THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD 9
TheAttributes of God
Thereare manyattributesassociatedwith themightyworksof God. One suchattributeis God, whosaves.Since thetimeGod madehis promisesto Abraham, He promisedhim of an heirwhowould giveriseto a biggeneration.After sufferingfrom thehandsof tormentors,God would savethem andgivethelandof their forefathers.In thebookexodus,thisattributefindsa lotof supportas God appearsto helphis chosenraceout of Egypt andleadsthem to Canaan through thedesert.
First,due to thecriesthechildrenof Israel hadto God, He resolvedto rescuethem from slavery.Thekingwhocameafter Pharaoh knewnothingabout eh agreementmadebetween Joseph andtheEgypt administration.Forthisreason,heputhis officersto thetaskof oppressingtheIsraelites. TheybuilttheEgyptian citiesandtilledtheir lands(Exodus, 1:11). Te moretheymultipliedthemoretheKing becameworried,andhedecidedto killthefirstborn.Through his rescueplan,God devised theplanof havingMoses raisedby theking`sdaughterto preparehim forthetoughdaysahead.After runninginto thewildernessafter killingan Egyptian, God appearedto Moses andusedhim as an agentandliberation.
Afterservingformorethan 400 yearsin slavery,God comesto their rescue(Exodus, 12: 37). Godsays,“I am theLord your God, whobroughtyouout of thelandofEgypt, out of thehouseof slavery”Exodus, 20:2).Theycould not believethattheywereleavingEgypt due to thepaintheyhadendured.Thefirstincidentprops theattributeof God as one whosaves.Secondly,after consultingwith his officials,thekingof Egypt decidedto recaptureall theslaves.At thispoint,theIsraelites werenearing thered sea without a planon howtheycould makeitto theotherside.Panicstruckwhenthescoutscaughtsightof theEgyptian armyapproaching(Pleins, 2015). At their hourof need,God madea paththrough thesea by drainingthewater.After all theIsraelites hadmadeitto theshores,thewaterregainedits earlierposition,andall theEgyptian armyperished.Notevenone of theIsraelites died.Godrescuedthem from thechariots of thestrongEgyptian army(Exodus 14: 26).
InLeviticus 9, wefindAaron andMoses gatheringtheIsraelites to offera sacrificeforGod to rescuethem from sin.Theoctave of thesinofferinginvolvedtheslaughtering of animalsandofferingof cereals.To their stubbornnessandlackof faithin God, theIsraelites haderredmanytimesagainst thecommandments.To savethem from their iniquities,God rescuesthem through thesinofferingandAaron announcesblessingsupon them. Heis a God, whorescuespeoplefrom sin.Britt (2015) usesthewholeBible to show therescuemissionof God forhis people.Theliberationthat occurredin Egypt alsofindsa placein thebookof Psalms. David praisesGod by remindingthepeopleof howhemadethewaterstandto lethis peoplepassandkillingtheEgyptians with thewaves(Britt, 2015). To savehis peoplefrom malpractices,God gaveMoses a setof rulesthat governedtherelationshipbetween thepeople(Cohen, 2015). Acodeof suchruleswasalsofoundin Babylon as givenout by King Hammurabi (Mieroop, 2015). Exodus20 is a setof liberallawsthat definedtheresponsibilityof peopletowards eachother.Itwasalsoa rescueplanforthepolytheismandhumanaggressionthat wasrampantduring thosetimes.
Thenatureof humanbeingsputsthem on thevergeof goingagainst thelaiddown ruleseitherdue to stubbornness,oblivionorinfluence.Aspartof his planto savehumanbeings,God providesthem with a chanceto repentandhereceivesthem with compassionwhenever theycometo him. Through their sincereapologies,Gods alwaysforgivesthem.
