Playing Games With God.

The book of I Kings in the Bible ends with the death of King Ahab. His is a tragic life with a pitiful ending. If only he knew that centuries later, readers would wonder at the extent of this man’s need to ‘play games’ with God. Ahab’s tactics are bold, defiant, narcissistic. He imagines a God who spars with him at his own level.

God sits on the opposite side of the ‘board’. The ‘game’ is His. His rules have been broken. He never intended to oppose Ahab. He had wanted Ahab to be ‘on his team’.

In the final days of Ahab’s life, he grumbles against God whom he sees as his enemy, the one who ‘always says bad things about him’ through the prophets.

Ahab dies in a battle God has warned him not to enter, but which He defiantly walks into, wielding camouflage as protection.

I imagine God, leaning over the King as he died in battle. “I tried to protect you, I tried to warn you….”

I’m sure none of us try to play such childish power games with God?

Quite a few people I know, however, see God as an enemy: a self-seeking, demanding deity who would limit their creativity, fun, and progress as well as  putting unreasonable demands on their time.

Even those who are Jesus followers can at times wrestle with God over their perception of His best for them, over the medical conditions He has allowed them to suffer from, over the tragedies He has allowed to happen in their lives or in their families.

Lest we think that Ahab was some freak of human nature with an unusual penchant for evil, we must recognise that it is all too easy to allow disappointment and bitter thoughts to reinforce our view of God as an enemy, a mindset which closes our hearts to God’s love and grace.

God is for us, of this there can be no doubt. Don’t take my word for it though. Read the Bible from cover to cover, search out all the ‘nasty bits’ and the controversial stuff. Keep reading (maybe find an up to date version to make the going easier – Eugene Peterson’s paraphrased version “The Message” is a good place to start) till you reach the final ‘Amen’.

Unless you read the Bible as a whole, you won’t understand the big picture, the remarkably simple but beautiful story of God’s love for mankind. Don’t allow life to drift on with God as an enemy. Open your heart to His friendship.

 

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