“Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?”
I know the title seems almost silly. I know we can’t shock God. Yet, as I read the words of this verse, I feel that there is a sense of disbelief in God’s voice.
He is asking Israel to explain how they could possibly be making the statements that He is hearing. It’s almost as if He cant believe His ears!
Israel is accusing Him of not even seeing the journey they’re on, and overlooking, literally passing by, their causes. God’s response to this charge is, “How can you SAY that?” And to be honest, I can’t blame Him.
If we look back, not only on this chapter, but on Israel’s history, God’s sense of disbelief begins to seem understated.
He chose them to be His people, so that He could pour out His blessings upon them. (Genesis 12:1-3) He delivered them from their enemies and though they were a small people, He made them great. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were wealthy, and respected. During their captivity in Egypt, He saw their distress, He heard their cry, and He answered! And what an answer it was! He decimated their enemies, brought them out with riches and wealth, and then when death seemed certain, He showed His great might by having the Red Sea enjoy a little shift from it’s usual state.
We know all this. We know about the manna in the wilderness, the sweet water from a bitter spring, the quail that came like rain, the water from the rock. We know about the crossing of the Jordan, the crumbling of the great Jericho stronghold. We know how all the heathen were driven out, we know about the victory over the Philistines, for pities sake! EVERYONE knows David and Goliath! We know about the amazing riches of Solomon’s kingdom, we KNOW how Israel was saved from many attacks! You’re probably thinking, “Laura! We know! What’s with the Sunday school lesson? We’ve known all that since we were 2!” I know, so have I, and, I’m guessing, so did the Israelites.
And that’s why God’s statement makes so much sense.
The Isrealites knew all about all these things! They had feasts, and stories, and writings, and landmarks to remind them about all the amazing ways that God had saved them, blessed them, forgiven them, protected them, provided for them, chosen them, rescued them, chastened them, and loved them.
And yet, here they are, saying, “God, you don’t concern yourself with our lives! What we’re going through is hidden from you! You don’t even see it. Our rights, our just claims, and our causes, you walk right by them! You just don’t care.”
THAT is UNBELIEVABLE! No wonder God seems so incredulous!
For goodness sake, the entire BIBLE is an account of His very intense interest in their lives, not to mention the countless unbelievable interventions on their behalf.
I picture it like the young people we see whose parents have done EVERYTHING for them, and as they get older and things are denied them, they erupt with phrases like, “ You don’t even care! How could you do this to me? You’re ruining my life!”
For a real life example, there’s the girl who sued her parents because she didn’t want to live with their rules but still wanted her allowance.
It’s something that makes me boil up with a righteous indignation that would relish sitting them down with a ledger book, the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica, that is filled with all the heart ache, the pain, the sacrifice, the love, and the provision their parents have given them, and then making them eat their ungrateful, selfish, ridiculous, infantile words!!!
That’s how I felt about Israel while I was thinking about this passage …
So, tune in tomorrow for the rest of the saga …