Sunday 18 August 2013

God is a person

Martin and I are currently reading the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.  Two recent chapters have really struck me.

Ezekiel 16 is an extended metaphor of God's relationship with Israel.  God describes how, when he found her, Israel was rejected and weak - like a newborn baby that no one was bothering to take care of.  He took care of her, then later married her and gave her riches.  In response, she rejected him: she gave the gifts he'd given her to other men (i.e. offered them to idols - idolatory seems to be a huge theme in Ezekiel) and was as promiscuous as a prostitute.

The chapter is full of pain and anger.  God is no dispassionate force here: he is a person.  Rejection hurts him.  His wife taking other lovers makes him jealous and angry.

Then a few days later we came across Ezekiel 20, which starts like this:
In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain elders of Israel came to consult the Lord, and sat down before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: Why are you coming? To consult me? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be consulted by you.
God goes on to explain that he is refusing to talk to the people because they have rejected him, have refused to come back to him and are even seeking help from other gods at the same time as coming to him.

I've been sobered by both these passages.  I think I'm too casual in my relationship to God.  I think of him as always being there for me - yet these passages suggest that that's not quite true.  God is a loving God but also a jealous God.  He's only available to those who are willing to give him his rightful place: who are willing to serve him exclusively and to trust him and not seek help from other sources.

These passages have made me see that I need to treat God like a lover not a service-provider!

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