Friday, December 16, 2022

Learning About God from Mind-Reading Womanizers

Suggested Reading: Ezekiel 29:1-8

Before his fall from Hollywood grace, Mel Gibson made a movie called What Women Want. He played Nick Marshall, a womanizing, self-centered, corporate-ladder-climbing jerk who gets struck by lightning and suddenly has the ability to read women's thoughts. Tossed into the mix is his teenage daughter who stays with him while her newly remarried mother is on her honeymoon. Nick's daughter is dating a bad-boy who only wants to get her in bed and Nick knows it. Caring about his daughter, even in his own limited way, he doesn't want her to go out with him. But when this boy dumps her because she won't sleep with him, Nick comforts his daughter and experiences the urge to hurt the boy who rejected her. That is a father's instinct: to protect his children when they are hurting, even when their pain is a direct result of not listening.

One of the things that was consistent throughout the Old Testament was God's desire for his people to rely on him rather than on the nations around them, especially Egypt. When Israel's enemies surrounded her, God specifically warned his people against trusting Egypt, knowing Egypt would be unreliable. When Israel relied on Egypt anyway and Egypt didn't come through, God vowed to punish Egypt so that "All the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord, for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds. When Israel leaned on you, you splintered and broke and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you gave way, and her back was thrown out of joint" (Ezekiel 29:6-7, NLT). When Israel looked to the wrong people and got hurt, God wasn't happy that things backfired. God was furious with Egypt because God always wants the best for his children

If you have tried doing things your own way and suffered for it, God is not happy that you are suffering but God never rubs our noses in our mistakes. Yes, God disciplines us, but only because God loves us and wants the best for us. If you are struggling because you refused to listen to God's voice of warning, know that God loves you, that God stands ready to comfort and forgive you, and that God wants to protect you from anyone who would hurt you. God only disciplines his children so that they can learn, never to be vindictive.

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