The Pursuit of God

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Practicing Discernment: Yahweh Lies

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This is a continuation of Practicing Discernment: Jesus Lies.

In our previous discernment lesson, we pointed out several times in the Gospels when Jesus intentionally withheld wisdom from people as a response to their spiritual rebellion. When we refuse to listen to truth, our Gods intentionally lead us astray with lies.

In this post, we’re going to turn the focus onto Yahweh and check out some examples of Him using deception in the Old Testament. Our Gods don’t just use deception as a means of disciplining us. They also use deception to encourage dialogue between us and Them, as well as to help us better understand who They are and what They care about. Like Jesus, Yahweh is a frequent liar, and His deceptions come in many different forms. But there are always thrilling lessons to be learned from studying our Gods in action, so let’s dive in and get a better appreciation for how our Gods use deception to draw us closer to Them.

FEIGNING IGNORANCE TO INSPIRE REPENTANCE

Like Jesus, Yahweh enjoys feigning ignorance with humans. It’s a great way to start a dialogue, and we find Him going into His “less than omniscient” act at the very beginning of Genesis. Adam and Eve have just rebelled against Yahweh one time too many by sampling the forbidden fruit and now they’re hiding out in fear when they hear Yahweh approaching their position in the Garden of Eden. As He comes onto the scene, our all-knowing God puts on a rather hilarious act of not knowing where His humans have disappeared to by calling out:

“Where are you?”

Adam replied, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

Then God asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Gen. 3:9-11)

First Yahweh pretends not to know where Adam is, then He pretends not to know that Adam has been a naughty little guy. Why is Yahweh acting so dense? This is a way of engaging. He wants both Adam and Eve to own up to what they have done, so He gives them the chance to voluntarily confess their crimes by pretending not to already know everything. Does Adam make the most of this opportunity to come clean and repent? Not hardly. Instead of expressing remorse for disobeying God, Adam has the gall to say his rebellion was God’s fault. In the Church you often hear about how Adam blamed Eve for his sin, but watch the language: Adam is actually putting the bulk of the blame onto God.

Then Adam replied, “The woman You gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.” (Gen. 3:12)

So much for Adam being a stand-up guy. Yahweh now tries His ignorance act out on Eve.

So the Lord God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” (Gen. 3:13)

This is a ridiculous question—Yahweh knows exactly what Eve has done. But He wants Eve to show repentance, which she doesn’t. Eve passes the buck to the serpent, and Yahweh then responds so harshly that we realize this is not the first time there’s been trouble in Eden (see Eden: Disturbing Revelations).

A short while later, we’ll find Yahweh using this same routine on Adam’s son Cain. Shortly after Cain murdered his brother Abel in a fit of jealous rage, Yahweh once again pretends to have lost track of His humans by saying to Cain:

“Where is your brother Abel?” (Gen. 4:9)

Yahweh knows exactly where Abel is—his bloody corpse is lying in a field and his soul is already in eternity. But Yahweh is deceptive and pretends not to know these things. His point is to give Cain an opportunity to repent. But Cain tries to use Yahweh’s apparent ignorance to his advantage and claims not to know anything about his brother’s location.

“I don’t know,” Cain replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” (Gen. 4:9)

Since Cain is refusing to fess up, Yahweh stops feigning ignorance and announces that He knows all about the murder. In these examples we see one positive motivation for God deceiving people: He’s trying to get them to talk about the things they’ve been trying to do behind His back by asking leading questions. Unfortunately, we humans often follow Cain’s example by clinging to the delusion that perhaps God is as limited as He pretends to be. But, no, He’s really not. And as Yahweh will later say through the mouth of Jeremiah:

“Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” (Jer. 23:24)

Our Gods are present everywhere and They know all things. So whenever They talk as if these things aren’t true, They have other purposes in mind.

