Why Don’t The Ten Commandments Condemn Rape?

Why are the Ten Commandments supposedly silent on rape? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Skeptics will always be finding something to complain about with Scripture. This time it’s about the Ten Commandments. Why do they not mention rape? Isn’t that worth talking about?

For one thing, the Ten Commandments are not meant to be all-inclusive of everything. (Note that if we followed the first one perfectly, the other nine would be done naturally.) Laws in that culture were more didactic in that they were guidelines. Today, if you read a single law on a federal website, odds are it will be longer than the book of Exodus entirely itself. Every single possible exception is meant to be covered.

The ancients instead gave general principles and the role of a judge was to be wise and know how to apply the Law in every single case. Even if there was a prescribed punishment, no judge was forced to go that way. It was as said before more of a guideline.

Yet what about rape?

A simple answer is to say that rape would be understood to fall under the commandment against adultery. Adultery is any improper sexual behavior that is done outside of the marriage covenant. Rape is such a case. Of course, that can happen in marriage as well, but a wise judge would know what was going on.

Why would adultery be mentioned? Because looking at Israelite history, Israel seemed to have a much more consistent problem with adultery than they did with rape. Of all the horizontal sins that are mentioned in the Ten Commandments, the #1 sin that the Israelites were committing on that level was adultery. The idea that sex is the great god that people pursue in our culture is nothing new. It has been the same in most cultures throughout history. Honestly, I’d be surprised to find one where that wasn’t the case.

In the history of Israel, I can only think of two cases where rape takes place and both of them are condemned. The first is in the end of Judges where we have a scene much like Sodom and Gomorrah and a slave woman is raped and raped so much that she actually dies. What’s amusing is when skeptics quote this passage as a look at the depravity the Bible has and actually think it’s being endorsed, when Scripture records this to show an example of what happens when a society abandons the covenant with God. If you think it’s something horrible and disgusting, Scripture agrees.

The second is the case of Amnon and Tamar. In this, Amnon is in love with his half-sister Tamar and rapes her. After that, the text says he hated her and he hated her so much that his hatred was greater than the love that he had for her. (Which shows that it wasn’t really love.) Again, this is condemned. It’s seen as a sign of judgment on the house of David and later, Absalom will sleep with the concubines of David, though that’s not specified as rape.

Ultimately, by condemning adultery, the Ten Commandments do condemn rape. It’s my plan that next time we will look closer at adultery. It’s one of those commandments that many of us didn’t ask about as kids and I always wonder now what goes through the minds of children at church when it is mentioned. Hopefully, we can give the adults a better answer.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Merry Christmas. War is Starting

What really happened on Christmas? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve seen several people sharing lists of their least favorite Christmas songs and one common song on many lists is Merry Christmas: War is Over. I am not going to talk about that song, but I think it is mistaken. When we look at the original Christmas, it’s not war is over. We could say the message at the first Christmas was, “Merry Christmas: War is Starting.”

My favorite version of the Christmas story in Scripture is found in Revelation 12. We forget that this is really what happened. Jesus is born and then wise men come seeking him and King Herod wants him dead. No doubt, Herod was a twisted and evil man, but he know what the birth of the Messiah meant for him. This guy was to rule Israel. He was a threat.

We have our nativity scenes set up with gentle scenes and it’s all peaceful, but Jesus’s coming was a declaration of war. This was God making His way into the world in a new way in a way that He would be king. This was God coming in person.

The world was meant to never be the same. Herod was just the first challenger. The religious elite in Israel started to challenge Him as well. His followers, His body, would be persecuted by the Roman Empire. Later on Islam would come up and from them on, more and more forces have come up to persecute the church.

Jesus is a threat to people wherever He goes. A few months ago a friend shared that we often hear that Christianity needs to come to grips with the world. This person they shared then said it’s the exact opposite. The world needs to come to grips with Christianity.

