January 19th, 2021

Divine disappointment

By Submitted Article on May 16, 2020.


Second of three parts

Jacob M. Van Zyl

The facts and feelings of frustration are not sinful, because the Bible shows that Father, Son and Spirit got frustrated, too. What we do with our frustration determines whether it leads to sin or not.

After God had declared seven times that his creation was good, humans besmirched it by falling into sin. We can hear the disappointment and frustration in God’s voice when he said to Eve and Cain, “What have you done!” It is more exclamation than question.

When King David, the man after God’s heart, fell into sin with Bathsheba, we can feel the sorrow and pain in God’s heart, saying through the prophet Nathan, “I anointed you king of IsraelÉ Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord by doing evil in his sight?” (2 Sam. 11:7-9).

High expectations often lead to deep disappointment. Did God expect too much of his chosen people?

When God sent 10 plagues on the Egyptians, he spared Goshen where Israel lived. He took them on dry ground through the sea while the pursuing Egyptian army was engulfed by the collapsing walls of water. He provided in the desert manna from heaven and water from rocks. He spoke personally to them with thundering voice and trembling earth when he gave them his Ten Commandments.

After all these blessings, they quickly decided to make and worship a golden calf. God was so frustrated by their unthankful and impudent revolt that he wanted to consume them on the spot. Moses pleaded for them, reminding the Omniscient One about his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and about the conclusions other nations might make about God’s ability to bring them into the Promised Land (Ex. 32:7-14).

“The Yearning of Yahveh” explains God’s longing for Israel’s trust and love as portrayed in the entire Old Testament.

Jesus echoed the yearning and frustration of the Father when he lamented over the Holy City, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem É how often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing” (Luke 14:34).

Stephen concluded his long speech before the Sanhedrin with these words: “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51).

Despite the disappointment of Father, Son and Spirit in humanity, the eternal Three-in-One planned, executed and applied a wonderful salvation for undeserving people.

As the manna kept falling and the water kept flowing despite Israel’s failures, so salvation in Christ has been proclaimed to humanity for 20 centuries. God’s frustration with imperfect people did not make him stop doing the right thing, neither hold back his love.

Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.

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