Hendrick ter Brugghen, Esau Selling His Birthright, c. 1627. (from here)

From our perspective God does some things that appear to be awful. When we read the Bible we see what looks like genocide and murder. Either God orders the killing, or He does it Himself. Here are some examples.

  • The Great Flood.
  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • The Ten Plagues of Egypt.
  • Ordering the Hebrews to annihilate the Canaanites.
  • Delivering up the sons of Saul to be hung by the Gibeonites.

The Book of Revelation tells of more awful things to come. Then, of course, there is that great, mysterious evil we call Hell. How is it that God does or even allows such things?

The last example from above, the Gibeonite Revenge, is told cryptically. In greater scheme of things, the story seems to be a small thing. Yet it is the the Bible, and it is so puzzling.

In the midst of famine King David grew desperate and sought the cause from God. God told him the following:

It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death. (from here)

So David contacted the remaining Gibeonites and found out what they wanted. The Gibeonites demanded seven of Saul’s sons. So King David delivered up seven of Saul’s sons, and the Gibeonites hung them.

Were the sons of Saul, the ones the Gibeonites hung, in any way responsible for what Saul had done to the Gibeonites? We don’t know, and the Bible does not say. What we know is told in Joshua 9. Joshua 9 explains how the Gibeonites  tricked the people of Israel into making a treaty. Afraid for their lives the Gibeonites deceived the people of Israel into making a friendship treaty. Therefore, even though the Gibeonites were Canaanites, people God had charged Israel to drive from the Promised Land, in God’s name the People of Israel had sworn to let Gibeonites live, and Saul had violated that oath.

Because the Bible is the story of our redemption by Jesus, the Bible is about Jesus, but it is also about us. The Bible demonstrates our need for redemption by providing us a record of some of our sins: our lies and deceits, our thievery, our murders and genocides, our greed, our lusts, our gluttony, …… What is God to do with us? If we were God would we know what to do? Would we be as merciful and compassionate?

Still, when we sin, don’t we know that two wrongs do not make a right? Are we not told that the end does not justify the means? What about God? Don’t the same rules apply to God? The answer seems to be “no”. Unlike us, God knows perfectly well what means He requires to achieve His ends. Unlike God, we are not omniscient. So we have to follow God’s rules, not the other way around.

What does following God’s rules mean for us? It means obeying God because we love Him. It means seeking His mercy and compassion.

Because we don’t know enough, we cannot judge God. Because God is God, and we are not, He does not need us to make excuses for Him. So if some passage in the Bible does not make sense to us, we should be wondering what God knows that we don’t know, not judging Him or making excuses for Him.

Consider. The Book of Genesis includes the story of Jacob and Esau, twins. God loved one. He hated the other.

Malachi 1:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

The burden[a] of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?”
Says the Lord.
“Yet Jacob I have loved;
But Esau I have hated,
And laid waste his mountains and his heritage
For the jackals of the wilderness.”

What made Jacob any better than Esau? The Apostle Paul provided an explanation in Romans.

Romans 9:10-18 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”[a] 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”[b]

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”[c] 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”[d] 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

God is God. I am not God. You are not God. Even all of us together cannot be God. The glory of the heavens reveal His power and just how small we are. Hence there is nothing we can do except pray and hope He has mercy and compassion upon those we love.

We are part of a story written by our Creator. We have the honor of being made in His image. If we love Him, we will obey His commands. More He does not ask, but His compassion and mercy He offers abundantly.

Romans 8:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.


  1. If we could just spend that time doing what God asked of us, believing in Jesus, loving God with all that we are, and loving our neighbours the same, then maybe there wouldn’t be a need to judge or make excuses because God would give us a better understanding. But alas, that is why we are “children” of God, as I know no “adults” of God. :):) I thank God for blessing you Tom :):)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That “blame God” list.. you might add, World Wars 1 & 2.. the Holocaust… mass shootings…. terrorist attacks… ..the next loved one who dies in your family at someone else’s hand or the proverbial “act of God” accident… just suggesting you don’t have to keep His alleged responsibilities just on the Biblical reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Doug

      Since God is The Creator and all powerful, we can blame Him for anything and everything, and we do. Your list covers the sort of anything and everything we usually blame God for.