When we celebrate Christianity, we don’t celebrate the end of a war. We celebrate the start of a war. We should also realize that we are to be continuing this war. We are to be spreading the message of the King and understand that that message comes with opposition.

It could be tempted to think that that means doom and gloom, but it doesn’t. We are meant to win this war. The gates of Hell will never stand against our side. Gates are defensive measures. The church has often put itself on the defense when we are really supposed to be on the offense.

On Christmas, we celebrate our king coming and leading the charge. He went and defeated the major enemy and left the rest of the battles for us to fight. Even then, we fight them by His power and not our own. We are meant to be conquerors.

This world is the world of King Jesus and He came into it on order to reclaim it We are meant to be ambassadors of good news and be rescuing those who are still believing that the enemy is in charge. The greatest battle has already been won. We are, at this point, dealing with left over battles and the last holdouts.

Christmas is a fun time, but remember it’s a time of victory and fighting the battle between good and evil. Jesus came to reclaim this world for God. Let’s make sure we are helping the cause.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Brothers Reunited

How does the story of Joseph end? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So Jacob has now died in the story and that leaves Joseph and his brothers. However, now Joseph is one of the most powerful men in the world. His brothers? Not so much. We all know sibling rivalry is a thing, but throwing your brother into a pit, selling him into slavery, and then telling your father he died, is somehow a step above shaking up their soda before you bring it to them at work. (Which I never ever did to my sister, of course!)

But as I said, Joseph has the power now and while his father was alive, he might have not wanted to do anything. Now, dear old Dad is gone. If anyone has the power in the family, it’s Joseph, and he does have the power indeed. He can do whatever he wants with these brothers. The only person who could really stop him is Pharaoh and somehow I suspect Pharaoh is interested in other matters besides sibling rivalry.

The brothers come up with an idea, and who can blame them? They claim that Jacob said that Joseph needs to show mercy and forgive his brothers. After all, it’s really easy to speak for someone after they’re dead. It’s not like Jacob is going to be able to say anything to him.

However, the brothers need not have worried. Joseph, if anything, is disappointed that this has happened. Do his brothers still not trust him yet? Do they not realize that regardless of what happened, that they are family?

Joseph assures them he has nothing against them. Yes. What they did was meant for evil. He doesn’t deny that. The reality is that God used it for good, the saving of many lives. This is something good for us all to keep in mind. Whatever someone intends for evil will be used by God for good one way or another.

We in the West look at this and think that this is a nice and heartwarming story. We don’t realize how important it is. For the Eastern audience, this could be the most important part of the story. Yes. Joseph has saved the world, but what about his family? No one ever forgets where they buried that hatchet. Will the brothers be reunited? If they weren’t, what would that mean for the future of the twelve tribes of Israel?

This isn’t just an epilogue. This is the story reaching its true resolution. Leave this out and there’s a mystery. Even if you see the twelve tribes together in Exodus, the audience would be wondering, “But what about Joseph and his brothers. How did that end?”

What we see here is a beautiful story of forgiveness. There’s a reason that Joseph is usually seen as a Christ figure of sorts in the Old Testament. Joseph can do whatever he wants with his brothers and he chooses to do one of the most powerful acts of all, to forgive them.

Genesis started with one brother killing another. It ends with one brother forgiving all of his when he could have been justified in killing them. That means the story ends in hope. Israel may not be in the promised land now, but they are united and at least they’re not killing each other now.

Tomorrow, I plan on a Christmas post, but then after that, hopefully, we will return to marriage and divorce.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Reuben’s Loss

Was it worth it for Reuben? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jacob is about to die and has called in his sons to bless them all. We’re only going to focus on one son and that’s Reuben. Reuben was the firstborn and one would think that he would then be in the place of honor. Generally, he would, but this time, he isn’t. It’s not because Jacob has a revelation that God specifically told him to choose another. Only one reason is given.

He defiled his father’s bed.

Remember back when Reuben slept with Jacob’s concubine? Jacob didn’t do anything then, but he had heard about it. Now is the time. Jacob should be giving Reuben a great blessing and telling him what a success he will be and how he will lead his family.

