Arguing with God
“Do you know who the biggest jerk in the Bible was?” This question was posed by a character in Martin Cruz Smith’s novel, “Wolves Eat Dogs”. Actually, I’m paraphrasing a bit. Jerk is more civil a term than the one used in the book.
The lead character, Detective Akaday Renko, is stumped when asked this question by Yakov and Bobby, both Orthodox Jews . (That’s a hint to think in terms of the Old Testament.)
It’s a tough question. After all, the Bible is filled with unpleasant and unsavory characters. There’s a lot of competition for biggest jerk status.
In their opinion, the biggest jerk in the Bible, believe it or not, was Noah.
“Why Noah?” Arkady asked. This was a new indictment.
“He didn’t argue.”
“Noah should have argued?”
Yakov explained, “Abraham argues with God not to kill everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses pleads with God not to kill worshippers of the golden calf. But God tells Noah to build a boat because He’s going to flood the entire world, and what does Noah say? Not a word.”
“Not a word,” said Bobby, “and saves the minimum. What a #@*%$.”
– Martin Cruz Smith, Wolves Eat Dogs
I think they are being a bit hard on Noah. I have to imagine that if God chose to speak directly to me, I would be pretty compliant. Who am I to question the plan that God lays out for me?
What are we to take away from the stories of Abraham and Moses? I have to think that God pushed them to the point of questioning and challenging his plan. After all, they were both chosen to play an important role in God’s long term plan. He definitely challenged their way of thinking about society, righteousness and faith.
Perhaps the lesson is that since we are part of God’s creation, we are also part of God’s plan. When we ask ourselves how can God can allow this or that (suffering, war, poverty…you pick), perhaps we should ask ourselves what we have done to combat the world’s ills.
Both Moses and Abraham, after successfully arguing with God, took on the responsibility to implement God’s plan for a faithful and righteous nation. Abraham was later asked to sacrifice his own son. Moses experienced no end of frustration trying to maintain the covenant between God and the people he spared. (He may have been the first person to utter the phrase, “Why don’t you just kill me now!”)
So…is there something about your life or God’s plan for it that doesn’t sit well with you? Go ahead, start an argument with God.
Be careful. He may let you win.
Copyright 2012 Kirk Whitney