FEIGNING IGNORANCE WITH ABRAHAM

Deception abounds in Genesis, and later on we find Yahweh once again feigning ignorance with Abraham. In Genesis 18, Yahweh shows up in a human form along with two angelic companions. He has a meal with Abraham, then He takes a stroll with him in the direction of Sodom. Why is God heading to Sodom? Here’s His deceptive explanation:

Yahweh told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.” (Gen. 18:20-21)

Here’s a totally absurd statement. All-knowing, omnipresent Yahweh speaks as if He’s received some kind of heavenly memo that bad things are happening in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Shocked by the news, He’s come all the way down to earth to verify if the report He’s received is really valid. Why is He talking so deceptively? Because He is inviting Abraham to dialogue with Him about the subject of Divine judgment. He knows that Abraham’s beloved nephew Lot is living in Sodom. Naturally Abraham will be quite distressed at the news that Lot’s city could be a target of Divine wrath. Yahweh also knows that Abraham has some basic trust issues regarding Yahweh’s justness. All humans struggle with the idea of the righteous and the wicked dying side by side, and Abraham quickly reveals his own discomfort with this idea in how he responds to Yahweh. He asks:

“Will You sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? Suppose You find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will You still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? Surely You wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, You would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely You wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?” (Gen. 18:23-25)

Now this is hardly a respectful way to talk to God. Abraham is essentially trying to school Yahweh on what proper justice looks like. Without even knowing what God’s plans are, he assumes that God is planning to act unjustly and then he starts trying to scold God back into line. Yahweh could have responded to this condescending lecture by saying, “Hey, you little pipsqueak, where do you get off instructing Me on the difference between right and wrong?” But this is not what Yahweh does. Instead, He stands there patiently dialoguing with Abraham and assuring him that He does indeed care very much about those who are trying to please Him. While Sodom is the city being focused on, the conversation is really about a much broader concern: is God really good? This is what Abraham is insecure about, and God knows that Abraham will be very stressed by the sight of Sodom and Gomorrah getting torched. So before He annihilates the cities, He sets up this in person chitchat with one of His followers just to help that follower deal with the upcoming trauma. How awesome is this? Yahweh is such a wonderful God.

LYING TO MOSES

Yahweh said to Moses: “I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people. Now leave Me alone, so that My anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” (Ex. 32:9-10)

Here’s an example of Yahweh giving a false prophecy. The Israelites have just created a golden calf idol which they are now crediting for rescuing them from Egypt. Nice. Yahweh is more than a little irked, and He now announces to Moses that He’s going to wipe out all of these little brats and create a new nation from Moses. Yet the truth is that He has no intention of doing this. He’s lying. Why? Because He knows this will send Moses into a panic and He wants Moses to engage with Him. Moses does. He freaks out and pleads for Yahweh to calm down and give the Israelites another chance. He also tries to appeal to Yahweh’s ego by pointing out that the Egyptians will hear the news of the Hebrew slaves all dying and say it was because their God was evil-hearted. Yahweh then announces that He’s changed His mind about the whole extermination thing.

So Yahweh relented concerning the disaster He said He would bring on His people. (Ex. 32:14)

What is Yahweh doing here? Is He trying to say He is owned by how the Egyptians view Him? Is He encouraging Moses to act as His superior? No, He’s developing a relationship. You see, what Moses doesn’t realize is that this isn’t going to be some quick scoot through the wilderness. It’s going to be a long, grinding forty years. Moses is going to die in the wilderness without ever setting foot in the lush land of Canaan. If he’s going to survive in his calling to lead this massive mob of God haters for the next four decades, he needs to be very confident in Yahweh’s support of him. Plenty of times in the future, Moses is going to feel like Yahweh is the only One on his side. By pulling Moses aside for private chitchats in which Moses is invited to share his views about Divine activity, Yahweh is helping Moses gain confidence in their dynamic. You really can’t relax with a God who you think might flip out on you at any moment. If Moses is afraid to ever express his frustration or anger or disagreement with God’s methods, he’s going to crumble when the Israelites start giving him flack. So Yahweh invites Moses to chime in on God-level decisions, then He acts like Moses’ feedback has been taken seriously. This is all to increase Moses’ confidence that he can count on Yahweh’s support.

Now before you get the wrong idea, Yahweh still maintains boundaries with Moses. When Moses gets too bossy by trying to insist that Yahweh totally forget about the golden calf incident, Yahweh reins him in.

Moses returned to Yahweh and said, “Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves. Now if You would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book You have written.”

Yahweh replied to Moses: “I will erase whoever has sinned against Me from My book. Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about; see, My angel will go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will hold them accountable for their sin.” And Yahweh inflicted a plague on the people for what they did with the calf Aaron had made. (Ex. 32:31-35)

This is a common problem with humans: God shows them some favor, and they try to leverage that favor to get what they want. Here Moses tries to insist that Yahweh lump him in with the rest of the Israelites. He’s saying “If You reject them, You have to reject me.” He’s then hoping that Yahweh will find the idea of losing His buddy Moses so upsetting that He’ll agree to forgive a bunch of souls who are refusing to repent of their rebellion. Well, no, God can’t be manipulated like this. He tells Moses that He’ll condemn whoever He darn well wants to condemn. Then He further emphasizes how much He can’t be pushed around by immediately striking the assembly with some nasty plague. Moses doesn’t get to tell God how to judge other people…but he couldn’t resist trying to at least once.

