Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
We couldn't do that, of course, because perfect obedience first requires perfection. But we had to be shown we couldn't do it on our own, else the fulfillment of the law would have been incomplete.
It's always curious how we can read something and come up with such different thoughts....especially concerning the Bible!
My take on it is, respectfully, the opposite. In Exodus we come to know the true personality of God. God was not the good humor ice cream man. God was a very stern, unforgiving and even vindictive being. There are many events to justify these thoughts. Consider the plagues of Egypt. God commanded Moses to deliver ultimatums to the Pharaoh under penalty of a plague striking the city...and He made it impossible for the Pharaoh to concede! Each time Pharaoh wanted to say ok, God hardened his heart so that he wouldn't give in and then sent another plague. His reasoning was obvious...He wanted to teach Pharaoh a lesson and perpetrated this facade of giving a choice to drive the point home...culminating with the killing of thousands of newborn babies. One could call that rather harsh. God sent an angel to kill Moses. His crime? He had not had one of his sons circumcized. Even the footnotes in the Bible plead Moses' case in that....Moses had spent a good part of his life as Egyptian royalty. Then he fled into the desert, got married, had sons. Afterwards God presented himself to him. Moses was then charged with being God's representative in the dealings with the Pharaoh. It is very easy to speculate that Moses had not had the circumcision done simply because it slipped his mind. It had not been a requirement when the child was born because Moses hadn't met God yet. It could have simply been a mistake...not a deliberate attempt to disobey God. That make a difference? Nope. God sent an angel to kill him anyway...kill Moses, the mortal he had hand-selected to be his spokesperson and representative for that simple lack of action - and He would have had not Moses' wife performed the circumcision in that moment, satisfying God's wrath. Doesn't this sound like a little bit of an over-reaction? The thing was that God was not by nature a compassionate or forgiving being. What are the penalties for disobeying the Ten COmmandments? For Thou Shalt Not Kill, the penalty is death. For raising a hand against one's mother or father, the penalty was death. For the majority of God's laws, the penalty was death. God was the first advocate of capital punishment. Obey His law or die...that was the bottom line. When Moses came down with the ten Commandments and saw the debauchery and praying to false idols and the drunkenness that had taken place during his absence, God told Moses He was going to kill them all. Not deal with...not forgive...kill..period. Moses did his best to reason with Him, pointing out that it would serve no purpose to rescue them from Egypt only to kill them in the desert. God relented..the Bible says He 'regretted' his decision to kill them. This is very important. First, these examples show that God was a strict, unforgiving and ruthless entity. Second, it showed that, in spite of that, he could be swayed to change his mind by a mortal. It happened twice....once by Moses' wife and once by Moses himself. What important thing does this say? To the Christians this say that Jesus Christ is the best friend they will ever have. Jesus became the buffer. Humanity was the class, Jesus the teacher, and God the principal. You did not want to get sent to the principal's office without your teacher speaking in your behalf!
So that is why, Ron, I have a different idea of it all being a lesson to show humanity that it could not be perfect. I believe that, by God's actions, He expected perfection at that time and was willing to kill whatever, or whoever, did not meet His demands. You don't kill an entire race to show them a lesson because what lesson could be learned by the dead? That's what He was ready to do. It did not make God more compassionate because He later refused Moses entrance to the promised land after forty years of wandering in the desert for the simple reason that Moses had struck a rock instead of speaking to it to get water from it...but it at least saved the Jews at that time.
My thoughts would be that Jesus was created by God to be the one being on Earth capable of following all of God's laws. So what did Jesus do? He became the champion of the sinners (the rest of us) and, through his sacrifice, appeased God's wrath and convinced Him that our survuval was worthwhile, even with all of our imperfections. If not for Jesus, I think humanity would have disappeared long ago from God's wrathful hand as an experiment that just didn't work out.
It is too often supposed that human repentance and sorrow soften the heart of God and render Him propitious. It is the legal fact that Christ has borne all sin which renders God propitious. (emphasis added)
You can't be more right, Denise. Repentance and sorrow does not soften God's heart. God is love - but it is a tough love, not giving in to repentance or excuse.
These reasons make me feel that it must be a bit more comforting to be a Christian as opposed to a Jew. With God being the unforgiving, brutal and vindictive being He has occasionally shown Himself to be, I would not rest easy without the belief that there is a counter-balance working in my favor. Of course, Jews may think I'm nuts for thinking that...and they could be right! Wouldn't be the first time and these are only thoughts of mine alone, nothing more....are any of them valid? God only knows...