Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Suffering and the Older Testament

"The Old Testament isn't written in order simply to "tell us about God" in the abstract. It isn't designed primarily to provide information, to satisfy the inquiring mind. It's written to tell the story of what God has done, is doing and will do about evil."

This is from a small but insightful book about suffering and evil by N.T. Wright called Evil and the Justice of God. What we see true in Job is true for all of the Bible, evil is not explained.

Even if evil was explained, it would still be part of our world so it wouldn't help us out too much in the midst of it.

The exodus of the Hebrew people out of slavery from Egypt is a formative narrative for Judaism about what God is going to do about evil. It all starts with God hearing the cry of his people. Here are God's initial words to Moses:
"I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey...and now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
Exodus 3:7-10

God doesn't explain why the Hebrews went into slavery, he just says he has seen their misery, heard them crying out and that He's concerned about their suffering. Then He wants to do something about it. But He needs help. Moses is the answer.

God uses people to relieve suffering. How does God want to use you?

1 comment:

draysult said...

Rich, thanks for the message yesteday. Now that the message is done, we are waiting on a blog entry!