"How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Revelation 6

Where was God?

or Where is God?

These questions are asked after many shocking events, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was misquoted to be asking this after the ISIS terrorist attack in Paris in November 2015. Where was God?" is a question often asked in connection with the Holocaust, and it is obviously asked out of deep pain.

But what efforts have been made to answer it and be fair and true to God?

Concerning the Holocaust; Jonathan Sacks, who was at the time Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, was asked, "Where was God in Auschwitz?" He replied.

" I answer as follows: God was in Auschwitz in the command "thou shalt not murder", in the words "you shall not oppress the stranger", in the words "your brother's blood cries to me from the ground". God was saying those things to the German people and they didn't listen. I cannot let human beings off the hook by blaming things on God; if I do then I'm betraying the mission that he sent me and sent all of us. We cannot escape from responsibility; Judaism is God's call to responsibility."

It could be that some who ask this question do so more as a criticism of God and of faith in God. The question is often coupled with, "Why didn't God do something?"

Like what? - Are people suggesting that God should intervene and destroy evil people with fire from Heaven? Is that a theologically sound possibility? Jesus discussed the problems of righteousness and wickedness being together in the world.

Matthew 13:36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. His talmidim approached him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."
He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world. As for the good seed, these are the people who belong to the Kingdom; and the weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One. The enemy who sows them is the Adversary, the harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as the weeds are collected and burned up in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all the things that cause people to sin and all the people who are far from Torah; and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where people will wail and grind their teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let him hear!

For God to step in and destroy Hitler and his Nazis he would have to engage in judgement, but God has set a date for Judgment. In the parable explained above, Jesus says, Mat 13:28

. . . . . The servants asked him, 'Then do you want us to go and pull them up?'
But he said, 'No, because if you pull up the weeds, you might uproot some of the wheat at the same time.
Let them both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest-time I will tell the reapers to collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, but to gather the wheat into my barn.' "

If we demand that God pronounces judgement on those we perceive to be evil, would he not have to judge everybody? In his grace, God is allowing us all time to repent and be delivered from the coming judgement.

Romans 3:23 since all have sinned and come short of earning God's praise.

Luke 13:4 "Or what about those eighteen people who died when the tower at Shiloach fell on them? Do you think they were worse offenders than all the other people living in Yerushalayim? No, I tell you. Rather, unless you turn from your sins, you will all die similarly."

But where was God then and in the world today?

Where was God in the Tanakh times? Observing and leading his people Israel, with his name and his glory in the Temple. His spirit was placed upon various prophets and holy men as the narrative of the scriptures was developed. But what did God do in the end times?

Joel 2:28 (3:1) "After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions; also on male and female slaves in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

God is there, wherever his called and redeemed people are - by the presence of his Holy Spirit (the Ruach ha Kodesh)

So, perhaps, the question should be, "What were we (God's redeemed) doing?"

or "What are we doing?"

 

Posted 12/12/15

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