Today's Scripture Reading

1Samuel 2.12-26.

Psalm 119.97-120.

Acts 2.1-21.

Luke 20.27-40.

Todays Old Testament (OT) reading had a verse that is used a lot in the Calvinist view of God's sovereignty.
1Samuel 2.23-25 (NRSV). [Eli] said to [his sons], ‘Why do you do such things?  For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people.  No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad.  If one person sins against another, someone can intercede for the sinner with the Lord; but if someone sins against the Lord, who can make intercession?’  But they would not listen to the voice of their father; for it was the will of the Lord to kill them.

'...it was the will of the Lord to kill them'.  Is this right?  Is this how we are to understand God?  Or is this how the OT people understood God?  How does this line up with God's incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth?

Now, I'm all for understanding that 'good' and 'perfect things' come from God (James 1.17); but what about 'bad' things?  'Evil' things?  Are we to believe that these, too, come from God our Father?  Is this what Jesus taught?  I don't think so.  It seems to me that over and over again, Jesus regarded God as a Father and a 'good' Father takes 'good' care of his family. In Luke, Jesus said,
Luke 11.11-13.  “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?   Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion?  Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Now, I realize that the context is talking about prayer and that Jesus specifically mentions God giving 'the Holy Spirit to those who ask'.  But look at the contrast.  Jesus was contrasting the difference between how the 'sinful people' respond to their children with how God responds to God's children.

I think a more biblical understanding is that God's very good creation was marred by the Fall of Humanity (Genesis 2-3).  Things like sin, death, sickness, etc., are things used to continue to destroy God's good world.  Granted, God may use such things for God's own purposes (see the story of Joseph) but that is not God's 'best'.  I mean, in the closing chapters of the story, those things are done away with.  It seems that with the call of Abraham, God has been in the process of getting rid of everything that destroys the whole creation.  This was ultimately consummated in Jesus life, death, and resurrection.  Since that time forward, we have been moving one step closer to that reality of Revelation 21-22; of heaven and earth being united together.

So, again, is this really how God works?  Or is this a primitive, elementary understanding?

What is your take on this passage?

Peace be with you.

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