DECEIVING REBELS

In our previous lesson about Jesus lying, we learned that our Gods intentionally withhold wisdom from those who are defying Them. They also like to respond to rebellion with deception. We saw Jesus putting that principle to work several times in the Gospels, and in the book of Ezekiel, Yahweh lays this principle out for us. To appreciate what He’s saying, we have to understand some basic facts about Ezekiel’s situation.

Before Yahweh had Jerusalem and His Temple leveled, He had the region attacked several times. There were three major strikes by the Babylonian army, with the last one ending in annihilation. With each assault, many Jews were hauled off as slaves and forced to march many miles to pagan lands where they ended up living as lower class citizens. Ezekiel was one of the many Jews who was hauled out during the second strike. Ezekiel ended up living among fellow Jewish exiles in Babylon—the capital city of the empire that was destroying his homeland. It was after his arrival in his new and very undesirable home that Ezekiel got the shock of his life by being called to serve as one of Yahweh’s prophets. Back in Israel, Jerusalem still hasn’t fallen, and Yahweh wants to speak many messages through Ezekiel to explain to the Jews living in exile what’s going on back home and why God is so mad.

Well, the reason God is so mad is that His people are a bunch of hardened rebels who won’t repent no matter what. The vast majority of the Jews living in Ezekiel’s time are like this, and that means that when large amounts of Jews get hauled away as slaves, most of those slaves are hardened little rebels. Being hauled off into exile and utterly humiliated isn’t enough to make these little snarkers repent. Even though they can see Yahweh systematically dismantling their homeland, and even though they’ve been hearing that wild Jeremiah ranting for years about how all of this trouble is God’s direct response to the Jews’ defiance of Him, still the Jews just aren’t going to repent. The Jews Ezekiel is stuck living with are worshiping false gods, and hating Yahweh with gusto, but once Ezekiel starts acting like a freak prophet, well, they find him amusing. So the leaders in the community show up at Ezekiel’s house on a regular basis to see what new bender the prophet is on. And as Ezekiel delivers his latest download from Yahweh, they all bob their heads and pretend to be interested when they really couldn’t care less. Yahweh describes the situation to Ezekiel like this:

“Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what Yahweh is saying!’ So My people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it!” (Eze. 33:30-32)

So Ezekiel is surrounded by posers. There are also phony prophets who go around saying lies in Yahweh’s Name. The lies that sell in these times are prophecies that Yahweh will stop His assault on Israel and let all the Jews go home to a restored nation where they can sin up a storm under blissful conditions. So this is what the false prophets are preaching: that Yahweh is going to bless, bless, bless these little brats and destroy those nasty Babylonians. You’ll find prophets today singing the same song, while using references to modern day nations. But of course none of it’s true, and Yahweh warns false prophets over and over again that they’re playing a dangerous game by misrepresenting Him.

In Ezekiel 14, a fresh group of community leaders has just shown up at Ezekiel’s house pretending to be interested in inquiring of the Lord. It’s a disgusting display of hypocrisy, and here’s what Yahweh says:

“‘When any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing in Israel separates himself from Me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of Me, I Yahweh will answer him Myself. I will set My face against him and make an example out of him. I will remove him from My people. Then you will know that I am Yahweh.

And if the prophet is deceived into giving a false answer, it is because I Yahweh have deceived that prophet. Then I will stretch out My hand against that prophet and destroy him from among My people Israel. They will both bear their guilt—the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him.” (Eze. 14:7-10)

First Yahweh describes hardened rebels who are worshiping false gods in their hearts coming to false prophets and saying, “Give us a word from Yahweh.” Yahweh says that He’ll handle this situation in one of two ways. He’ll either speak some harsh truth through the false prophet and then follow that up with some form of brutal discipline, or He’ll trick the false prophet into telling some lie, then He’ll nail both the false prophet and the rebel who consulted him. So this is how Yahweh responds to rebels who are pretending to care about Him when they really don’t: He responds with anger, discipline, and deception. We saw Jesus react the same way to rebels in the Gospels. It’s really quite chilling to think of our Gods intentionally deceiving us, because we have no way of winning a war of wits against our own Creators. But now let’s continue on with our study of Yahweh and learn about some other reasons that our Gods use deceptive language with us.

