Recently I got a text from a close family member who was struggling with all the death in the old testament, even calling God a murderer, I understand that, I used to think along those lines, here is what I told them.
When I read through the Bible the first time like you I was astounded at the people that God killed or had killed and I got madder and madder as I read. (By the way God’s a really Big Boy and can handle my anger at Him) Before I got upset with all the murders my first issue with God was; why did He lie in Genesis 2:17 17” but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””
When Adam and Eve ate, they didn’t die for about 800 years. What? I thought you said, “that on the day they eat they will surely die”. Talk about a lie, I though…800 years is a whopper!
Then came the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Egyptians a whole lot of fold dying at God’s hand right, yep those got to me a little, but when he took out Aaron’s two sons for just offering the incense I really got mad. The topper for me was when Achan in Joshua 7:10-26 kept the devoted things from Jericho and God ordered that they not only kill him, but his wife and kids. It was bad enough that he had all the people of Jericho slaughtered but for me Achan’s wife and kids was over the top.
Another that really fried my bacon was when he Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6:6-8. Even David got mad at God over Uzzah.
6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. 8 And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah[c] to this day.
Then anger became rage when God let Satan kill Job’s kids in the book of Job. The first time I read that I was beside myself, totally disrupted sure that this God was cruel and beyond mean.
Then came the end of the book of Job, where question after question had been raised to God throughout the book and instead of God answering any of those questions, he told Job in Job , “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
2 “Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
3 Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
9 When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;
10 When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
11 When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’
That is just the beginning of what God asked Job, anytime I think I have some better idea than God I go back and see once again that I am not God. The truth is and was that I was darkening counsel by words and anger without knowledge. Once I figured out that I was not God and He is and He has a really high standard hat I couldn’t possibly measure up to. I was in bad trouble looking for a solution and I found it as I kept reading and reading.
First going back to the lie in Genesis 2. Biblical death is different than I thought. Death is simply to be separated from God and the moment Adam and Eve ate they were separated. If you believe as I do that God is all good, love, joy, peace, patience, etc.. Then to be separated from God is to have no life, because He is life and life abundantly.
God is holy, actually holy, holy, holy and he cannot be in the presence of sin or that person like Aaron’s kids or Uzzah will be a crispy critter. Knowing the problem God put a plan into action, (because He really does love us) to reconcile us to Himself so that we would be without sin and be in His presence without dying.
That plan was to send His only Son to the cross to take the penalty we could not pay to conquer Biblical death. With the blood of Christ covering us we can be in His presence and experience Love and Joy at a level that is beyond understanding.
All that said, by all means get mad let it all hang out ask the hard questions, God is waiting to answer them for you as He has for me.