Friday, September 21, 2007

The God Who Devises Means

“For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.” (2 Sam.14:14)

Are we to believe that God found Himself faced with an unforeseen problem that required innovative strategy? “Oh, dear; now what?” I hardly think so. This is yet another example of an Infinite God deigning to use terminology understandable to finite beings, as when He told Moses that seeing the afflictions of Israel in bondage to Egypt motivated Him to “come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians” (Exo. 3:7-8). Obviously, in this case, He used Moses to deliver the people, and it was not till the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth that He Himself actually “came down.”

Why then does He use this terminology, telling us that He devises means so that we who are exiles without passports (so to speak) can nevertheless find refuge one day in the City of God? And make no mistake; we have incurred the holy wrath of God by our sin—by birth (Adam) and by choice (free will). Our sin has offended God to the point of impossible reconciliation apart from supernatural intervention. As C.S. Lewis so aptly put it: “Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” We have no redeeming qualities. There is no “essence” within us except the essence of sin. And this is what God is trying to tell us, I think. When He says that in comparison to the act of Creation, our redemption required a far more intricate strategy, He is pointing out the sheer hopelessness of our condition.

“Yet,” says the verse, in spite of insurmountable odds and unforgivable injury, “yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.” And the means” He devised was Himself. The God, who did not bother to redeem fallen angels, nevertheless chose to provide a means of redemption for fallen man, by the only means sufficient: His own Death and Resurrection.

The great question is not how? but why?

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