LYING TO NOAH

In Genesis 6, we find Yahweh explaining to Noah why He’s going to wash the world away in a flood.

“I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” (Gen. 6:7)

Is this really true? Yahweh says that He knows the end from the beginning. Our Gods only ever do what They want to do, so did Yahweh really make us and then say, “Rats, if I’d known how bad this project would go, I wouldn’t have started it”? No, Yahweh is lying here. He doesn’t really regret making us—on the contrary, everything is going just the way He wants. But for the sake of teaching Noah and the rest of us about His value system, He uses this extreme language to explain how disgusted He is with the rebellion of human beings.

The Church grossly oversimplifies our Gods and makes Them out to be numskulls with limited powers. This is why she’ll teach you that Yahweh was oh so upset when Adam and Eve sinned, that He didn’t want the fall to happen, and that His whole human project has been wrecked by some mysterious force called Sin. Then she’ll tell you that Satan is currently running the place while our Gods spend Their time running along behind demons trying to fix the many messes that the little rascals create. And as if all of that isn’t insulting enough, she then teaches that our Gods are so incompetent that They actually need our help to break down those strongholds of evil. Here’s where we start glorifying those powerful human prayer intercessors and mapping demonic strongholds and casting the Name of Jesus about as if it is the ultimate evil neutralizing spell. Because she has such a low opinion of God’s abilities, the Church teaches you to view Yahweh’s exaggeratory statements as literal truths. Of course He regretted making us, because He’s only our Creator—how could He possibly be expected to accurately anticipate how we’d respond to the option of rebelling against Him? No, Yahweh was living in some fog of denial and thinking that humans would always choose righteousness. This is what you have to believe once you decide that God has nothing to do with evil. As for Yahweh, He says that He is the Source of both good and evil. He’s the One who gave us the option to sin, and He’s the One making sin seem like such a tantalizing choice. Ever wonder why doing evil often seems easier, more fun, and more exciting than doing right? This isn’t some effect of the Fall. This is how God intentionally set things up. And given this, was Yahweh shocked when everyone but Noah chose to wallow in evil 24/7? Of course not.

So how should we interpret this comment about regret? Well, first we need to understand that the will of God is a complex, multi-layered thing. We also need to understand that when God is communicating His will to us, He’s not even coming close to revealing His entire viewpoint.

Let’s use a metaphor to understand this concept better. John is an army drill sergeant, a husband and a father. He’s also the assistant youth pastor at his church. You could say that John wears many hats, and as he moves between these various roles, he changes how he behaves. He doesn’t get personal with his army cadets. When he’s in drill sergeant mode, he is somber, strict, and no-nonsense. But when he’s with his two young daughters, he’s affectionate and playful, but also authoritative. When he’s with his youth group, he’s teaching, counseling, and listening to the kids vent about their frustrations at home. It’s only when he’s with his wife that John shares his personal feelings. It’s only with his wife that he’ll cry or talk real about his personal hopes and dreams. With everyone else in his life, John is an authority figure, and he just doesn’t share his entire self with them.

Now Yahweh is God Almighty. We are His teensy little creatures. The way that Yahweh relates to Jesus and the Holy Spirit is radically different than the way He relates to us. With His Peers, Yahweh is His full complex Self. With His Peers, Yahweh is transparent, and fully engaging. But with us, He is hiding most of who He is. With us, He’s playing the role of our Supreme Ruler and it’s a totally different dynamic. Yahweh dominates us, He doesn’t dominate Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Yahweh dumbs things down for us and talks to us on our level even though that means not describing things as they actually are.

Consider the difference in how human John answers the question “How was your day?” when he’s talking to his wife versus when he’s talking to his daughters. With the girls, he gives a simple answer and never tells them the full story. If he had a lousy day, he doesn’t burden them with it because they need him to be their strong and invincible daddy. If he’s worried about something, he hides it from them. It’s the same with Yahweh and us. Yahweh doesn’t share His whole viewpoint with us. He doesn’t bombard us with the full spectrum of His feelings and views because He knows we can’t handle it. When Yahweh discusses a subject that has many different aspects to it, He only talks about the aspect that He knows we’re focused on.