Reuben has no one to blame but himself.

We live in an odd culture. In our culture, sex is treated like it’s everything. The goal of every romance? Sex. The only purpose of dating and marriage? Sex. We see it on advertising everywhere. What used to be done behind closed doors in movies is now done in the open.

At the same time, out society likes to treat sex in a way like it’s no big deal. Everyone does it. Want to have sex outside of marriage? No biggie. Marriage isn’t that important after all. Want to just live together? Go ahead. Who needs to make a promise.

Yet there is still this problem that we see that so many people when they find out the person they say they love is having sex or interested sexually in someone else and pursuing it, they think there is a betrayal going on. It stings them. We know that there is something different about this activity from all other activities.

It’s weird that the Christian community is said to be prudes in this area, and I won’t deny that many are, but in reality, we are the ones who have the highest view of sexuality. We put it in a marriage covenant because a marriage covenant is the place of a promise. You have promised total loyalty and exclusivity to someone and you are to be with them for life. (We will look at divorce more and more as we go on.)

It’s not because sex is dirty, though that impression has been given before. It’s because it’s something sacred and the more valuable something is, the more you protect it and keep it safe. The sexual revolution really hasn’t done us any favors. We now live in a culture with rampant STDs and broken families.

I sometimes surprise people by saying our culture doesn’t think a lot about sex. It’s entirely true. They do it, dream about it, talk about it, fantasize about it, etc. There’s very little real thinking about it.

Christians should know better. This is nothing to treat casually. This is God’s gift to us and if we misuse it, we will suffer the consequences. Reuben suffered some. We can do the same if we mess up.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Did Joseph Forget?

Did Joseph forget about his suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Joseph does manage to escape prison when he’s thrown in by impressing the Pharaoh by interpreting his dream. The Pharaoh places Joseph second in command in Egypt and gives him a wife. Joseph has two sons through her and the oldest is named Manasseh while the youngest is named Ephraim.

Ephraim refers to being fruitful. We can understand that. Joseph is having a very fruitful time in Egypt. However, the name Manasseh is given because Joseph says that he has forgotten the suffering that he went through. He had forgotten his trouble and his father’s household.

Had he? When Joseph’s brothers show up not too far down the road, Joseph does remember them. He knows about them. If he’s able to talk about his father’s household, surely he hadn’t forgotten about his father’s household. Besides that, Joseph should have good memories of his Dad who favored him.

It’s my contention that sometimes when the Bible uses the word forget or remember, it doesn’t mean what we often think it means. In the flood, it says God remembered Noah. It’s not that God is looking down at the flood and sees that ark floating and thinks “Noah! I forgot all about Him!” Instead, it means that God returned his focus to Noah.

If that’s what it means to remember, then that would mean that Joseph had a new focus in life. He was not thinking about what happened growing up and how his brothers mistreated him and all the time he spent in prison. Instead, he was focusing on the future.

Joseph had come to see that God was with him in everything regardless of how his life was going. One day he’s in prison and has been forgotten by everyone. The next day, he’s the second in command in Egypt. The reader knows that God has been with Joseph granting him favor in the eyes of all who see him the whole time, but Joseph does not have that outside perspective. He is living the story that we are the spectators of.

Joseph having children is a sign to him that things are working out. God has allowed him the honor of having a family and having descendants. These are things he would have missed out on also if he had not been faithful in the house of Potiphar.

Speaking personally on this, divorce has been the worst event I have ever gone through. Something that has kept me going is a saying that I have heard before and I don’t remember where, but it’s that the best revenge is a life well-lived. I have decided I don’t want to be a victim of my past. I want to rise above. When I go to work, I try to see it as just a stepping stone. It is one spot on my journey and somehow it will lead to another and God has me here for a reason just like he had Joseph in prison for a reason that he didn’t understand.