Inthebookof Psalms 78, thepsalmist outlineswhatrequiresfrom his people.Thatis, obeyinghis rules.Herefersto thewondersthat gohadforhis peoplein thewildernessby rescuingthem from thehandsof their captors by makingthrough thesea. During theday,heledthem in a pillarof cloudandat nighthewasbefore them in a pillarof fire.Despite all thesethings,theystillsinnedandmocked.Accordingto Psalms 8: 19, theymockedhim saying,“Can God spreada tablein thedesert?”despite thishegavethem waterandfood.Despite thehumanweaknessofbeingforgetfulanddoubtfulof God’s faithfulness,He didnot leavethem to their misguidedthoughts.Hecontinuedto provideforthem becausewithout him, eventheIsraelites would not havemadeitCanaan.
God’scompassionforhis reflectsin his wordsandpromises.By knowingpeoplefrom their birth,heremembershis promises,andthiscovershis wrath.Agoodexampleis in Ezekiel 16 whereGod remindsJerusalem of her pastdisenfranchised state.Godtookcareof her until shebecamepleasingto othernations.Shewentagainst thewill of God by allowingidolworshipin her religion.TheBible equatesJerusalem with a youngladywhohas embracedharlotry. Te wrathof God could havedestroyedher, butHe remembershis promisesto her andacceptsto renewthem. Thecompassionshownto Jerusalem is beyond humanunderstanding.Aladywhoengagedin deepharlotry as explainedin theBible would be betterifdivorcedordestroyed.However,God is verycompassionateevenwhenhumanbeingsrespondto his callin themostcontroversialway.
InGenesis 6, God failstheneedto lethumanbeingssurvivedue their wickedness.Hedecidedto senda floodto wipethem out, butNoah foundfavorin theeyesof God. Evenafter one generationbeingunfaithful,He didnot resolveto lettheworldexistdevoidof anyman.Through Noah, heraisedanothergeneration.In thewilderness,theIsraelites forgotabout theonewholiberatedthem from Egypt. In chapter32 of thebookof Exodus, Moses pleadedwith God not to destroythepeople.Godhearshis pleaandsavesthepeoplewhoin totaloblivionthattheir liveswerein dangercontinuedto feast anddancearound thegolden calf.
Thenatureof humanbeingsalsoallowsthem to experienceguiltwhenever theyhavesomething wrong.After sinningagainst God, somecometo him with a desperateconsciencein needo forgiveness.InNehemiah chapter9, EzraremindsGod of howhis peoplehavesinned.Theyhaveallowedtheir religionto be thesubjectof infiltration by theworshipof othergodsthat wasagainst thelawsgivento Moses. Ezra givesus a clearpictureof howtheIsraelites revoltedagainst God in thewildernessb slayingHis prophetsandforgetthemiracleshehaddoneforthem. However,God continuedto increasethem in numbers.In thischapter,Ezra is wooingGod to rememberhis compassionfortheir forefathersandgrantthem thesamemeasureof compassion.
Inchapter1of Genesis,theearthwaswithout anyorder.Godseparateddarknessfrom lightanddrylandfrom thesea. Hethencreatedtheheavenlybodies,plantsandanimalsandlaterhumanbeings.Hefollowsa veryintelligentsequencewherebynothingcameinto existencebefore its meanof survival.Forexample,hecreatedplantsbefore creatingtheanimals.Theexplicitnatureof his workreflectsin theenvironmentsurroundingus. TheBible upholdsthecraftiness of God by outliningthebeautyof thecreation.Thegroundhecreatedwasableto giveriseto plantsthat could feedhis people.In Deuteronomy (14: 22-29, New American Bible) God urgestheIsraelites to givehim a titheof their harvests.Itis a clearevidentthathis creationcould haveenoughto eatandfeedothers after exploitingtheearthresponsibly.
