Bread – Meanie

March 7, 2014


Readings for Friday, March 7, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Ezek. 18:1-4,25-32; Phil. 4:1-9; John 17:9-19; Psalms 31,35,95

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A “meanie” is someone who is just mean, who just likes to see people suffer.

So, the question of the day is … Is God a meanie?

You may laugh, but how often do we blame God for our troubles, for the consequences of our sin, for our plight in life? How often do the God-bashers among us (and, really, ourselves) say something like, “How can God be a loving God when …?” or “Surely a loving God would not do …..” Of course, by doing that, we are placing ourselves in judgment over God, but that little absurdity never keeps us from doing it.

So, we are in the pits and we think God hates us. Or we pray and pray and pray for a particular outcome and God does not even seem to respond. Why would He do that? Is it because He is a meanie?

This question today does not come out of left field. In fact, it is the essence of our reading today from Ezekiel. The children of Israel are whining about their lot in life, saying that “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” Essentially, Israel is saying that they are upset because God ate something which bothered Him (He is having a bad day so they are having a bad day too). God’s response is this:

“What do you mean by repeating this proverb … ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?’ As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel…Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is My way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? … Therefore, I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! … I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn and live.” Ezek. 18:1-3, 25-32.

God does not like to be called a meanie because that is an unjust accusation. It is us who sin, it is us who transgress, it is us who chose to live apart from God rather than in His presence, it is us who reject His gift of eternal life. It is us who are the meanies toward God because we die in our sins rather than accept the truth, we reject the new heart and new spirit he offers us through His Son, and In the process we do not give Him pleasure.

It would do well for us today to meditate upon this truth, that God is not mean toward us by giving us what we have earned. He is not unjust by giving us the penalty of our disobedience. He is not the one who has “eaten sour grapes” that our teeth should be set on edge; it is us who have eaten the sour grapes even though God has given us good grapes to eat. Our teeth are set on edge because of what we have done; not because of what God has done.

So if God has given us Himself in Jesus Christ, through whom we can receive our new heart and spirit, and we reject Him, who is the meanie?

Who indeed?

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© 2014 GBF

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