After all, picture if Joseph had never been sold into slavery and then never been picked by Potiphar and then never thrown into prison. He would never have been made known to Pharaoh. He would never have led Egypt and the world would have suffered a famine. Joseph could have died anyway then. Every step of his suffering was used by God.

Joseph no longer had his focus on the past. He was looking to the future. Paul said the same in Philippians 3. He was forgetting what was behind and looking to what was ahead.  (Ironically, what was behind him was pretty good actually. It just didn’t compete with Christ.) Maybe we should all do the same.

It’s something that keeps me going in this.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Joseph’s Temptation

How did Joseph handle temptation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There’s a story done about a study on a college campus. In this study, an attractive young woman would go up to various men on campus and ask them if they would like to have sex with her that evening. Many guys in the study actually said, “Why wait until this evening?” The women when approached by a handsome young man with the same question weren’t nearly as eager.

Most of us understand this. Guys think about sex a lot and it is the greatest area of temptation most of us feel. Joseph in Egypt is also a guy and he has older brothers who have families of their own, even if they are distant. He lives in a household where his Dad is presumably very active to bring about all those kids.

Joseph is away from those influences. He has been sold into slavery and if anyone had any understandable reason to go against God, Joseph did. It wouldn’t be right, but we can understand how Joseph could look at his evil of being a slave and think that God had abandoned him and why not return the favor? No one is there to see him after all. Why not become like the Egyptians and worship their gods instead of YHWH?

Yet Joseph does not do this.

Joseph is placed in the home of Potiphar and his wife takes a liking to Joseph. She tries to seduce him time and time again. The Bible doesn’t tell us what methods she used, but many of us guys know that women can be very alluring when they try to seduce. It’s not like Joseph could also go to another household and be a servant there. That freedom didn’t exist.

So he had to overcome this. Many of us guys can have this struggle. How many of us men, on a lesser level, have bought something at a store that we really didn’t need or even want just because the girl who sold it was awfully cute and it looked like she was flirting? Been there. Done that.

Joseph does everything he can to remain faithful. One day when Potiphar is away, his wife takes Joseph by his coat and asks him to sleep with her. This time she has gone too far and Joseph flees leaving his coat behind. Now the woman has a problem. She has the coat of another man right there. Thus, she turns the tables and screams and when Potiphar arrives eventually later on in the day, she tells him that the Hebrew slave tried to seduce her and fled leaving his coat behind. This leads to Joseph being thrown in prison as Potiphar is not going to disbelieve his own wife.

Joseph goes to prison then and while he is faithful to God even there, let’s look at what happened with him. Joseph remained faithful and his main reason was he didn’t want to dishonor not just his master, but God. Joseph has not abandoned God even though one could understand why he could think God had abandoned him.

Joseph could have also easily got some action in and as far as we know, he was a virgin at this time. Surely he would be curious and wonder what he’s missing. While that may be so, he still remains faithful.

Many of us are not as careful with temptation and allow ourselves to be tempted and then get surprised when we fall. As a single man again, I am looking for a new wife, but I am also setting up one rule being that if I have my own place, I will not have a girl I date come alone to be at my place with me and I will not be alone with her at hers.

When I work, if some ladies get off the same time as me, I walk them to their cars. Last night, one offered to drive me to mine. It’s a short ride across the parking lot, but I said no. It would not appear right for me to do that. I would not take another girl home either. There are women who can do that.

Why do this? Because I know how real the temptation is. It’s something I struggle with every day. Today, it can be harder than it was for Joseph. You want to see something sexual? Heck. Just open up your browser and you can in a few clicks. You can see something on your phone if you want to.

Sexual faithfulness is worth it. I hope to remarry someday and when I do, have a woman know that I preserved my eyes from seeing other women like that and saved them for when I could see her. It is my goal to make it to a future wedding night knowing that I remained faithful to God and to her and waited for that time. God is not opposed to His children enjoying the blessing of sexuality. He wants us to enjoy it in the way that is best for us, in a committed monogamous relationship of a man and a woman.

