curses?! If you haven’t, I beg and beg you, please do – not to become afraid (because we are in a new covenant) – but to get a feel of how God sounded: deeply, intensely, lavishly generous and loving on one hand – then furious, extremely vindictive and cruel on the other hand.
When I read them last year, I littered that passage with single, double, and triple exclamation marks, “!” “!!” “!!!” I wrote “Dang!” “Wow!” “Hmm!” “Dang!” “Wow!” “Hmm!” all over. At the end of the last verse, I wrote “CHINEKE!”
So, as some people posit, how can you read such a chapter – and not believe God is not a psychopath?! Actually, some truly believe He is…and are they not right?
When you read the Old Testament, you can’t help but notice how “cruel” He seems to be – so why would I want to be in a relationship with such an emotional psycho?!
Let me explain. The difference between human psychos and God is that humans “love” selfishly. Whether we admit it or not, with humans, it is about our needs:
“You make ME happy when I am with you.”
“You bring out the best in ME.”
“I don’t want you to leave ME – even if that’s what’s best for you.”
With God, however, it is all about YOU.
He simply loves YOU.
Everything He does is in context of what’s truly best for YOU – so, when He “punished” the children of Israel in ways that seemed cruel, extreme or over-the-top, He was trying to get their attention to change for their good.
It was all about them.
I watched a reality show where a “strict” father shared an incident with his children. They were actually quite well-behaved, but, at a time, one daughter began seriously acting up. First, he warned her to desist, but she didn’t listen. He started taking away her privileges, and she got progressively madder when he did. Twice, she walked away, banged her door in anger, then locked herself in her room.
The third time she banged her door furiously, her father stood up, got tools – and removed the whole door.
She became well-behaved again.
The irony was that a couple of really spoiled children came to stay for a few days with them, and one of the kids mouthed off to the father. The teenage daughter almost went ballistic!
Later, when asked if her father was too strict, she replied, “No. I might not like when he punishes me, but I know I deserve it and it’s for my good. I know he loves us.”
Trust me, the worst thing God can ever do to His children is not punish them – but to let them be.
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