I’ve often struggled with the “differences” between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament as, I’m sure, many people have. Then, a certain clarity hit me the other day when I asked my son to put away his coat.
Now, if you ask an adult to put away clothes, there would likely be a systematic way they’d approach this request. For the most part, it would be automatic and go something like; shirts get hung here, jeans go on this shelf, socks go in that drawer, etc.
Well, it may surprise you to know that children don’t think like that. *GASP!*
My actual “ask” went something like . . .
“Justin, would you put your coat away please?”
“. . . . Hang it up . . .”
“. . . . In your room . . .”
“. . . . On a hangar . . .”
“. . . . In the closet . . .”
Sometimes you need to be that specific. You do!
Especially when dealing with children.
Otherwise you’ll go up to your child’s room and there will be the coat, sprawled out on the bed, or more likely UNDER the bed, along with his radio-controlled cars, his board games (not in the box, mind you, just—mostly—together.), most of his books, something that may have at one time been food, and your best flashlight . . . with the batteries dead.
Of course, when dealing with children, you don’t dare get upset with them because they’d be all like, “What??!! It’s in my room??!!”
Actually it’d be more whiny, like: “Whhaaaaaaaaaaaatt??!! It’s in my rooooooooooommmmmmm??!!”
Now, open up your Bible to, say, anywhere in Exodus or Deuteronomy and look at God’s instructions for the people of Israel regarding . . . pretty much everything!
See!! Sometimes you need to be that specific.
In regards to their walk of faith, the people of Israel in the time of Moses were children!! (And they were awfully whiny too!)
And don’t tell me adults can’t be children. I’ve spent most of my life in retail, I KNOW! Don’t get me started! Suffice to say that it never ceases to amaze me how easily people will give up their sense of personal responsibility for the sake of convenience. Or laziness.
The picture of “parenthood” is what clarified the essence of “personhood” of God for me. We are after all, his children. Literally. And like any proud parent, He’s watched us grow: Mentoring, correcting, disciplining, chastising and praising us all along the way.
Now, does that make God “different” between ancient times and today? Not at all. Those of you with children (particularly older children), are you different people now then when your kids were younger? Not really. But is your parenting style different? Your approach to your kids? The leeway you give them?
In my eyes, the Israelites, especially coming out of Egypt, were mere infants in their walk with God, growing into (often rebellious) children under a strict but loving father.
Then, in Jesus’ day, the people were more like teenagers: trusted with a bit more responsibility, yet still rebellious, prone to wandering and with a definite attitude.
Today, I believe we’re more like college age or maybe recent graduates: Given all the instruction we need (the Bible), trusted in our decisions (walking by faith), with an overwhelming urge to be on our own, yet still our parent longs for us to spend time with Him once in awhile.
At least it makes sense to me.