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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Chatting Up The Kids...
I try and spend 90 minutes each weekday morning with my two eldest children. Roughly two thirds of that time is spent reading then discussing a chapter of scripture, and the other third in studying biblical Greek. During our time together this morning, we were examining 2 Samuel 12, the chapter where [1] Nathan confronts David about his illicit affair with Bathsheba, and of course the cover up of that sin through the premeditated murder of Uriah, and [2] the God afflicts the child of that adulterous union with an illness that eventually (on the seventh day) kills the child.


As we sat down we rehearsed again the way in which two passages in scripture affect our time in God's word. The first passage being found in the second chapter of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: the natural man cannot comprehend spiritual things. We rehearsed again how if we understand anything spiritual it is not because we are so smart, but because God in His grace has deigned to allow us to comprehend a spiritual truth, thus our attitude is one of thankful dependence upon God's Spirit to teach. The other passage is found in the second chapter of James' epistle wherein we are reminded that God gives understanding liberally to those who ask him for it without doubting.

Because I wanted to make sure the children weren't simply aping what I was doing, we briefly discussed the difference between seeking God in prayer, and running from God in prayer. A man can very well ask God all the right things - please open my understanding, please keep me from error - but in his heart he doesn't want to know the Lord in what he is doing, rather he has been trained that this is what you ask, and if you don't perhaps God will punish you, or fail to bless you. This sort of heart is trying to "do the right thing" for the wrong reason - either to avoid God's disappointment, or to appease some requirement. Instead one must come to God because one wants to be with God - that is the purpose of the prayer. I used as an example the way my children rush to meet me each night when I come home from work. The did so because they love me, and they take joy in my coming home. But what if they believe that they had to run up and greet me? That if they failed to do so I would love them less, or maybe punish them - or perhaps withhold from them some privilege they presently enjoyed? Would running up to greet me be the same? In the same way, or so I explained, you can come to God in prayer and not really be "seeking" Him, but rather seeking something for yourself, that is, seeking to satisfy some requirement that you believe with either benefit you or at least keep you from something unfortunate.

We then prayed, and began to read the text previously mentioned.

The illicit affair was easily explained to the children - we focused first on how wrong David's conduct had been, secondly on how David reacted when Nathan confronted with his sin - that David did not continue trying to hide it, but confessed immediately. We noted how immediate and complete God's forgiveness had been, and mused by extension how God forgives our sin just as thoroughly and quickly.

But the discussion about the death of that child who was born of David and Bathsheba's adulterous union took some time. The text plainly says that God made the child sick, and that the child died on account of that sickness. I asked - does God ever take a man's life? They weren't sure so we looked at the last plague in Egypt, and again at the plagues that filled the wilderness with the corpses of disobedient Israel, and even Nadab and Abihu, and Uzzah, and lest we imagine God was any less holy in the NT I could mention Annanias and Saphira. The point was, God most certainly took life.

My question at that point was, "Is God evil for taking life?" The knee-jerk reaction (of course) is to reason that God is not wicked in ending the life of a sinner, since every sinner's life is forfeit on account of sin. The trouble with that however is that David sinned, not the baby - and God's word is very clear about putting to death the son for the sins of the father - God will not do that. So we are left with the idea that God put the child to death for its own sin - even though reason tells us that the babe was by no means capable of sin.

After some discussion, I brought the matter into perspective by asking whether God is required to give life to anyone, and if having given it - is God required to sustain it? Although we find ourselves on the receiving end of an unpleasant truth - yet the truth is that God is not morally obligated to give us life, nor is he morally obligated to sustain our life. The only reason murder is murder is, after all, because we are taking away something that isn't ours to take. If God takes away life, He is only taking back what has always been His.

This fundamental difference between ourselves and God is a very important lesson for us all to learn if we are to understand grace with any depth. If we cannot fathom how God can take any life and every life and still be righteous - we neither understand who God is, nor do we understand who we are, and having such a crippled understanding of these things - our religion is going to be very person-o-centric.

Labels: ,

posted by Daniel @ 5:49 PM  
10 Comments:
  • At 7:34 PM, January 17, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    Another question to ask concerning the death of this child--and any other death, for that matter--is whether it is really such a bad thing. When the elect die, they instantly enter God's presence. When the reprobate die, they enter hell a mere nanosecond (in terms of eternity) sooner than they would have if they had lived a long life.

    Sometimes I think we make too big a deal about death, especially when we ask if God was just in taking a life. It is the living whose suffering is increased by death, and so God can take a life--even an "innocent" life--to punish one who remains without doing injustice to the dead.

     
  • At 9:41 PM, January 17, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    I agree, too much of a deal is made about this sort of thing - though it was good to talk to my children about it - they understood it quite clearly I think.

    Check out my new *flash* header...

    Okay, I know, it isn't terribly clever, but I am still learning. It is only 9KB to load though... and that's pretty slick.

     
  • At 10:18 PM, January 17, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    I didn't mean you were making too big a deal about it.

    That header is neat. I didn't even notice it until you mentioned it, though. Not "flashy" enough, I guess.

     
  • At 10:26 PM, January 17, 2008, Blogger Even So... said…

    neat...

     
  • At 9:23 AM, January 18, 2008, Anonymous Wesley said…

    The header is great and so was the post. Reading how you study with your children the Word convicted me deeply. I need to do more of that and on a regular basis. Well... maybe not that Greek part:)

     
  • At 9:41 AM, January 18, 2008, Blogger 4given said…

    Will you please consider not challenging me in my faith so much? I guess I could refrain from reading, but I "feel" pulled in. It is really quite convicting and it is making me grow Spiritually... yes, but then, at times it makes my brain want to explode. :-D

     
  • At 1:31 PM, January 18, 2008, OpenID thomastwitchell said…

    Cute little ball!

    The power of life and death is the Lord's alone-

    Could'nt imagine a better authority over it.

     
  • At 7:25 PM, January 21, 2008, Blogger MaLady said…

    I like that new word of yours: person-o-centric.

     
  • At 1:44 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Brad Williams said…

    Daniel,

    Out of curiousity, how old are your children? This makes my retelling of Jonah's story last night pretty lame-sounding by comparison.

    And just so you know, I have a brand new Giant bicycle with spandex and helmet and shoes to match. Our last ride was 20 miles. Fun stuff, man.

     
  • At 6:12 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Brad - the older two are ten and seven.

    My bike is a 2005 Giant Yukon, oh fellow Giant enthusiast. None of my outwear matches - I look like a patchwork quilt on wheels - but they are good wheels. ;-)

     
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