Chapter 8- Moses continues his big speech to the Israelites, still reminding them not to forget God once they are settled into the promised land and prospering.
Verse 2, “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Shouldn’t God already know these things? Why does he have to test people to see what they will do if he is omniscient?
Also, we have a term for people who constantly “test” those they love, forcing them to prove their worth and obedience: abusers.
From a list I found online called “Characteristics of Abusers” :
- Keeps track of what you are doing all the time and criticizes you for little things.
- Constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.
- Likes to isolate victim: He or she may try to cut you off from social supports, accusing the people who act as your support network of “causing trouble.”
- Humiliates you in front of others.
- Destroys your property or things that you care about.
- Threatens to hurt you or the children or pets, or does cause hurt.
- Uses or threatens to use a weapon against you.
- Forces you to have sex against your will.
- Blames you for his/her violent outbursts.
- Is excessively jealous.
- May think it is okay to solve conflicts with violence.
I think an argument can be made for every single one of those things being traits that the OT God displays. If you have even a passing knowledge of the Old Testament, most should be self evident. I do feel the need to make a quick comment on “Forces you to have sex against your will” since that one is a bit less obvious. Remember Hagar? Or Bilhah and Zilpah?
A relationship with Yahweh is not a healthy relationship!
Along those same lines, verse 15 says, “[God] led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water…” What Moses fails to mention here is that God is the one who put the fiery serpents there! (Lev. 21) Talk about “using weapons against you”!
Verse 18, “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…” Kinda makes you wonder about that age old problem of evil: Why do bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people? God clearly promises to prosper those who are good and destroy those who are bad, but that’s not what we see actually happening in everyday life.
Chapter 9- Moses tells the people that God is removing the native people from the promised land because they were wicked, not because the Israelites are deserving. Moses reminds the people just how undeserving they are, and recounts the story of the golden calf they made.
“It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land” “You are a stiff necked people!” “Do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness.” “You provoked the Lord” “For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you.” “You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.”
Blames you for his/her violent outbursts
May think it is okay to solve conflicts with violence
Chapter 10- Moses recounts building the ark of the covenant, getting the replacement stone tablets, and more details of the Israelites journey through the wilderness.
There are several verses here that admonish the Israelites to “fear” and “love” God. Sorry to keep harping on the analogy of God=abuser, but how much more clear could it be? Someone who really loves you and cares about your well being doesn’t want you to fear them.
I know I’ve been a little flippant in my discussion of abusive relationships in this post, so I’d like to take a moment to seriously say this: If you’re in a real-life relationship that displays characteristics listed here, there is help available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at www.thehotline.org/ or you can call them at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).