Is God Arbitrary?
A devotional by Linda Rondeau
When it came to authority, our teenage son resisted any edict that did not mesh with his own crafted idealism. Every rule we made resulted in endless hours of debate. We tried to explain our rationale for the decisions. However, discussions generally ended with the final statement, “Because, we said so. We are your parents, and we are responsible for you. We know things you do not. You will obey.”
Eventually, he concluded resistance was futile and acquiesced—if not from comprehension then out of respect for our position—if not out of respect for our position—then out of respect for our power.
We held the purse from which his blessings flowed.
I reminded him: My ways are not your ways.
Throughout the Books of the Law, God explained his reasons for expectations. He instituted blood sacrifices, sin offerings, grain offerings, and wave offerings. He specified under what conditions each could be offered. Aaron, as the priest, was given explicit instructions on his wardrobe, his deportment, and his handling of the offerings.
In some instances, God offered explanations for his edicts. Ultimately, however, God reminded Moses who was in charge and from where the blessings flowed.
“I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God: therefore, be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 NIV).
And again …
“Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the LORD."
As we read the Law in our modern world, even the least pious among us will not argue the wisdom behind many of God’s ordinances. Our knowledge of the harmful effects of bacteria lends credibility to the handling of the meat and blood following sacrifice, the confinement of persons with infectious skin diseases and discharges, avoidance of certain sexual behaviors, and the fair and trust treatment of others.
These rules were intended for blessing, good health, and safety. Disobedience brought about death and disease. The Creator knows its creation and the result of its misuse.
We imperfect humans understand that our knowledge, as imperfect as we are, is of a greater scope than an infant’s. We make rules for our children to keep them safe, and we do this because we love them. Our decisions for the welfare of our children are not based upon their understanding or permission. We make our decisions based upon our knowledge of their individual needs and circumstances, our knowledge and experience, and the lessons we ourselves have learned from our own mistakes.
The future happiness and security of our children is our primary concern. We expect obedience even though they may not fully comprehend our reasons for the rules. How much more than does our Heavenly Father, perfect in every way, desire good things for His children. His Laws are not given to cause hardship and drudgery. They are given to help us be secure in Him. When we are obedient, blessings will flow as a natural result. “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high” (Leviticus 26:12-13).
Conversely, as a natural result, disobedience will beget unpleasantness, separation, and death. In the list of calamities that God tells Moses will befall the disobedient, God warns, “If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.” (Leviticus 26:19).
Yet, even after His harsh warnings, God provides atonement for those desiring to return to Him: “But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 26:45).
God did not institute His Law arbitrarily. He cares for us.
Award-winning author Linda Wood Rondeau writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future.
A veteran social worker, Linda now resides in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Readers may visit her website at www.lindarondeau.com.