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Monday, November 02, 2015

God is my Butler

Comedian Emo Philips used to quip, "When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me." A bit round about, but you get the idea. The trick is how do we get God to do for us what we want? Some people think "There is no God" because if there was He would just do what we want and ... He doesn't. Others think that we should be able to vote on it. For instance, if we decide in our enlightened times that biblical patriarchy or the whole "men are men and women are women" binary gender thing is bunk, we can vote it out. Like a Ronco Erasable Bible, we should be able to just erase the stuff we don't like, put in new stuff, and God will have to do it ... because it's in our Bibles. You don't have to wait very long to hear complaints that "the church needs to change" not because the church isn't following the Instruction Manual (read, "the Bible"), but because the church holds views opposed to ours and, therefore, needs to conform. "And I'll tell you one thing for sure. The truth about God will not be offensive. Even if Scripture says it will. If it offends our sense of right and wrong, it's wrong. God is not like that ... even if He says that He is." God, you see, doesn't even reach "copilot" status. God is our Butler. And, if we're honest, He's not a very good one most of the time.

There is a word for this. It's called "idolatry". Any time we substitute for God that which is not God, it is an idol. The God of the Bible is the "only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Tim 6:15). He does whatever He pleases (Psa 115:3; Psa 135:6). He makes people mute or deaf, seeing or blind (Exo 4:11). He makes some for honorable use and others for common (Rom 9:21). He even makes the wicked for the day of evil (Prov 16:4). Like C.S. Lewis's Aslan, He is not a tame lion. He's not your butler. He's not even interested in being your copilot. Now, let's see ... what is the biblical image of what He wants? Oh, yes! "Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (Rom 14:11) God does not appear to be much of a servant figure, does He?

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