photo © 2004 Dennis Jarvis | more info (via: Wylio)
I read Exodus 12 and get whisked away to my sophomore year in college. Most nights a friend of mine in my dorm would drop by and we would get into huge arguments about God that would last for hours and leave both of us exhausted and no closer to convincing the other person of our position.
One night he brought up the Passover.
“How could a good God kill every firstborn child in Egypt? That is cruel and unjust. It is evil. Those kids were innocent.”
A difficult point to counter to be sure. How does one justify this? How does one cling to the idea that God is loving and just when he has no problem wiping out an entire generation for something their leader decides to do?
Who Is The Story About?
A few weeks ago I scolded Moses (perhaps unfairly) for thinking the story was about him and not God. Today I am going to “scold” those of us who think this story is about us.
This story is about God and a bunch of slaves. Last I checked, I am not a slave.
I have not been forced to make bricks day after day for 430 years. I have never worried about the government coming in and slaughtering my children.
In contrast, I live a pretty easy life in the most powerful nation on Earth.
So when I read a story about God enacting some pretty intense judgment on the most powerful nation on Earth to rescue a people oppressed by that nation, I get a little uncomfortable. You probably do too.
So if we are a part of this story, I don’t think we are on the winning side.
What Is God Like?
I have been blogging through the Bible. I am exactly 62 chapters in and one thing has become very clear: God favors the underdog.
He chooses weird people. He looks out for women and children (particularly younger children). He hears when the oppressed cry out to him.
And now, with the final plague, he is forever making himself known as the God who brought down mighty Egypt to rescue a bunch of slaves.
Not slaves in a spiritual or metaphorical sense. These were actual slaves. They suffered their whole lives under the oppressive hand of Pharaoh. Hope was in short supply if it existed at all. Each day was exactly the same as the one before and would be the same for their children and their children’s children’s children.
I am not like them. At all.
Why We Get Offended
We don’t like what God does because in some sense, he does it to us. If the Exodus took place now, it would probably happen in America.
We are Egypt.
Oh, and I am the firstborn.
So yeah, I don’t like this.