Some Bible stories seem to indicate that God’s will was done by ignoring one or more of His commandments. What does this say to us? I would like our readers to suggest some answers.
In response to the lesson plan for “Two Classes of Worshipers,” one of our readers concluded (in an unpublished comment) that “God is not such a rigid leader as we make Him out to be.” Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps God isn’t nearly as “rigid” as we make him out to be?
And this reader went on to suggest that “He [God] looks at our motives, at our heart.” And that is, of course, totally biblical. (See 1 Samuel 16:7)
This reader suggested that Rebekah did nothing wrong by helping Jacob deceive Isaac, because she knew that Jacob should get the birthright, because the Lord seemed to have promised that to Jacob:
“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)
Now let’s take a look at what Rebekah’s motives probably were:
1) She wanted Jacob to have the birthright. That seems to be in harmony with the words of the Lord.
Anything wrong with that motive?
2) She apparently felt that she needed to help God to fulfill His prophecy.
Anything wrong with that last (likely) motive?
What about Abraham and Sarah seeking to help God fulfill his promise by Abraham having a child with Sarah’s Egyptian slave? (Genesis 16:1-3) After all, God had promised that his descendants should be as numerous as the stars of the sky. (Genesis 15:1-4) Was that right for Sarah and Abraham to help God fulfill His promise? Why or why not? Is there any similarity at all to Rebekah’s situation?
Our reader also suggested that God blessed the midwives because they lied to Pharaoh in Exodus 1:19-20: “And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives:” Does this indicate that it is sometimes God’s will that we lie? What was the heart motivation of the midwives? How is their situation different from or similar to Rebekah’s?
An undeniable instance of lying is Rahab’s lying to the King of Jericho in Joshua 2. And the Bible record indicates that “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” (Hebrews 11:31) Does this constitute approval of misrepresenting the truth for the sake of God? Or?
The promised Messiah is descended from David and Bathsheba. (Matthew 1:8) Does that mean that David was right to have Uriah killed in order to marry Bathsheba?
Since it was necessary for Christ to die so that we might be saved (See Isaiah 53), some argue that Judas did a necessary work. After all, he helped fulfill prophecy. Are these Christians right in judging the actions of Judas necessary for salvation? And if they were necessary for our salvation, should he not be honored, rather than despised? What similar principles do you see in this argument to the previous arguments?
Lastly, can we see any similarity in the religious experience of the individuals in these examples and the experience of Cain and Abel? They both worshiped God. How did Cain’s worship differ from that of Abel?