If I Were God...

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 5, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Have you ever begun a sentence with those words? Maybe not those words exactly, but if you’ve ever questioned what God is doing or why he is doing it, or questioned his existence because things aren’t going the way YOU think they should, then you’ve essentially wondered if you could do his job better. This sort of thing started with Adam and Eve, as Genesis 3 indicates that they were duped by the serpent into thinking they’d be better off making their own rules instead of following the one God gave them. They were also drawn to the possibility of “becoming like God, knowing good and evil." That theme has continued throughout the Bible and throughout history as many from God’s own chosen people have questioned the Creator, and sadly some have even turned away from him because of their disappointment or anger toward him.

I have a friend who is very generous with his time and money, is loving toward his family, friends, and strangers, and certainly exhibits some godly characteristics. However, you won’t hear him say that the Lord is the source of his strength. Rather, the Lord is a source of pain in his eyes. My friend’s wife, daughter, and extended family members all profess their love for the Lord. But 17 years ago, tragedy struck and his youngest daughter was killed in a car accident. A conversation with a mutual friend who is a Christian revealed that my friend says he lost whatever faith he had in God the day his daughter was killed. In other words, if my friend were God, there is no way that would’ve happened.

I could sit here and go down a laundry list of things I would change about this world and about my own life if I were God, but there is no reason to waste your time with hypotheticals. The fact is I am not God and cannot think like he does (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is the Creator and I am just one part of his creation. According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:16-29, it’s just silly for “one who is formed” to question the One who forms it. Take a look at that passage and see how Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions to show his readers the absurdity of questioning the Creator regarding anything about our lives. He refers to God as the “potter” and us as “lumps of clay” (v. 21). You may argue that you are more than a lump of clay, and you’d be correct. But that’s because God has already formed you. David recognized in Psalm 139:13 that not just himself, but all of us are “knit together” by God in the wombs of our mothers. Since we cannot form ourselves, how can any of us argue that we are anything more than lumps of clay before God gets his hands on us?

Another well-known story in the Bible of a man who questioned God is the story of Job. By all accounts, he was a righteous man and knew even before he lost everything that it all came from God. But like my friend who I mentioned above, Job questioned his Creator after a series of overwhelming tragedies. If you read the whole book of Job, you see that Job’s friends assume that the trouble God brings in his life must be the result of some sin that he has committed. Job then later questions the fairness of God’s judgment, thinking that his adversity amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for any wrongs he has committed. The Lord responds finally in Job 38:2: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” God later recounts many of the things he has done that Job was not around to see, and the things he knows that Job does not. In the end, Job learns his lesson that, even in the worst of trials and adversity, man still has no right or reason to question our Creator who sees and knows ALL THINGS.

In the Romans passage, Paul draws attention back to the familiar stories of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who oppressed the Israelites until God delivered them through a series of plagues that he brought on Egypt. If you are not familiar with those stories, check out Exodus 7-12. Paul references specifically Exodus 9:16, where God told Pharaoh through Moses that he had “raised him up” for the purpose of showing his power and name to the whole earth. Looking at the original verse, the language there can also be translated that God simply “spared” Pharaoh for that purpose. That sort of changes our understanding from thinking that God took away Pharaoh’s free will and CAUSED his heart to be hardened to realizing that Pharaoh’s heart was already hard and God simply continued to spare his life so that God could use it to bring glory to his name.

Do you realize what the end result of a hardened heart toward God is? It’s death! And the reality is that ALL of us have hearts hardened toward God at some point. As sinners, our end result is death unless God steps in. Those of us who have hearts no longer hardened have been shown mercy and we’ve accepted it. Pharaoh had plenty of chances to obey God and let his people go, but his heart was hardened and he himself said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). Throughout chapters 7 and 8, there were times that Pharaoh’s heart “was hardened,” and times that Pharaoh “hardened his heart." Either way, he was not receptive to the Lord and did not fear, love, or obey him. Thus, he did not recognize God’s mercy and soften his heart toward the Lord.

I share all of that to show that, when we really look into what Scripture says, we can see that God actually IS fair and just. He is far more patient with us than we deserve. He will use us to bring glory to his name whether we are obedient or not. These things are evident in Scripture. But even if they weren’t, even if we feel that God is not fair, we cannot stand in judgment of him. That more than anything is why Paul, who emphasizes God’s compassion and fairness many other places in his letters, chooses to focus on God’s sovereignty in the Romans passage. God does give us a choice to follow him or not, but he is still in control and sovereign over the universe. Our choices cannot stop him from accomplishing his will, just as Pharaoh’s choices could not.

For some of you, recognizing these things has come easily. But for others, wanting to be like God or even to be your own God is the central issue in your life. I strongly encourage you to reflect on the story of Pharaoh and his hardened heart toward the Lord in Exodus, as well as the story of Job, as well as what Paul is saying in this week’s passage. Learn to be content with your Creator in control. He is fair and just and we see but a small fraction of his plan in the circumstances that cause us to question him. Trusting him will lead you to freedom and peace!

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