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If God Is Good: Why Does He Seem So Mean? (Part 2)

Andy Im


Andy Im

Associate Director for the Dept of Public Campus Ministries in the Michigan Conference. Director of the Institute of Adventist Apologetics for C.A.M.P.U.S. 




  • June 16, 2011
    3:30 PM
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father we thank you so much once again for leaving us in guiding us by appealing to our our minds as well as our hearts and we just pray that even though we can resolve all the questions undermined in our minds today at the same time though that we will formulate sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith and we thank you so much for the less far and continue leaders throughout these meetings we pray in your name amen all right so let's go ahead and continue on go going to go ahead and finish off by reading this quote once again and then moving for just two offering the context once again we finished office with this quote by Christopher arrived on the context of the divorce controversy how God accommodated and as sometimes had to need human sinners where they were at not not licensing sin but but understanding and accommodating of their mindset but of course with the grand purpose of taking them higher and bringing them for work and we see that in the New Testament when Jesus addresses that issue Christopher Wright in that context also makes broad implications upon slavery and polygamy in that same context he says it seems probable that if Jesus had been asked questions about slavery or about polygamy he would've answered similarly from the beginning these things were not in God 's intention that in a fallen world of hardened hearts they might be accommodated with limiting and mitigating regulations and with the strongly subversive for the that would eventually lead to a clear recognition of their wrongness and so that's something to keep in my store when this what is sometimes stated in certain portions of the Old Testament especially the ceremonial laws we know that some liberals were obligated after the cross does ten wins out in the snow that but what is it in a certain portion of the Old Testament was not necessarily the ideal but perhaps Plan B C and D how do you think in your own life that God is at plan acts or plan the public plans the cousin with the broad enough I'll bet because when God there is always opportunity with God there is always the possibility of him doing the miraculous even turning the stubborn or from a life of sin into one of righteousness into his blood but but what is stated it obviously is not necessarily a book of the first option in his plan but God is great at that meeting type versions in our lives for example how did you have a GPS best illustration I can use of the GPS you know what I love about CBS you know my wife and I will go to some town and this in a live word we have a little more tolerable tell her something we we mourn that in in the least wanted to exploring right lessons don't get lost then look around and drive out in nature are allowed over there and what's awesome about GPS it doesn't matter where you're at has to be good you just divided by or where you have your I use a single home and doesn't matter where or how far you strayed it always leads you back to your destination and I'm talking about a reliable GPS that that is working class and not just goes to show you that God is even beyond it much better than GPS is no matter where you're at he will seek and get you home in an Scripture is our ultimate GPS is a map that takes us home we need to see it in context and that's one of the points that I'm making here and vent screen it is so important that we see Scripture in context and remember we spoke a little bit about the Kindle and the Flyers earlier on the Sabbath application was contextual according to Ellen White and make a drop in profits page four oh nine this prohibition prohibition of Kimberly on the Sabbath now you and I based on on our assumptions of of of truth and how we read Scripture if we don't understand the correct Army new deck or slides of interpreting Scripture we could just pull open the Old Testament read tingling the fire and believe that we can never pick up sticks on Sabbath right on their soul and we can be careful that we don't that we use our minds and our brains to chew on two things seem to understand Scripture in its broader setting and also in specific setting as well notice what our life says about the kindling fires she says during a sojourn in the wilderness the signaling of fire upon the seventh day Adventist originally prohibited strictly prohibited the present prohibition was not to expand the land of Canaan very interesting not to extend the land of Canaan where the severity of the climate would often render fires under necessity but in the wilderness fire was not needed for war the act of this man was a willful and deliberate violation of the fourth commandment it was a will and I think he hear willful and deliberate violation a defiant act against God I said not a thoughtlessness or ignorance but it was one of presumption under there some implications brought it because we can draw from this about fields are observing the Sabbath for example I may not I may not go canoeing on Sabbath like this for me that that may mean not having recreation on this cannot have fun and have water flies in and go crazy out there riding but to someone again on the living on Amazon the canoe is their only means take to get the church right and so we when we look at the Sabbath something that needs to