Courtroom Drama, Daytime TV, and Good Deity
2 Samuel 16:1–17:29; 2 Peter 2:1–11; Psalm 143:1–12
I remember old television courtroom episodes where people beg for forgiveness from a cynical judge when they should seek forgiveness from the person they’ve wronged. Usually these shows take the irony to the next level: The judge shows less mercy to those who beg, viewing their actions as further demonstration of their weak character. Thankfully, God is not this kind of judge, though we often falsely characterize Him that way.
At the beginning of Psa 143, the psalmist remarks, “O Yahweh, hear my prayer; listen to my supplications. In your faithfulness answer me” (Psa 143:1). He then adds, “And do not enter into judgment with your servant, because no one alive is righteous before you” (Psa 143:2). The psalmist’s prayers are well-spoken, but are they honest? The psalmist goes on, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me onto the level ground” (Psa 143:10). This line demonstrates that he is not spouting rhetoric; he is living in reality.
We’re often determined to convince God to see things our way. Instead, we should be determined to see things His way. God is not a judge in a courtroom drama. Furthermore, His Son has already paid the price for our sins—we have been pardoned through Jesus’ intercession. The only requirement on our part is to enter into a relationship with Him.
We cannot justify our actions, for it is only by God’s goodness that we are able to do good, and it’s only out of severe disobedience and ungratefulness that we act poorly. We need to change our perceptions so that our conversations with God become holistic. We should not just ask; we must act. We should not just speak; we must listen. We should not just petition; we must enter into an honest relationship with God.
In what ways do you falsely characterize God? – John D. Barry