God’s Great Disappointment and His Great Joy
In Old Testament days, no one could have doubted God’s existence. He was right there with them. He delivered them out of Egypt. He parted the Red Sea so that they could cross. They watched those same waters fall in upon Pharaoh’s soldiers and destroy them. He led them through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He provided food from the sky and water from a rock.
And, for all of his gifts and protections, no one could have doubted what was expected. It wasn’t that much, really – worship him alone, follow his laws, be responsible – yet it was too much. It was more than they wanted to do. They took God for granted and took advantage of his love, generosity, and grace. Every generation or so, they would turn away from him and even worship carved images. Why would they do that? Because those false gods didn’t expect anything of them, and the people could even pretend that those gods actually expected them to do the things that their sinful natures led them to want to do. So God would punish the people. He would take away his protections and allow other nations to conquer them. He would scatter them to the four winds, and even then they would sin and rebel. And that, I imagine, must have been God’s great disappointment.
So we can’t really blame him, can we, for thinking, “This way is not working,” or “What’s the use?” And we can’t blame him for just sort of stepping out of the picture, for reducing his interaction with the people to the spiritual only so that no longer would there be the parting of seas or guiding clouds or pillars of fire. No longer would there be food from the sky or water from a rock. No longer would they see him or hear his voice, except, perhaps, in their dreams.
Yet, even today, millions of people still believe in him by faith alone and follow him although there is no longer, and has not been for thousands of years, any overt physical evidence of his presence. Certainly, who can view a magnificent sunset or ponder the miraculous workings of the human body without knowing that they are witnessing or pondering God’s work, but that isn’t the same. Still, those millions upon millions believe in him with a faith as solid as the densest granite, and that, I imagine, must be God’s great joy.