Now let’s apply all of this to the Flood scenario. Yahweh tells Noah that He’s going to wash everyone away. To a human, that’s a really scary, really extreme idea. Naturally Noah wonders what brought this on. Well, Yahweh has been planning to do this all along, and from where He’s sitting, the Flood is accomplishing all kinds of purposes, many of which have nothing to do with human beings. But humans aren’t interested in the aspects of God’s world that don’t directly relate to them—that’s too much information. So when Noah’s thinking, “Why would You wash us all away?”, he’s looking for an answer that has to do with something humans did. After all, if humans are being affected, it must be about humans. So Yahweh says, “Well, I’m so upset by the way you guys have been behaving.” Well, that’s not good enough. We know we do wrong, but Yahweh’s been putting up with sin for thousands of years. So what’s changed? Why is it all of a sudden in Noah’s lifetime that God is saying “enough.” Well, for Yahweh, the time is right to accomplish many God goals, but He’s not going to explain all of this to little Noah. So He essentially says, “I’m feeling overwhelmed by how bad you guys are. I can’t take it anymore. I’m sorry I ever did this.” As a human, Noah understands these concepts. Noah is limited, and Noah does things he regrets. Noah probably feels very drained by the evil around him, so when Yahweh talks about hitting His limit, He becomes someone Noah can relate to. By making up a phony excuse for why He’s flooding the place, Yahweh not only seems accessible to Noah, but He also emphasizes that our choices matter to Him. And our choices do matter to God very much, but not to the point where He feels controlled by them.

You see, the real truth is very complicated and multi-faceted. The full answer to “Why did Yahweh flood the world?” would involve many concepts that we simply can’t grasp. Rather than delve into an exhaustive explanation of why flooding our world was so advantageous to Him, Yahweh just says, “Everyone has turned away from Me and it makes Me sad. I regret I did this. I need a fresh start.” The idea of a God with Yahweh’s infinite knowledge and abilities regretting anything is utterly absurd, yet this is a concept we can connect with, so He uses it as His cover story, even though it’s simply not true.

Now from the human perspective, what happened during the flood? Yahweh gave Noah and his family a special mission with the whole Ark project. Then Yahweh suddenly killed everyone else, which meant a bunch of people went to Heaven and a bunch of people went to Hell. Not everyone who died in the Flood was considered morally accountable by Yahweh. There were babies still in wombs and children who had not yet been educated on the truths they needed to make an informed choice about submitting to God’s Authority.

Just because God suddenly wiped everyone off the planet doesn’t mean He acted mercilessly. Because Yahweh was planning the Flood all along, He made sure people had all of the chances He wanted them to have to respond well to Him before the Flood happened. These are things we never think about, yet this is how it works with a God who knows the end from the beginning. There are no surprises, mistakes or regrets. Everything is planned and controlled. No one has options that Yahweh doesn’t want them to have, and any options Yahweh gives people end up benefiting Him in some way.

So was Yahweh really distraught by the fact that so many people chose to defy Him? No, He knew things would go exactly as they did. Did He love every soul He made? Of course. Did He want them all to make wise spiritual choices? Of course, but not enough to take their choices away from them and turn them into robots. You see, God wants creatures who have the option to choose to defy Him. So when He says He wants us all to be saved, we have to understand that He also wants that obedience to be a choice, not something He forces upon us. Then we have to understand that God prioritizes the many things that He wants and decides which things are most important to Him. Us having the ability to choose is more important to God than what we choose. This is why He is pleased no matter what we choose—because even if we choose rebellion, we’ve still exercised choice, and choice matters more to Him than us choosing obedience.

Now if we do choose rebellion, Yahweh comes back at us with major consequences, so as far as we are concerned, things do not work out well for us no matter what. While God has found a way to be pleased regardless of what we choose, He has set things up so that we will only be happy if we make the choices that He tells us to make, and He tells us to fully submit to Him. See how it works? The topic of God’s will is a lot more complicated than it seems at first, but it is something we can get our minds around at least enough to grasp that Yahweh wasn’t telling the truth when He said that He regretted making us. If Yahweh knew that He would literally regret making us, then we would never have been created. God doesn’t make mistakes. He always approves of His own choices, thus regret is never something He deals with. But we humans are a whole different story. We don’t have God’s abilities, and we are quite capable of making choices which we sorely regret later on. Often when Yahweh is talking to humans, we’ll find Him talking like a human, even though His viewpoints are radically different than our own.