Joseph remained strong. In the end, he was used mightily of God. Today, we need to remain strong in a highly sexualized culture as well. Temptation is real, but Christ is there to help us overcome it always.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Incarnation and Evil

Why talk about the vet and the problem of evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So I wrote about Shiro this week because it does leave me thinking about the problem of evil. One story I thought of was a story about a farmer who wasn’t a believer and his family went to church one Christmas. He saw some birds outside in the cold and thought they would die so he would try to get them in his barn.

He goes out and tries to motion them to come in the barn lest they die, but he doesn’t have any luck. He then thinks about how much easier it would be if he could become a bird himself and then show the birds the rest of the way to come into the barn. It’s at that point he hears the church bells ring for Christmas and understands the incarnation.

It’s a good story, but is it accurate. Paul tells us to imitate him as he imitates Christ, but when we see Christ coming, we don’t see Him talking as if the reason He came was this. He showed us how to be good, but He doesn’t seem to say that’s why He came. He came to bring the kingdom.

When Christ comes, He really says very little about the problem of evil. I can only think of two times specifically. The first is in Luke where some people talk to him about the people whom Pilate mixed their own blood with their sacrifices. Jesus also brings up the Tower of Siloam falling on eighteen people and killing them and telling the people none of these people were worse sinners than anyone else in the city, but they need to repent lest they perish.

The second is in John 9 when the disciples and Jesus meet the man born blind. He is asked who sinned that this man was born blind. Jesus says that it wasn’t because anyone in particular sinned, but so that God’s glory might be displayed in his life. The whole chapter and story then revolves around God healing the man and how the religious elite responded.

Absent from any of this is an explanation for the evil in the first place. Jesus never even begins to move in that direction. Jesus doesn’t tend to get into the why of the suffering when it happens. He just deals with the problem.

So as I thought about taking Shiro to the vet, I thought also about if only I could speak kitty for the time and tell Shiro why this is happening. However, after awhile, it occurred to me that that might not be any good. Does a cat have the capacity to understand human thinking like that? I am pretty much saying that I want my cat to become a human and cease to be a cat.

Kind of defeats the purpose.

Is our wishing to understand evil this side of eternity that much different? God could explain things to me hypothetically about the suffering in my own life, but would I really understand it. Could the answer be so complex that it would be beyond me?

There’s a Woody Allen skit in a play or a movie where he and his wife are discussing their son who is coming for a visit and is an atheist and the wife says she wants Woody to explain the Nazis to him. He says something along the lines of “Explain the Nazis? I don’t even understand the microwave!” It’s funny, but it’s accurate. We can all think of some area in this life that makes no sense to us.

But we’ve convinced ourselves that we would understand the answer. Why else do we ask for one? Could it be we aren’t given one not because there isn’t one or God doesn’t care, or could it be that we wouldn’t understand it. If the distance between me and a cat is this great, how much greater between us and an infinite God?

Maybe the goal is not to understand evil. Maybe it’s just to trust in the evil. Right now, my cat is on good terms with me again. Last night I came home and all was back to normal. Now if I pick him up again and start carrying him outside of my room, he’ll know what’s going on again and resist it, but eventually, he will just choose to trust again. After all, if he lives in fear of me forever, what does he gain? If we live thinking God is out to get us everyday, what do we gain? After all, if He really is, we’re not changing anything by that. We can’t stop Him.

Ultimately, I’ve never really found evil to be a convincing argument against God, but I know some have. My suggestion here is that perhaps the wrong answer is being looked for. I encourage people to look at the positive evidences for the existing of God and for the resurrection. If those are true, there is an explanation for evil. You don’t have to know it. Maybe you couldn’t.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

After The Vet

What happens after the vet? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So yesterday, Shiro got a clean bill of health. All is good and I picked him up and brought him home. I had to stop and get gas and I could see him in his carrier while I was pumping. With every move I made, he followed me with his eyes watching to see me.

