I am sure that some of you are feeling a little uncomfortable regarding the things that have taken place this week. You are wanting to be faithful to pray, and you are okay to pray for protection for Longolemoe and her sons and even salvation for Moses, but the idea of praying that God would show Moses his displeasure with his sorcery, etc and show him his power by taking away Moses’ ill gotten gains. Well, that makes you a little uncomfortable and that is okay. It opens us up to a bit of a discussion.
There is an epidemic here in Africa that is also common in America and elsewhere. It is this prevailing idea that God is like a nice and gentle old grandpa who just wants to spoil us with gifts and love. Concurrently Jesus was sent to teach us only how to love and to be kind to others. The Holy Spirit is sent to help us to feel good about ourselves and comfort us in times of need. Though many of these things are certainly true they are not the whole truth. Because Scripture teaches us also that Our father is jealous for his name and his wrath is often unleashed because of our sins, and though He is slow to anger and abounding in love when he finally does get angry...you better hope you are not on the receiving end. And Jesus did teach us how to love and care for one another but he also consistantly called out the pharisees for their sin and turned over the tables in the temple. You see he was both the Conquering lion from the tribe of Judah and the Lamb that was slain. And God’s Holy Spirit was sent to teach us and help us find our identity in Christ but he was also sent to convict us and others of sin in our lives.
You see what we have done is that in our minds we have tamed God. We have shaved his beard. We have chosen to hold fast to the parts of God’s character that benefit us in some way but those things that make God scary we have hidden in the basement. The things that actually make us have a Holy fear of God we have omitted from our theology. Why? because we want a God that we can manipulate and control, not one who is in control of our lives. We want to have a say in what we should do or where we shold go or even who we should marry. Instead of surrendering ourselves fully to him and allowing him to direct our lives. I must admit it is a scary thing living in submission to God, you never know where it will take you. But I have found that God has taken me to many unexpected places, from the hospital bed to the bush of Africa. and though it is not what I would have imagined for my life, I am glad I followed him because I have learned that he does have good plans for our lives and he truly does know what is best.
Now what does that have to do with what happened last week with Moses? Well, If our God is weak, passive and kind, then calling Moses out on his greed and sorcery was wrong. And no doubt telling him that he would lose his riches and would not prosper until he repented and turned away from his sorcery and greed was also out of character with that god. In fact the idea of punishement and even hell are out of character with this ‘god’.
However, if our God is powerful, loving, just, kind, jealous, righteous, holy and he DEMANDS obedience. Then we see God showing his love but also showing his displeasure. We see things like Ananias and Sapphira being swallowed up by the earth for their greed and lying to God (Acts 5:1-11). We see Paul blind Elymas because he perverted the ways of God by mixing sorcery with the Jewish faith (Acts 13:4-12), We see Peter cursing Simon the sorcerer and his money because he wanted to manipulate God with money (Acts 8:9-25). So though, many of us (myself included) are indeed uncomfortable with this part of God’s character, we can not deny that it exists. and In fact it is what makes him the only God worthy of worshiping. It is his Holiness that causes me to want to fall on my face in worship. It is true that our God is slow to anger and abounding in love (Ex 34:6-7, read both verses for the full context), however there is a couple of things that anger him everytime in scripture, idolotry and sorcery. In fact, i think the use of scorcery is the only time in the new testament that you see Christians curse anyone. And this is the very situation that we found ourselves in with Moses and it is also why I feel our response was in keeping with the new testament example.
Now, if your misgivings were not because of the character of God, but because of the faulty earthly vessel chosen to speak these words in this instance, you are right to question. I am fully aware of my own sin, as are others. But I want you all to know that I spoke those words out of obedience to what God’s spirit was speaking inside of me. They did not come from my own heart or even my personal desires for Moses. It is still our hope that he and his wife will repent from this wickedness and find their hope and salvation in Jesus. I hope this helps a little in understanding the situation and maybe it even causes us to discuss a bit the character of God. That is, after all what the comments are for! Feel free to post your opinion.