Inpslamsn19: 2, thepsalmist says,“The heavensdeclarethegloryof God andtheskyproclaimsits builder`scraft.”God putan orderin theuniverse,anditbecameself-sustaining. In chapter8, thepsalmist praisestheappearanceof themoonandtheheavens.In chapter104, hegetslostin admirationof theuniverse.Herefersto theearthas beingfixedupon its polesandneverto be moved(Swinton,2007). Thecloudsare Gods chariot, andheusesthem to ridetheskies.Thespringsthat God createdgushout thewaterthat giveslifeto beatsbelow.Thetrees makehometo thousands of birdsthat singendlesspraisesto their Creator. (Psalms 104:11-12). Everycomponentof God’s creationis dependenton anotherone,andthiscreatesa harmoniousandmutualexistence.
AlthoughGod is impotent,hewelcomeshumanprotestandthecallforHim to act.Under infliction,variouspeoplein theBible protestagainst God’s helpduring their timeof troubleorwhentheir enemiesactedtoohardon them. Thepsalmist is one of thepeoplewhosoughtto provokeGod into action.In chapter10, heprotestsagainst God’s delayforjusticeagainst thewickednations.Hesays,“Arise Lord, letnomortalprevail”(Psalms, 10: 20). Whenever humanbeingsfacerejectionandtorment,thecan wooGod’s helpby beingunrelentingin their callforhelp.In chapter44, theIsraelites are in a cryforhelp.Thepsalmist orates, “Awake, whydoyousleepLord. Rise!Donot rejectus forever”(Psalms, 44: 24).
WhentheLord delayshis response,peoplebecomedesperate,andtheylamentsothatGod can grantthem their wishes.In Psalms 88, thepsalmist prayerhas takenbefore God heedingto his needs.Heprotestsagainst thisandevenprovokestheattentionof God. Helaments,“is your loveproclaimedin thegraveandyour fidelityin a tomb?”(Psalms 88:12). Itis an indirectlamentationthathedoesnot wantto goto thegravedue to his afflictions.Heis surethatafter hedieshis worldlyhelpwould cometo an end.
Amongthemostafflictedpeoplein theBible is Job (Newsom, 2015). In his pain,heprotestsagainst God becauseHe doesnot leavehim in peace(Crenshaw, 2015). Whenhegoesto restin his bed,God sendshim dreamsthat awakenhim. Hesays,“howlongwill itbe before youlookawayfrom me andletme alonelongenoughto swallowmy spittle?"(Job 7: 19). At somepoint,hebelievesthatGod cannot heedto his prayerevenafter makinglonglamentations.In chapter9: 30, heprotestsagainst God, whowould throwhim into themuddyditchevenafter cleaninghimself.
Amajorobservationin theseprotestsis thattheperpetrators acknowledgetheimpotentnatureof God. Their protestshavegroundson theformers deedsof God. Jobis awarethatGod doeshis will to humanbeings.Heknowsthathis effortscannot yieldanyfruitswithout thehelpof God. His comfortablebedcannot givehim sleepbecauseitis not thewishof God (Swinton, 2007). Thepsalmist remindsGod of his pastworksof salvation.Hewas,therefore,bitterbecauseGod haddelayedhis help.In all theseprotests,God is calm,andheallowsthem to airout their feelings.
Britt,B. (2015). The Exodus Tradition in the Bible. Bible Odyssey.http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/exodus-tradition-in-the-bible.aspx
Cohen,A. (2015). Hitite Law and Texts. Bible Odyssey. Retrieved fromhttp://bibleodyssey.org/en/places/related-articles/hittite-laws-and-texts.aspx
Crenshaw,J. (2015). Theodicy in Hebrew Bible. Bible Odyssey. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/people/related-articles/theodicy-in-the-hebrew-bible.aspx
Mieroop,M. (2015). The Code of Hammurabi. Bible Odyssey. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/places/related-articles/code-of-hammurabi.aspx
Newsom,C. (2015). Job. Bible Odyssey. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/people/main-articles/job.aspx
Pleins,D. (2015). Social Ethics of the Hebrew Bible. Bible Odyssey.Retrieved fromhttp://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/social-ethics-of-the-hebrew-biblebasic-article.aspx
Swinton,J. (2007). Ragingwith Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil.Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.