Have you ever had that thought that if there was a God that never gave up that you would follow Him? Or maybe at least if there was a story that proved that. This story produces an interesting moment for you. All throughout this book we have been experiencing a people struggling with experiencing a God who was chasing them and doing everything possible to bring them towards living with faith. The problem was that they had no desire to live with faith in this God. They wanted a God that looked more like them. They wanted a God in their own image.
One of the major themes that hits this verse hard is the fact that when humans want to vindicate a way of life contrary to faith, hope, and love, they will invent a god that looks just like that. If we want violence, we create a violent God. If we want greed, we create a greedy God. Whatever gives us the vindication to be whatever we want to be, we can find a way to vindicate it. These days it looks very different because we worship differently. Most of the things we worship is power, money, fame, influence, etc. we love those things and anything that endangers them is subject to being called evil and outlawed.
The thing about God is that he endangers all that we hold dear that would be bad for us. The love of these things will kill and destroy us and all those around us. God’s intent is for life and love. He will stop at nothing to weed out the things that are bad for us. He is the doctor with the scalpel. He is doing the work that brings us pain but life in the end. What the Israelites at this time failed to realize is that they needed this God to bring life, yet they were turning to the things that would harm them in the end.
A parent gets this when their kid goes after the burner or the Benadryl. No matter how many times we tell them no, they keep going back to it. The kid wants to go towards the thing that will hurt them, but the parent keeps stopping them. We have a tendency towards getting what we want. What we tend to miss is that we are made for serving and being for other and for reliance on God. The universe that God designed is one that thrives when we serve each other and one that implodes and dies when we fight for our own selfishness. It started with the fall of man in Genesis and has been like that ever since.
The crazy thing is that God does not give up on us. Even though we keep proving that we are bent on self destruction and defiance He still keeps giving us ways out. This God never gives up and does everything possible to draw into the life he has for us. He has such unconditional love that there is nothing that dampens His love for us. The question becomes how do we respond to this kind of God. A God that loves beyond outright betrayal and destruction of the life He gives is very unpredictable and we have reason to fear that He comes to us to cut away what is bad for us. It could be painful, but it brings life.
What do we choose…a blissful existence with certain, self-imposed death or a moment of losing what we want to gain life? I think life would be the best option.