My sweet wife and I just watched the first installment of ABC’s production of The Ten Commandments. I think that the fact that we are now the parents of one especially precious 2 year old boy (our first born) made the death of the first born of Egypt especially poignant to us.
The Bible is clear—and the movie gets this part right—that God put to death the firstborn sons of Egypt (Exod 4:23). In the movie, viewers are presented with a sympathetic Egyptian, Moses’ brother Minnereth (this character doesn’t come from the Bible), who protests that he and his son were not present when the Egyptians of a previous generation killed the Hebrew children. This naturally raises the question of how God can be just in slaying seemingly innocent first born children of decent Egyptian parents like Minnereth.
The truth is that far more upsetting to us than the death of these seemingly innocent children should be the fact that God is not glorified as God or thanked for his merciful kindness (Rom 1:21). We must pray that God will give us such an all encompassing understanding of his infinite worth that we are more emotionally troubled when he is denied the glory and thanks he is due than we are when little ones die. Do we believe that God is this great, this worthy of glory and gratitude?
The great problem in the universe for us should not be why bad things happen to people, rather, we should be provoked when God is not given the thanks and praise he is due. God must enable us to perceive his own incomprehensible wealth of magnificence and mercy so that we can see beyond the apparent decency of people and stare into the truth that they owe God heartfelt, constant thanks and praise. And the fact that they do not render to him the worship that he deserves must become for us the greatest ugliness in all creation.
Only when our minds are fixed on the infinite worth of the one by whom and for whom all things exist will we be able to say by faith that when all the evidence is presented on the last day, no one will question what God has done. All will say that everything he did was right.
If in our minds the worth of God is not this great, or if we are not confident that he will be justified in all he has done when all the evidence is brought forth, let us pray for grace to search the Scriptures and see there that the one from whom, through whom, and to whom all things are is indeed worthy of all the glory (Rom 11:36).
Amen, Dr. Hamilton! Thanks for your perspective and encouragement.
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