LYING TO GLORIFY HIMSELF

In Jeremiah 3, we find Yahweh once again pretending to be dismayed by the way things have worked out as He talks to His prophet about the unceasing rebellion of the Jews. By now the northern kingdom of Israel has been destroyed and only the southern kingdom of Judah is left. You’d think the Jews in the south would be motivated to get serious about revering Yahweh after watching what He did to their brothers in the north. But they’re not, and this is something Yahweh comments on several times in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. In this passage, He’s speaking to Jeremiah as He says:

“Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to Me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left Me and given herself to prostitution. Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted. But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to Me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, Yahweh, have spoken!” (Jer. 3:8-10)

Notice how Yahweh describes Himself as not knowing the future in this passage. He thought that the Jews in Judah would be more impacted by the fall of Israel than they were. Whoops, He called that one wrong. Even God can’t be perfect. Is this what we’re really to believe? No, Yahweh is once again lying. He’s using exaggeratory language to make a point of how gracious He is. He let the Jews in the north fool around with their stupid idols for centuries before destroying them. He was patient with them as an act of mercy—He was giving them time to repent. But they didn’t repent. Did this really come as a surprise to the God who knows the end from the beginning? Not hardly.

While Yahweh sounds angry, He’s really emphasizing how merciful and just He is. He showed such patience to Israel, yet she just wouldn’t repent, thus His discipline of her was more than deserved. Now Judah has had extra time to repent, plus she’s had the chance to learn from Israel’s fall. But no, she just can’t be bothered, therefore the destruction of Judah will also be well deserved.

LOOKING FOR IMPLICATIONS

Here’s a good discernment tip: when someone makes a statement about God, or when God Himself makes a statement and you want to discern whether it’s true or not, take some time to think about implications. You see, truths about God build on each other. For one thing to be true, other things must be true as well. For example, if it’s true that Yahweh miscalculated how Israel would respond to His patience with her, then Yahweh can’t know the future, and He must have a very limited understanding of His own creatures. When you are having trouble deciding whether a specific statement is true or false, thinking about implications often clarifies things. The suggestion that Yahweh doesn’t have a comprehensive understanding of the humans He created is utterly absurd, thus any fact about God which requires God to have a limited understanding of humans can’t be true. You need to start with what you’re sure about, and go from there. But you have to make sure you’re getting your starting list from the Holy Spirit and not from the Church, because the Church’s list of essential facts about God is utterly absurd. She says Jesus is part human, which is the same as saying He’s part created. She says God is not in total control. She says He is a vastly limited Being who is quite sad about the way Project Human has gone so south. She also says that the Bible is perfect and that God can’t lie or change His mind. Well, we’ve already seen Him change His mind with Moses about destroying the Israelites and we’ve seen Him lying all over the place in the Old Testament. The few examples we’ve covered in this post are just a drop in the bucket compared to how many other lies we could discuss.

Deception is a favorite teaching tool of our Gods’ and They use it to accomplish many goals. In this post we’ve learned how Yahweh used deception to help alleviate Abraham’s concerns about His goodness. He lied to Noah to protect him from being overwhelmed by the complexities of His will. He lied to Adam, Eve, and Cain to give them a chance to confess their sins. He lied to Moses to help build Moses’ confidence in relating to God. He told Ezekiel that He would deceive false prophets and the people who inquired of them as a way of disciplining rebellion. He lied to Jeremiah about thinking Israel would repent as a way of emphasizing how well-deserved His discipline is. Our Gods have many reasons for deceiving us, and Their deceptions come in many forms. Do we need to be threatened by the fact that They lie? Not at all. Instead, we need to practice trusting in Their goodness and realize that They lie to us for our own benefit.

If our Gods weren’t constantly shielding us from overwhelming truths, oversimplifying things, and utterly exaggerating, we’d never have any hope of forming close bonds with Them. But because our Gods are so willing to meet us where we are at and employ a wide range of strategic communication methods, communing with Them is very possible to do. We have these three massive, magnificent Gods, and They delight in stooping down to our little speck level just to relate to us in some super personal way. How awesome is that?

FURTHER READING:
The Timelessness of God
God’s Will vs. Human Choice Q&A
Communicating with God: Why He Lies
Practicing Discernment: The Structure of Beliefs

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