Factual doesn’t always mean truthful and sometimes the events of the day just can’t be processed without a trip into the Word and the mind of God. Yesterday was just such a day in Paris and around the world.
Men chose to take lives...twelve of them with more hanging in the balance…in the name of their religious zealotry. It was reported that they repeatedly yelled, “Allahu Akbar!” which we’re told means “God is Great!” or “God is [the] Greatest!” as they deliberately killed people with souls created by the very same God who created their own.
Whatever else you read or hear about this heinous act, don’t for one single second believe that these men committed these murders in the name of God. It simply wouldn’t be true. Why would an all-powerful God need any human assistance to accomplish His will or defend His honor in such a way here on earth? Is there anything “honorable” about the destruction of human life? Absolutely not. God is the Creator of life and the destruction of it is His purview alone.
We may never know all of the twisted reasoning behind it, but it is absolutely certain that God didn’t have anything to do with this horrible lampoon of His name. (And the horrific irony that their actions were against a group of people who make light of religions of all kinds is not lost on me at all.) Terrorism and the deliberately wanton desecration of life simply isn’t within God’s nature, therefore it couldn’t possibly be within His will.
Horrible, hateful acts have been committed all over the globe and by supposed followers of every single religion for centuries. It doesn’t mean those people were following God any more than these three men. In fact, those kinds of actions prove just the opposite—and it might shock some of the perpetrators if they actually got to know God a little better and found out what He really thinks. It’s for certain that the nightly news would have a drastically different content.
As I heard the reports and read accounts from several different sources, I decided that I needed to return to the only Source that really matters, so I picked up my Bible and since my mind was just blown at the audacity of this assassination of God’s character, I started where I usually go when things don’t make sense to me. I started in the Psalms with the 139th chapter.
Psalm 139 has been a place of refuge and a plumb line for truth for me for as long as I can remember. It is my reminder that I will never be alone, that I was created deliberately and with specific attention to detail, that I am known personally and intimately, that God cares enough about me to plan out my days, that He thinks of me constantly and that, as well as I know myself, HE knows me even better. More than anything else, Psalm 139 emphasizes that God is not in search of people who are religious–He is far more interested in people who want to pursue a relationship with Him.
It’s comforting to know those things…and to know that God is also aware that people will act in ways that don’t honor Him and take His name in vain by giving Him the “credit” for those actions. David’s words remind us that it is natural to hate those who act so despicably and to call them our enemies, but I’m also reminded that the One whose name was slandered by their actions yesterday still loves them just as much as He loves us. We are not called to emulate them in hate, but to emulate HIM in love. How we do that will be something that will take more time to discern than it does to write a blog post, but one thing is for certain: it is up to us to LIVE HIM even in this.
I can’t answer for them. It isn’t my place. It IS my place to join David in asking God to judge ME and that will give me more than enough to handle for now.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24