We who are associated with the Church often stipulate how wrong it is to judge other people. When the Lord mandated in the Sermon on the Mount that we should “Judge not,” He referred to the action of passing a condemnation onto and about someone else. But, unfortunately, we frequently judge people in condemnatory terms anyhow. It is one of the great failures of the people associated with the Church in not showing a difference for Jesus Christ and not living out His principles.
But, the people of the Church are all too often guilty also of judging God, too, and judging Him with fierce misunderstanding. In passing misconstrued judgment on God, we give God a bad rap, and it in part reflects a reason why people outside of the Church reject God. How well do you judge God? There is a particular Bible story which gets our attention about it.
It has to do with the wife of Abraham, Sarah. According to Scripture, the Lord visited with Abraham one day. God had affirmed to Abraham on occasion that Sarah and he would have a child through whom the covenant promises of God would come. On this day, God affirmed His revealed will again.
In the mean time, Abraham was excited about the Lord’s visit. He stirred up his household to do things to make the divine visitors welcome. Running into the kitchen, Abraham grabbed Sarah by the shoulders and told her, “The Lord is here!” He then essentially told her to make a big batch of her good Bisquick biscuits and get them on the griddle and then on the table.
I can just see Sarah with a big silver bowl of Bisquick ingredients ensconced in her left arm with a spoon in her right hand beating the mixture intensely. But, with the kitchen next door to the living room, I can also see her with her ear close to the door listening to the conversation going on in the living room between the Lord and Abraham.
But, her jaw must have dropped slack when she overheard the Lord say that Abraham and she were going to have a child. In subdued tones, Sarah laughed at that prospect. After all, she was ninety years-old, and Abraham was one hundred years-old. Two old people of those ages were not incapable of conceiving a child, she reasoned.
The Lord knew that Sarah cast a doubtful judgment, and perhaps called from the living room, “I know you are laughing, Sarah! Why are you laughing?” And, though she tried to deny it, her apparent laughter and doubt about God was exposed.
The story does not end there. The Writer of the Book of Hebrews picked up on it, stating, “Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
Sarah reveals to us why she was willing to judge God, and judge Him erroneously initially. First, she judged God on the basis of her self. She was ninety years-old. Second, she judged God on the basis of others. Her husband was one hundred years old.
We do the same thing. We judge God according to our perceived circumstances. It was suggested to one person not long ago that God had really blessed them, to which they replied, “If God was really blessing me, I would have a job making $50,000 a year, and I would be driving a new car.”
We also judge God according to other people and the way they treat us. What that does it that it fails to take into account the extent that God has gone to show us how much He loves us and all the things He does for us in terms of His providential care. If you are a part of the Church, such judgments about God are a bad witness.
Some of you need to change your mind about God. Sarah did, and her new-found judgment of God has long been a source of Christian inspiration.
In the mean time, our second son told us this week that his wife is expecting their fourth child. There is certain joy in this Grandparent Camp! God is good!
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.
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