Do you find it difficult to love and appreciate the God of the Bible? Some people do. Often, God’s having allowed people to experience the adverse consequences of their own choices and behavior is viewed as though God enjoyed seeing people fail and suffer. This could not be farther from the truth. A closer and more considerate look at the Bible, and God’s dealings with the people identified in the Bible, reveals a much different picture and a much different God. We really see a God who is caring, concerned and considerate. It is important for us to know that God wants us to succeed in our pursuit of spiritual happiness and eternal life. God really does care about us.
In my recent Bible reading I came across a passage that had not grabbed my attention in past readings. It is in Exodus and concerns God’s leading Israel out of Egypt, along the Gulf of Suez on the Sinai Peninsula. It is obvious that their faith and confidence in this journey is very fragile. Already, they have been chased by a mighty army, they have been concerned about food and water, and they even feared that they were going to die in the wilderness. They actually thought their situation was so dire that they would have been better off staying in Egypt.
It is a crazy conclusion but an easy one to accept if you really do not understand how much God cares. The verse that caught my attention was Exodus 13:17, “Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.’”
God knew that once they arrived in the land that had been promised to Abraham, Israel would fight many armies in order to take possession of the land. God apparently knew that they would be ready when that day came. Further, God knew that they were not ready now. Rather than thrust them into that situation, an action that one might expect from a God who does not care and who enjoys seeing people fail and suffer, God led them in a different direction. I do not know about you but this encourages me. It speaks volumes about God’s intentions for Israel. They had forty bitter and difficult years ahead of them no doubt; but that was because of their lack of faith, not a lack of godly concern.
Similarly, Paul assured in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Indeed, a principle that rings true throughout the Bible is that God cares and wants us to succeed in doing good. It is much easier to love and appreciate God when we see His love demonstrated. In fact, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).