Because I say so…

15 Jan

244px-messier-42-10-12-2004-filtered-e1401834586474While working on some projects over the past few weeks, I was struck with an amazing realization…

Are you a parent? Were you a parent? Or… do you remember your own parents? Imagine, if you will…

  1. You tell your child to do something or other that they don’t particularly want to do.
  2. They (predictably) ask, in a whiny voice, “But… but… WHY?”
  3. And you say? (fill in the blank here) (Psst! Hint: Check the title of this post!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Have you ever noticed how often God Almighty, when faced with parallel situations with His Old Testament children, identifies Himself thus…

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.”

Time and time again, He identifies Himself this way. And one day this realization just stopped me cold, as I thought… “Waitaminute! Why does God EXPLAIN Himself? Is He coddling His children? I mean, why doesn’t He say… ‘Because I am the Lord your God who could squish you like a bug?’ or “I am the Lord your God who created heaven, earth, and you?’ or even the tried-and-true…. “Because I say so!”?

It started me looking up one passage after another, and I saw this pattern repeated over and over. And this confused me. After all, if ANYONE has the right to pose an argument from authority without qualification, it must be Him, no? And yet, He doesn’t. In fact, He NEVER EVER does.

I was stunned.

We do it, we humans, all the time. Certainly with our children and subordinates. We claim our authority by position and rank, not by our actions and history. At least, not usually we don’t.

It all started me thinking… Why? Doubtless God is more emotionally secure than we are. We have greater need to massage our egos and pride, true enough. But still, does it make sense that we tend to point to ourselves when we assert authority, while God points to the children when He does?

So, I pondered, “Why?” Clearly, God gets it right more than I do. So, He has a method to why He asserts His authority in these terms rather than mine. As I pondered, I came to a conclusion.

I’d like to know what you think about what I thought… which was…

It seems that God defines “authority” in terms of His own commitment to the care and welfare of the other.

Perhaps that is a critical key. Perhaps “authority” only has true meaning in relationships of care, and it is directly related to the degree of commitment one has for the nurturance of the other. Like when God placed Adam into the garden to “protect and to serve” the plants, THUS exercising dominion. Is it possible that God always intended Adam’s “authority” and “dominion” to extend only to the limits of his caretaking?

Could God’s authority be infinite in that His caretaking is infinite? And the reverse? God’s caretaking is infinite in that His authority is infinite? Is the assertion and exercise of authority only godly and legitimate to the extent that we are committed to the well-being of the other? Is such assertion without commitment nothing more than the haughty posing of the self-righteous whitewashed tombs?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That’s where my ponders led me. What do you think?

Blessings and grace to thee, Gentle Reader! — The Little Monk


Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Because I say so…

  1. Don Merritt

    January 15, 2015 at 6:23 AM

    As always LM, you raise an interesting question.
    “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.”

    How do we interpret this? Some thoughts that come to mind for me:
    1. “Now hear this, this is God speaking, listen up!”
    2. “Hey Bud, you owe me one, and I need a favor”
    3. “Yo Dude, want me to send you back to Egypt?”
    4. “By the way, you do know who you’re speaking to, right?”

    OK, there could be many more possibilities… I suspect that what we discern in His statement will differ based upon where we are when we hear it. We might discern an implied threat, but that would say more about the listener than it does the speaker. We might just hear a statement of fact (for that’s what is) and that would say something about the listener as well. Yep, I think our interpretation has everything to do with our own condition, and maybe God likes it that way, for He is most notable for His restraint, after all.

    At least, that’s how it seems to me…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Little Monk

    January 15, 2015 at 8:24 AM

    I absolutely agree, Don! Yes…

    You said: “I suspect that what we discern in His statement will differ based upon where we are when we hear it.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    What amazed me, though, regardless of how we hear it, was the fact that God says that second part at ALL! And that almost always, when He adds any “qualifying phrase” to His statements of self-identification (“I am the Lord your God…”)… the qualifier is always something tremendous He does/has done in caring for His children. Some of the phrases are: “who will lead you into the land I will give you”, “who protects/delivers you from…”, and so on.

    I think my favorite statement, though it is third person, is this one that sort of sums things up, from Joel 2:26:

    “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame.”

    This, for me, has become God’s ultimate statement of authority over me/my life.

    Why does any of this matter? Because I’ve been dealing lately (as do you) with questions that involve “authority”… Pastor/Church, Manager/Staff, Mentor/Learner, Parent/Child… etc. etc… issues we commonly deal with on a daily basis, and this realization about God has led me to the conclusion that:

    “Godly authority extends only within a relationship of caring and commitment to the wholeness of the other. To extend power over the will of another without a legitimate relationship of commitment and caring is simply tyranny… to exploit the other in service of one’s own pride, ego, and/or agenda.”

    This ponder is still very much a work in progress… Comments, and disagreement, more than welcome. No claims to omniscience here!

    Grace — LM



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