Are you a parent? Were you a parent? Or… do you remember your own parents? Imagine, if you will…
- You tell your child to do something or other that they don’t particularly want to do.
- They (predictably) ask, in a whiny voice, “But… but… WHY?”
- 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