be kept in mind is that sometimes application can be contextual and that although the sad than is a universal timeless moral absolute right and I can we'd all agree with that having said that our specific conventions or applications may not be absolute or universal nineteen example of that with the new and and there's other ways to look at and you also see that principle in that statement that I just read from Alan why where it won one instance where it was unneeded for them to gather sticks God for many then but then where it were in was a necessity God of old been the more order or change or alter that prohibition in a different context now having said that one are not saying is that now we can bring the savages because you know what were the plays were hungry and we have needs and so we would does the McGowan go to nice fancy restaurants but that is not what I'm saying I I later met what I'm saying to you what the spirit of prophecy itself has stated that that God made some accommodation that in some ways there is a there is some differences in application and and that's about as far as all I'll go with that we must be careful not to interpret or draw conclusions from Scripture in isolation on the context and so so keep that in mind let's look at the Canaanite genocide as the atheists I permit genocide is not a word that rings something positive coming you when you think of genocide eating all great yes I know probably not Canaanite genocide they are they using that term specifically it in in a negative sense is probably the most difficult Old Testament ethical issue with is a command line the divine command to kill the Canaanites and work too but what are we to do with acts like these first sixteen in Deuteronomy one he says this but in the cities on the tables movement nothing more your God is giving you for an inheritance you shall save alive nothing that breeds were seventy by usual don't hold up to complete destruction the Hittites the Amorites the Canaanites the parasite to invite and the Jebusites as the Lord your God has commanded first a gene that they may not teach you to do a porting to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods and sole use in against the Lord your God here you have an instance where he generally seem to know they are but what when God is giving there the reason that and the reason for the justification here this burst is that they may not learn to do all their abominable practices so what do we know well how do we even are or what we know and what sorts starting point in terms of how do we go about making sense of these things well let's start with what we do know number one we do know that God provided probationary time off for the Canaanites that's clear you find it in Genesis chapter fifteen verses fifteen and sixteen and by the way this is not the only instance I just have one verse hear what you see repeatedly a certain concept that that clearly indicates that they were given some probationary time speaking to Abraham in that within the context of sensing the stars and and and God promising to multiply his seed etc. he says as for yourself you shall go to your fathers in peace you should be buried in the good old games and they meaning his posterity shall come back here in the fourth generation for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete and that's Amorites as in the broad term used to also provide being the Canaanite inhabitants and soul so you use it you see how do you have read Scripture before and are an scene and have seen this term used throughout the Old Testament in places where he says that that what where God indicates to his people that he's not want to destroy them because their time is not yet complete and that clearly is an indication that God is not arbitrary that he's not just eager they are waiting to blot them out but it that he's observing that he's awaiting that he's seeing giving them a chance allowing the Holy Spirit to continue its work for their salvation sold by you also see in the time of Noah the act delusion world that God gave them a hundred and twenty years you also see God providing were allowing for probationary time in the even within the context of Sodom and Gomorrah you see it in the language where God is going to see he's going to assess to see their status or their state before he does anything in terms of enacting judgments sold sold please do indicate that it wasn't just an arbitrary decision a whimsical capricious decision of God there was also a criterium a or yes this is the decision-making process it was clear and as explicitly stated that they were destroyed or because of their wickedness they do not get the Canaanites says in Leviticus chapter eighteen versus twenty two authority the Bible readings that it in terms of his instruction to the debate is our lives within the context of the then going forward with their their battles against the Canaanites notice what God says says here you shall not lie sexually with your neighbors wife right on they were offering you the command and not to offer their children to Mullen to live with a male as with a woman sold in the practice of homosexuality going on these reality as well and notice what God says do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things for by all these things invasions I am driving out before you have become unclean so that I punished it iniquity do not of these abominations for the people of the land who were before you did all of these abominations lest the land vomit you out for everyone who does any of these abominations of person to do them shall be caught off so keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you are often needed out judgment using a nation or a people as his instruments of justice not only were the you are like that one time God 's instruments of justice but you also have pagan and heathen nations that God used as instruments of his jaw 's desk indicating to give you one example the Babylon rising combination of a serial that essentially of and did the the the northern kingdom of Israel and Babylon the southern kingdom of Judah and sold this argument that that God you know he had this day he was is guilty of favoritism that he was only about the Jewish people and ended the Scripture is is clearly a book written by Jews that is ethnocentric that favors themselves that's that's a faulty acclaim because not only do you see judgments meted out against other pagan nations you also see judgments meted out against ancient Israel themselves because ultimately God 's people they are beginning to practice the same abominable sins of the Canaanites and the Y Y Y did he read the land of the Canaanites now we know that there was some justification for it in terms of justice we we have a list of of clear and explicit abominable sins that they were partaking in but another another factor or another key thing we need to look at is the fact that God had beat and then why God had the band in mind he was looking at the ideal down the road and he needed to get there and I'll will what was that ideal what what is or was that an conscious save the world which was his ultimate purpose or the ultimate and God actually equipped and prepare if you see throughout the ages God 's people have always had a certain period of time have been on the verge of extinction now what it would've been if God 's faithful actually became extinct but there was no that was no known law or any any people individual who consider before work God 's work of God 's mission of of of of being a light to the world and you often have God working out in rock miraculous ways where he he maintains a faithful few and God alternately wanted to do much more than that and he had the ultimate purpose of saving not just a few unlimited number by the world at large and analysis ultimate purpose of God had to equip and prepare the feeling he started with the nation of Israel initially through Abraham and so forth and I could do that he also needed to prepare a people and a place to look below some promise originally promises up originally prop granted or given to Abraham you find that in Genesis fifteen RIN and on words and in multiple places but God needed to prepare AP Paul ways not had a twofold purpose for Israel during the high of the Canaanite conquest forced to use ancient Israel as his instruments of justice and mind you only when they had won their probation had clothes or probationary status is called that that God used them the four as instrument of injustice and so again to prepare a people become his instruments of salvation unto the Gentiles world so when we look at the deep the judgment of Jericho for example the first city that that fell to him as as the Israelites were advancing forward notice what Ellen Weiss says and I believe this is very very insightful she says this the honor destruction of the people of Jericho was but a fulfillment of the commands previously given through Moses concerning the inhabitants of Canaan docile smite them and utterly destroy them all the cities of these people docile slave nothing alive nothing that reinvest too many these commands seem to be contrary to the spirit of love and mercy commanded in other portions of the Bible about Ellen why did you know she engaged in some apologetics herself defending God in the context of some of these sometimes difficult things to digest she's estimated financing to be contrary to the spirit of love and mercy adorned on the first portion of the Bible I they were in truth the dictates of infinite wisdom goodness remember God at the end in mind God was about to establish Israel in chain and to develop among them a nation and government that should be a manifestation of his kingdom upon the our they were not only to be inheritors of the true religion but to disseminate its principles throughout the world the Canaanites hadn't abandoned themselves to the foulest and most good basing hedonism and this is key here that God would not have utterly destroyed them in this context was also not in place the contents of them practicing the phallus and most debasing items and defiance against God and debasing heathenism and it was necessary she goes on to say that the land should be clear of what would soul surely prove that the fulfillment of God 's gracious purposes and within a read on it in a little bit I another commentator says this in in the same line of thought in the Israelites hadn't done serious damage to the Canaanite religious infrastructure the result would have been incalculable damage to Israel's integrity and Gnostic God entire plan to redeem humanity not sure that stake in creating the necessary contacts including a set of poor people in a set of parkland in order to bring about the gumption and then eventually restore creation for a specific relatively short and strategic God 's thought to establish Israel in the land window view to fulfilling this a long-term global plan of redemption going on or another commentator in the Old Testament history of Israel there is a clear distinction between the people of Israel and the rest of the nations Israel what the people whom God had chosen called me being an brought into covenant relationship with himself the