Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TEACH (11/29/18)
TITLE: Grading God
By Nancy Bucca
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Adam and Eve fell for the “white lie.” Immediately they saw they had been duped. For the forbidden fruit showed them how weak they were, an easy prey for sharp teeth, pointy claws and teacher’s pets. They recalled God’s warning, “The day you eat of it, you shall die,” and decided the only way to survive was to “fit in” with fig leaves – peer pressure at its worst. But God drew them out of hiding. He told them the consequences of their actions, gave them hope, and continued to instruct them in the way that they should go.
When Cain’s offering fell short, God reasoned with him patiently. “Overcome your envy. Then you too can pass the test.” Instead, Cain killed his brother Abel, showing no remorse. Faced with punishment, he judged God as unjust.
“Rotten apple on your chair,
To make me wander is unfair!
I’ll get killed out there, but you don’t care!”
He seemed to see God as a harsh taskmaster, but was He? Abel’s blood called for vengeance, but God put a mark on Cain to spare his life. Being slow to anger, He gave him time to repent - not because the man deserved it but because it’s God’s nature to be merciful.
“Gracious” and “long-suffering” are adjectives God used to describe Himself to Moses, who led Israel out of Egypt. Some who read the stories, however, tend to disagree.
“Look at what He did to Korah and his followers. The earth swallowed them up. That doesn’t sound like ‘long-suffering’ to me.” Well, maybe not at first glance. But if you read - carefully - the passage in Numbers chapter 16, you'll see why. These rebels were divisive. This could have led to war. But God nipped it in the bud, thus saving far more lives than were destroyed (in my opinion). Let's not judge God by human standards.
“But HIS standards are too high. His laws are too strict. Why did He even give them to Israel in the first place?” people complain.
Maybe they don’t know the miracles God did to save the nation from slavery. He even parted the Red Sea and rained down food for them from heaven. It should have earned Him extra credit, but they praised a golden calf – despite the fact that God told them to make no idols. They paid his words no attention and complained about the manna. “Needs improvement” is how they rated the trek He took them on.
That’s because they didn’t do their homework. God had instructed them to hear His words, write them down, and teach them to their children. They were supposed to talk about them everywhere they went and put them into practice.
Yet even Moses fell short in this and hit the rock he was supposed to speak to. One stroke of disobedience barred him from the Promised land. The law could never lead him there, for it was like a schoolmaster. Its purpose was not to make people perfect, but to expose their inability to be perfect – thus leading them to Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, THE Perfect One.
Jesus lived in constant fellowship with God the Father, and made it his goal to glorify Him. He watched what the Father did and followed His example, praying in quiet places where he heard God speak to him. He let God teach him through His word and put it into practice - healing the sick, casting demons out of people, and even raising the dead. Jesus showed us all what God is really like. Some religious leaders gave him horrible grades for doing that and plotted his demise.
Jesus warned His disciples to expect the same treatment. “If they judged me unfairly, they’ll do the same to you. But don’t let that stop you. Show them how to honor God and follow after me.”
He gave His life for them, and for us too. After His resurrection, He commanded them to teach the world the same things He taught. His work is finished but ours is incomplete. Let’s allow Him to teach us so that we in turn might teach others, resulting in an excellent report.
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