When we got him home, he came out of the carrier and ran under the bed. For the most part, he’s been scared of everyone. Shiro doesn’t really care for my parents more often just tolerating them, but usually he’s all over me. It wasn’t like that yesterday.

If I tried to get close to him many times, he would run. Sometimes he would let me pet him a little, but if I got way too close, it was running under the bed again. He had a bandage on his leg from yesterday and he was trying to get it off. Fortunately, he did come to me and I took it off, but then it was off to run and hide again.

This morning before I got out of bed, he had climbed on top of me for a little bit. Right now though, he is still under the bed. He does come out to eat, but fear is still dominating him. It’s as if he has completely forgot all the good things I have done for him in the past and is now only looking at the bad experience.

It’s a good thing we’re never like that!

Too often, we are. How many times when trouble comes do I forget the good that God has done for me and only look on that suffering? I don’t understand why God has done this thing to me or allowed it to happen to me, therefore, I will not trust Him. This brings us to how people see the problem of evil.

It all depends on how one looks at God. If one sees Him as a monster. The bad is so awful that if anything good happens, it is just a chance. For the Christian, it is that the good is so good, there must be an explanation for the bad. It reminds me of the book The Man Who Was Thursday by Chesterton. I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but it talks about some characters discussing the final main character.

““Then, and again and always,” went on Syme like a man talking to himself, “that has been for me the mystery of (Character whose name I have removed) and it is also the mystery of the world. When I see the horrible back, I am sure the noble face is but a mask. When I see the face but for an instant, I know the back is only a jest. Bad is so bad, that we cannot but think good an accident; good is so good, that we feel certain that evil could be explained.

For us, we know that there is a great good, so the evil must be explainable somehow even if we don’t know it. For the other side, the evil is central. Honestly, I would hope any skeptic would at least want to consider the Christian idea because wouldn’t you prefer there be some meaning to what happens instead of just random chaos? I know I would.

Will Shiro come out and realize that the suffering he experienced didn’t happen because I want to hurt him, but because I love him? I’m sure he will soon. He’s starting to warm up bit by bit. That’s the minor question.

The real question is, will I realize the same in my own life?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Shiro and the Vet

What can we learn about suffering from pets? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m taking a break from the series now to write about what is going on with me today. As I write this, it is around 8:35 and I am sitting at a Starbucks with my tea right next to me (None of those pagan coffee drinks) when I would more normally be waking up and have my little cat Shiro nuzzling me waiting for his food machine to go off so he can get breakfast.

Not today.

This morning, I got up at 6:30 instead, and called to Shiro when I didn’t see him. He came out from under the bed and I indicated to him I wanted him to jump up, which he eagerly did. A moment later, he regretted it. I held him and headed towards the door and then he knew what was coming. I had his kitty carrier in the bathtub in our big bathroom and had it already open as I put him in.

It’s a real chore honestly. It takes a lot of planning.

No. There’s nothing wrong with him as far as I know. He just has to have his regular shots, a dental cleaning, and I’m getting his nails trimmed while he’s under. Unfortunately, little Shiro understands none of this. For him, he’s gone without his breakfast and would much rather be at home and doesn’t understand why the only person in this world he now trusts is treating him this way.

You see, since the divorce, I have been with my parents and sometimes Shiro tolerates them, but he doesn’t trust them yet. I’m the only person he regularly comes close to and the only one who gets to hold him. He especially likes it if I lay down on the bed and he gets to be on top of me. He can sit like that for several minutes. He’ll often rub his face in mine, something I refer to as a kitty kiss.

This morning, I suspect he feels betrayed. If I loved him, I wouldn’t do this. Right? I would hear him crying on the way to the vet. I could picture him asking why I would do this if I loved him so much.

It’s interesting that we ask the why question.

In my Bible reading of the Old Testament, I am going through Job now. I contend that Job is not really about why bad things happen to good people. It’s asking why we are good in the first place. However, Job seems to want to know why what is happening to him is happening to him. Naturally, his friends think they have the answer which means of course, they were first-year seminary students.