nations did not yet enjoyed that relationship by and this is utterly crucial point and it is for me as well the whole purpose of God and choosing Israel was sold at the nations would eventually do so people are off the rust of the Old Testament is not again is not Israel I dance the nations but Israel for the sake of the nation 's and we see this this principle this clearly articulated in the in the story of Abraham win-win gone specifically told them that the ruling through Abraham the nations will be blessed of course we know ultimately that meant Jean Das but there's also a shadow of of epilepsy in the nation of Israel themselves now would you say that into Israel fulfilled God 's plan with the debates do they hit a home run with that they make it do they arrive on there were certainly bright point in their history and a whole lot of approval points in their history known as one of songs chapter one oh six and you see the verses are thirty four to thirty six thirty seven thirty eight and thirty nine what what the Psalm asked states occurred as a result of their failure of Israel's failure to carry out the original plan of God notice what what is said here made is of life did not destroy the People's as the Lord commanded but they mingled they mingled with the nations they do more their practices and that's one of the reasons why white television is such a powerful instrument of using television where we learn the practices of the world and and where we often can mingle with the nations it in a certain sense and notice what what he says as we move further along is that when they began to serve their idols and Edwards became a snare for them they even sacrifice their sons and their daughters they shed innocent blood the blood of their sons and their daughters whom they sacrificed to idols of Canaan the thoughts they became unclean in their practices and play the harlot in their beads you can think of it this way God was hoping that saw would be saved by by his people following his plan but when they feel they do that it reduced the whole world number of those who would ultimately be saved in his kingdom and God was thinking with the broader the broader goals in mind and that is the salvation of soul through a people that would be vessels were agents of the world now having said that I personally believe that that will occur once there from the probationary status and I want by just when I'm really reiterating that make it crystal clear that they had reached the point of no return it was not until that that God could that God can enact these judgments upon the Canaanites and we get that clear explicit that the principle that found it in statement word God I said that their sins are not yet full or other time is not yet etc. that make sense of God 's ultimate purpose was to bless all nations both Jews and Gentiles alike through the establishment of Israel as ministers of salvation bus the multiplication of Israel Reich is gotten hold them originally on that starry night social or CD right and always use an invasion of Greece to be light to the world sold as God 's people were multiplying and cut if you couple that with the fact that probation has ceased for the Canaanites and and God is only one who make can make that judgment this made it possible for God to enact his justice upon the Canaanites and initiate the Canaanite conquest for the ultimate establishment of Israel as his light bearers to a we fallen world now do you think about it in the in the vein of this question in the inhabitants of Canaan have the best chance of a chance and opportunity do they have sufficient lighting upon which to make a decision in the first place on Weiss as this the inhabitants of Canaan had been granted ample opportunity for repentance for years before the opening of the Red Sea and the judgment upon Egypt had applied to the supreme power of the God of Israel and now the overthrow the king the median of Gilead and nation at first the shown that Jehovah was above all gods the holiness of his character and his whole rents of impurity have been events in the judgments visited upon Israel for their participation in the abominable right to bill your all these events were no to the inhabitants of Jericho and there were many who share Rahab 's conviction though they refused to obey it that Jehovah the God of Israel is God in heaven above and upon the earth in the like the men before the flood the Canaanites live only and this gives you a picture of the mindset of the Canaanites they live only to blaspheme heaven and defile the earth and both love and justice the man did not prompt execution of these rebels against God and flows to man we sometimes forget how brutal these nations were at whittle him delve into that but but they were on violin rule goal of the these nations when you read the histories of what they would do to their subjects and those they had defeated they go out of their way to to not only shame but just in this case it's gross it's you can even imagine some of the violent abominable acts that were never enacted by the people so erotic healing Circle inhabitants of the reasons why well to fulfill God 's infinite wisdom and purpose to establish the nation of Israel so that they could spread the message through Israel of God 's kingdom 's principles and truths that came in that the Canaanites had sufficient knowledge and light as a basis for accountability and only then did God do that and the inhabitants had ample time to repent for the demands of justice and the purpose was their purpose of course is the only widget and defiance against God so we do know