      When most of us get angry with God, want to deny His existence, we do so because of pain we feel personally. However, most of us eventually realize that we are our own worst enemies. We create our own problems. Why? The Bible says we are fallen creatures and that we need to be redeemed. Therefore, a list like yours just provides evidence that we are fallen and need to be redeemed, confirmation that what the Bible says is true.

      The problem of evil, the fact that evil exists, does not disprove the existence of God. In fact, the fact that we can all point to much the same things and call them evil just proves God has written His moral law upon each of our hearts. That is, when we do something wrong, we know what we are doing is wrong. Yet because we are fallen, we do evil things anyway.

      To disprove the existence of the God of the Bible, logic requires that we discredit the Bible. So I pointed to that little “blame God” list from the Bible, a list of supposedly evil things God had done. Then I explained why we don’t know enough either to judge or to make excuses for God. Of course, you have had the opportunity to read my post, but perhaps my response to your comment will cause you to consider my post from a different perspective.

      What do we know? We know Jesus was born, that He grew up, that He preached and gathered disciples, that He was crucified for our sins, and that He rose from the dead.

      You say that Jesus’ resurrection cannot be proven? Actually, unless Jesus was God the history of the last two thousand years does not make any sense. In a world so full of evil such as you described, what inspired so many people to believe in the virtues of faith, hope, and love? What inspired so many to die rather than renounce their belief in Jesus Christ and His teachings?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is awesome, Tom. When we judge God, we seldom judge Him with any kind of empathy or understanding. Our brains usually go right to the negative. But what if God had a really good reason, just, holy, perfect? Often if we can open our minds to the possibility, perhaps get a bit of cultural and historical perspective, many things begin to make a lot more sense.

    The other day the Orange guy who does apologetics said in response to, “why did God order the killing of the Canaanites,” well, Luke Skywalker blew up the death star and you think he’s a hero. It made me laugh, because it’s a good reminder to question our perceptions. Nobody ever doubts Luke Skywalker, nobody ever accuses him of being wrong. Everybody understands the death star is going to destroy everything and suck the life out of the universe, so we all cheered when that exploded. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I assume your are talking about this post => https://abitoforange.com/2018/04/11/is-luke-skywalker-a-moral-monster/. Definitely interesting. Thanks for your comment and mentioning that post. It is something of a hoot.

      One thing I doubt most people realize, but the Star Wars saga and its Luke Skywalker hero was designed to illustrate the beliefs of the New Age Movement. Read +> http://www.starwars.com/news/mythic-discovery-within-the-inner-reaches-of-outer-space-joseph-campbell-meets-george-lucas-part-i.

      Campbell is one of these people who believe all religions are myths produce in the human psyche. Thus, he is beloved by those who believe in multiculturalism. I suppose that’s why Lucas chose to make Skywalker the hero in a space opera. How can we get more multicultural than in a universe full of alien cultures?


      1. Ha! Yes, thanks for finding the link, Tom. I enjoy the Orange guy, he’s entertaining and puts things in an easily relatable context.

        Regardless of who the hero is, Luke, or the real guys storming the beach at Normandy, our brains tend to celebrate these guys, because we see protection from some evil, justice, the defense of order perhaps.

        When it comes to God however, many of us suddenly shift gears, we demand fairness, more of an egalitarian, multicultural kind of approach. God simply must love Esau exactly the same as Jacob. I suspect the power, the authority of God frightens us. None of us want to be Esau. So what often happens, we’re willing to trust in Luke Skywalker’s integrity, but the Holiness and integrity of God shakes us up a bit. Fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom, right? Being unwilling to confront our own fear of the Lord is probably why we judge Him.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agreed. Luke Skywalker is a predicable hero. We worship idols because we want a god we can understand and control. Even Allah has that virtue because Muslims believed they can be saved by their works. The God of the Bible, however, demands that we love Him without reservation. Love of that requires that much commitment frightens us.


    1. Walk with God. I delight in the phrase, but I wonder if we can appreciate what it means. When we walk with God, how much can we understand the honor He does us? Who can imagine how much an infinite God has to shorten His stride so that we can walk with Him?


  4. Great line Tom: “So if some passage in the Bible does not make sense to us, we should be wondering what God knows that we don’t know, not judging Him or making excuses for Him.” Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

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