It’s odd that Job argues against them while at the same time assuming to accept what they say. He wants his day in court. He wants to show he’s innocent. After all, the only reason he could be suffering is that he is being judged. Right?

Somehow, we often think a why answer would help us every time. Who is to say it would? Who are we to say we would even understand the answer.

As I type this, I think about my friend Ed. I spoke with him in person just last month at ETS and he has a hard life indeed as he has an unknown disease and a number of times has been at the hospital assured his time has come, but he is still here. Ed is a great servant of Jesus and in my own suffering in divorce has reached out to me a number of times.

And just after our meeting his 17 year-old daughter died suddenly.

I can’t imagine what that would be like. I’m not going to try. Even more unbelievable is he has contacted me through text message in this time saying he is sorry he hasn’t reached out to me. I tell him to please not worry about that and I mean it. I need to be there for him this time, and I do sometimes send him Bible verses about the resurrection.

Now I don’t doubt that God could show up and explain why this has happened. He could, but while Ed is a smart man, would he understand it? Would any of us? We’re talking about a being who knows the end from the beginning and can tell you everything that has happened in the story thus far and everything that will happen.

Also, is a good God obligated to prevent every kind of suffering we have here? I’m reading a book now called When Helping Hurts. It’s about how we can say we want to help the poor, but what we do really hurts them instead. Consider it like the little boy who wants to help the butterfly get out of the casing he’s in, so he breaks it. He thinks he’s helping. He’s just killed the butterfly. It’s in breaking out that it develops the strength it needs to be a butterfly. Without that, it dies.

One of the writers talks about being in a sort of slums area that he thinks is God-forsaken when he finds a church. He is invited to preach and being a good Presbyterian decides he will speak some on the sovereignty of God. He thinks that until he hears the prayer requests, such as a woman wanting protection since her husband beats her or for God to provide food for the children of someone in the congregation who are hungry.

This pastor knows about the sovereignty of God from his study of the text. These people know about having to depend on it for their very lives. One guess who really got the lesson on the sovereignty of God that day. Amazingly, those people, who are suffering far more than most of us in the western world are, have more trust in God and rejoice more in His goodness. Prideful skeptics here might call it delusional hope. Perhaps they should try to talk to those people some first and just really listen.

It’s part of our entitlement mentality. We all think we’re entitled to a life without suffering and God is there to aid in our joy and to keep us from evil and if He’s not doing that, well He’s not doing His job. Yes. God has His job and He is obviously our employee and if He doesn’t do the work, He’s not worth it.

It’s really an arrogant position.

It’s also not as if God does this for His enjoyment. Sure, I’m sipping a tea here in Starbucks and typing a blog and watching the people come in here, but if you asked if I would have rather been staying at home and doing all this work from there and then playing some Final Fantasy XIV with friends, it’s definitely the latter. I’m not a morning person. I’m a night owl. I’ve been going to bed earlier this week to prepare. (Fortunately, God in His grace let me have my Dad’s bronchitis so I didn’t have to work. Yes. Another interesting way suffering works for our good.)

I would like to be able to explain to Shiro that I love him despite what he sees. You who are reading this, regardless of your attitude towards cats, know that what I have done for Shiro is ultimately a loving thing and if I didn’t do it, you would have grounds to question my love for Shiro. It’s odd, but if I withheld this suffering from him, I would not be loving.

Part of my problem with arguments from evil is people who make them presume too much. They presume there is no good reason for this, that they have to understand the reason, and that God owes them to not have this evil suffering. It’s important to note that the problem of evil is the burden of the skeptic. They have to demonstrate there is no good reason for a particular suffering. Good luck with that. I don’t have to know why a particular suffering has happened and frankly, why should I know that? I consider myself a smart man, but I don’t think I would understand it either.