that the Canaanites they knew better and by the way to do it for those of you are writing notes on the B does give you a couple scripters were not to read them now but if you'd like to know what the Bible says whether they had sufficient light or not you can go to Joshua chapter nine are chapter two nine two eleven Joshua chapter nine nine two ten and also Exodus chapter fifteen of versus fourteen to seventeen and Deuteronomy chapter two verse twenty five mind that the Canaanite conquest for the specific care command by God is special revelation blizzard soy was for their context doesn't get lost license to kill atheists had to go on a rampage in and do some crazy things like that I does not to rid the land of a specific people at a specific location for a specific purpose at a specific time in verse history the removal of the Canaanites was for the ultimate good of both Jews and Gentiles they live their removal or it got removed them for the same reasons why are US government whether the police force or the government have marked the federal government seeks to get rid of drug dealers on the streets rapists and killers it's why the police abuse US government has sought to remove terrorists like Osama bin Laden the Mafia and gangs you remove such groups and individuals for the purpose of visible protection and for protection against abuse and died in the case of agent Israel that's one of the few reasons why God instructed them to get rid of that nation because they were of violent people abusive people enacting terror on on the nations surrounding them and sold in order to maintain or protect four for physical protection and spiritual protection at all the moral action that was what we see as God 's purpose in doing that as we go to close I want a look at one incident here in terms of harsh laws feel much is made in the media today of stoning and I'll be honest when I when I read about the winnings that are occurring in the middle east for example it just that this is but a portion right exists or is repulsive the fact that even happens that that it that that there's ever a a reason or justification for us stoning and I will admit that that's hard to digest with my Western mindset now soulful that what you have many of these claims by the new APS on the severity of the Old Testament and that's why they attribute God as being evil and unethical and I just want to say a couple of things and this is a frump a drop in profits are speaking of the Egyptian who curse their jobs and God and of course there was capital punishment laid out upon him though there are those who will question God 's law and his justice in visiting so severe a punishment for words spoken in the heat of passion but both love and justice require it to be shown that utterance profit prompted by malice against God or a great sin and noticed she says both who love John this required to be shown that already prompted by mouse against God or a great sin in what ways is it just is and in what ways would you say that it's in love that God that God sometimes brings punishment works with judgment upon the guilty sinner these are the questions we need to ask the retribution visited upon the first offender would be a warming to others that God 's name is to be held in reverence but hath this man sin been permitted to ask unpunished and here she is she is providing a legitimate justification for it because again remember we have to keep the end in mind what is the broader purpose what kind of things are is God thinking about when with some of these things happen helplessness it didn't permit it to pass unpunished others would have been demoralized and at the result name Eli 's modest he eventually had been sacrificed and sold it to if you analyze a statement here on the severity on the severity of law the reason given by Ellen why both love and justice demanded it where they were not to minimize or book I did not want to minimize a great sin he wanted it to serve as a warning to others and you find often at the onset of the establishment of a people or it just doesn't movement is beginning to move forward you look at even in the book of act on and throughout the Old Testament at the onset of God doing something grand were big he often enacted the swift judgments for those who were defiant board clearly weren't violating his precepts and Ellen White speaks about the context of an license of fire specifically that that dog wanted to keep the church PR as the movement was going for work and the same applies here that it would be a warning to others that God wanted to see the movement moving forward in pure fashion and to prevent demoralization or the transgression of others because what he was also thinking is that maybe more would have been lost I got not done what he did and so and again I think a safe assumption to happen is that perhaps God knew that that man would not have been saved anyway or perhaps yet reached the be on horrible sin nor his probation is closed and closed another way to look at it is when God hides the weekend that the wickedness of man short we have to remember that he's also that about the love and mercy in the sense that that if you have a lifelong opportunity of a going into further and further and further sins he's been having increase the judgments and the that the penalties of sin later on and so that's another way that that some evanescent and others have have explained the situation and I think there valid so the wrath of God and perspective the wrath of God in perspective and this is the last little thought here on this individual was born in Croatia Miroslav Wolf