God Will Defend Himself

God Will Defend Himself

One of the intriguing aspects of the Indiana Jones movies is the elaborate booby-traps through which he has to navigate. These are generally set-up in some sort of pagan temple in order to protect the sanctity of the area from unbelievers and to protect the treasures that are supposed to belong to the deity. When one considers it rationally, it is amazing the things that people will do to supposedly protect a deity. Yet should a deity need the protection of mere mortals?

In Judges chapter six, we read about Gideon tearing down the altars of Baal, and the people of the city want him to be put to death. “Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the wooden image that was beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!”” (Judges 6:30–31)

Later, in Judges chapter eleven, Jephthah uses similar reasoning with the king of the Amorites regarding a dispute over possession of land. ““And now the LORD God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it? Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the LORD our God takes possession of before us, we will possess” (Judges 11:23–24). These men understood that the true and living God does not need the protection of men, indeed it is men that need His strength and protection. In the book of First Samuel is recorded the time when the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant. It was Israel’s disobedience that was at issue, and for that reason God allowed His people to lose the battle and He allowed the ark to be captured. However, it was by no means unprotected, for God Himself cared for the ark and the series of judgements that He brings upon the Philistines during that time quickly cause them to return the ark to Israel without a single Israelite needing to be involved (1 Samuel 5:1 - 6:12).

What should we glean from all of this? Simply that there is a human tendency to try to protect God from humans. In trying to do so, we end up building walls and booby-traps that eventually keep people away from God. Such was the work of the rabbis who in there zeal to ensure holiness decided to lay more rules upon the people than God had done, burdens that they were unable to bear (Matthew 23:4). We too can fall into the same trap if we are not careful, adding rules and regulations that may be well meaning but end up laying burdens upon those that desire to know the Lord.

May we be a people who simply declare the Word of God, who live in the joy of God’s grace and exhort and encourage one another to do the same.

All Scripture Quotations from The Holy Bible.

Article by John Manor IV