After all, I don’t understand yet why God allowed me to meet a girl who would ten years later shatter my heart in a divorce that was unjustified and call me abusive. I still don’t understand it, but I have held on to Him in the midst of it and that has been my hope. Friends assure me that sometime down the road, I will see this as a blessing, and in some ways, I do see good coming from it now, but I still wait for more. I especially hope to someday soon meet another girl who I can bring joy to.

And as I think about that, it brings me to something else about suffering and knowing why it happens. Most of us hate it if we’re watching a movie and someone spoils what happens in it for us. Strangely, we think we should have spoilers for our own life given to us. This is a story that we are in, but it is His story and we are just minor bit roles in it, though there is still something great planned even for us.

In a few hours, I will be picking up Shiro. Before too long, he will be snuggling with me again. Maybe not tonight as my Dad and I are going to see Christmas lights, but eventually, he will give me his trust again and be happy.

Will I give the one who watches over me the same and be happy just being with Him?

That’s up to me.

And for you, that’s your choice as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Lot’s Daughters

Why is this gross story in the Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The story of Lot and his daughters is one of those stories that skeptics of Scripture look at and ask why it’s in there. Often, there’s this idea that because the Bible records something, it is endorsing it. Not at all. The Bible contains the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If anything, this text shows us how depraved Lot’s own daughters had grown to be living in Sodom. It is a further indictment on the people and it shows the consequences of Lot living where he had. Had Lot not ever ventured close to Sodom, what happened here and later in Israelite history would not have happened. Amazing how one man’s actions can have such long-term consequences. Isn’t it good that none of ours today will have such an effect?

Anyway, Lot is living in a cave alone as his wife is now gone and his daughters are there and they say that there are no men in the area. More than likely, they just don’t want to go out and get them. The two of them then decide that what they will do is to get Lot drunk and have him sleep with the older one first and then the younger. They seem to have no moral qualms about this whatsoever.

Hey. At least our society isn’t at that point where people can have romantic relationships with a parent. Right?

Sadly, we do have that. In this story, a woman reports that her husband is sleeping with her mother, and she’s fine with it. The respondent is practically celebrant over the whole matter. Fortunately, the same doesn’t happen in this case where a woman finds out her mother is pregnant. Who got her that way? The woman’s husband. The same happens with fathers and daughters. Many are the cases of child molestation. Fathers have often gone to their young daughters and molested them and threatened them if a word is said.

For the consensual cases, it’s known as genetic sexual attraction. It’s already here with us and more and more, people in society will accept it. At this point, they really have to. If it is admitted in any way that some sexual behaviors are forbidden, then that will mean that there is a right and a wrong way to view sex and to have it. Can’t have that.

My fear is that honestly, before too long, the molestation will become a no big deal thing. Some of you might be aghast at that thought, but keep in mind what we consider worth celebrating today was within the lifetimes of people alive today something shameful and not worth talking about. What is shown on TV today is what you had to go to a magazine rack discretely to see before. What is taboo keeps getting pushed further and further.

Lot’s daughters had already reached that point. Sleep with Dad? No big deal. It’s just sex. We’ll get our Dad drunk and wrong him. No matter. Right? We gotta have kids after all. Right?

That is exactly what they do. They had gotten out of Sodom, but Sodom hadn’t gotten out of them. The older one has a son that became the father of the Moabites and the younger had one that became the father of the Ammonites. A number of times, Israel had struggles with both of these nations.

All because Lot got too close to a bad situation.

Let’s not have any of us think we’re above that today. Readers of my blog know that I am single again and I’ve already decided when dating, assuming I am living at my own place, I don’t want to bring a girl back to my place while I’m alone here nor do I want to go over to hers when she’s alone. I know I am prone to temptation. Why risk it? It might never happen, but I don’t want to take the chance. Many times, we try to see how close we can get to temptation without falling into it. We should instead ask what we can bother to gain by getting close anyway.

Lot’s daughters is meant to show us the disastrous consequences of our bad choices. Israel would know if they listened to Genesis to not follow Lot’s example. It would be amazing how different their history could have been had they done that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)