and he lives in the ethnic strife of a former Yugoslavia that involve either the rate the destruction of churches and the murder of of countless innocents and is a man that has struggled with this notion of the low wrath of God and a light like many of us have an notice what he says in in the context of his experience with with AAU Yugoslavia and the atrocities that occurred there I used to think he says that wrath was unworthy of God is a God love shouldn't divine love BB on rack God is love and God loves every person and every creature that's exactly why God is wrathful against some of them my last resistance to the idea of God 's wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia the region from which I call according to some estimates two hundred thousand people were killed and over three million were displaced my villages and cities were destroyed my people shall day in and day out and some of them brutalized beyond imagination you can also think of the Holocaust for example and I could not imagine God not being angry I could not imagine God not being angry at the atrocity him that he was the only hounded God react to the carnage by doling on the perpetrators in a grandfatherly fashion by refusing to condemn the blood that but instead affirming the perpetrators basic goodness it's okay wasn't God fiercely angry with them when you see atrocities and it draws from your insides this is anger at the injustice of people being abused and taken advantage of those not that arriving clause to override within you this sense of of justice not revenge or justice though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God 's wrath I came to think that I would have to rebel against the God who was in raffle at the side of the world 's evil God is in raffle in spite of the love God 's raffle because God is love and Ellen White just to close off the last statement she says the history of the great conflict between good and evil from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the portals eradication of sin is also a demonstration of God 's unchanging love you believe that you know I know that we don't have time to go into all the new wants toward chain explanations of of of all this was things that were mentioned at the beginning of the slides but now what I'm hoping that this is not the series of messages will do is is provide for you a starting place of an approach of perspective that and just the start by the way of your journey as you delve deeper and dig deeper into Scripture and the spirit of prophecy not not for the purpose of beating the eighty 's and in any argument or debate but root for the purpose of resolving in your own mind cool God is in God 's character is usually one that you desire to serve is usually one that you can serve as as a result of a desire of his character and attraction that you have for who he is and what he stands for that's the question that we each of us need a phase in these last days well let's go ahead and calls with a word of prayer and what ongoing to do is explained to you what are the next series of meetings are going to cover once I'm done this when our heads for prayer heavenly father we thank you so much for being with us for giving us Scripture and for giving us a thoughtful individuals who are wrestling with these questions like we are and Lord we pray that that we would never jump to conclusions that we would always be seekers not take anything for granted not the reflectors of other men's thoughts but as we hear other men's thoughts also wrestle with dancing to prove off from Scripture anything that is stated person with thank you more passes in the name of Jesus amen how all right I hope that was helpful in all my days wanted to share as I know there are many conferences going on I just want to share as we close out what the next series of three meetings will cover that will start I believe that for forty five and one five four forty five and would cover the science of Scripture interpretation the first series is on the presuppositions or the assumptions we need to have about Scripture even before we we read Scripture and that document cover topics such as unwilling to dabble into the KGB only debate a little bit within a look at translations one what type of Bible will be designed best friend for you as you are attempting to study Scripture problem also learn a lot of little bit into the authority of Scripture itself and then finally this isn't the final component of this next meeting will involve what we call revelation and inspiration the process through which God relates truth to the prophet 's mind and the process through which the prophet took those thoughts and and rolled them down to formulate the Scripture but this is a very important topic that I think those not has not received enough coverage because it impacts how we interpret Scripture even before we start reading it some absolute that some have the idea or notion that God no role in every word of Scripture verbatim Word for Word many Adventists believe this and if you did you find yourself also believing this well will see that the spirit of prophecy says differently and we also have five eyewitness in some sense to a profit that lived around our era and so will a look at and explore some of these things God bless you and I have a great afternoon this media was brought audio is a website dedicated to spreading God 's word through reading sermon audio and much more to know more about how the universe will feel like this is more so than please visit www. .com universe .org


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