When God Goes Missing

Do you ever feel as though there are things God doesn’t see?  If my actions are any indication, I must.  Sometimes I feel as though injustices happen and God just misses or seems to ignore it.  Those are the times I want to (and too often do) call “foul!” really loudly so someone will see how badly I’ve been treated and give me an emotional band-aid.  Other times, it seems like God lets good deeds go unnoticed, too.  Those are the times I want to toot my own horn so at least somebody might appreciate my greatness.

That’s all pride, by the way.  Couldn’t tell, could you?  So, what do I do about that?  Is it true?  Does God check out every so often?  Does he let injustice go unpunished?  Does he fail to reward when we’re faithful?  Well, though it might seem like it, it doesn’t happen if His Self-revelation in Scripture is to be believed.

When God led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, for example, they faced many trials of various kinds.  Not only were their own selfish ways a slow ticket through a relatively small wilderness, there were many outsiders who mistreated them, attacked them and blocked their way.  By the same token, there were those who treated them with kindness.  Is there mention of what God did to those groups?  Sometimes.  Other times it seems as though God let His people be defeated (usually with really good cause!) and did nothing to punish the nations that did the defeating.  Where was the justice for those who stood against God’s people?  Where were the “‘Atta boys” for those who were kind?  It seems like God failed to take notice…or did He?

Consider 1 Samuel 15: 1-7:

1 And Samuel said to Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord.2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt.3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.

4 So Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah.5 And Saul came to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley.6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, Go, depart; go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt.

How about that?  God instructed Saul, the first king of Israel, to defeat the Amalekites.  Why?  Because they had opposed the Israelites some 400 or so years earlier (depending on how you date the Exodus)!  Then the Kenites were warned to clear out because God had taken note of their good treatment towards the Israelite.  Atta boy!

God does take notice.  Rest in that.  When you are mistreated, God knows it.  When you do well, God knows it.  He will not let any good deed, done in His name and for His glory, go unrewarded or injustice go unpunished.  It’s His nature.  But we should also be warned: When we are the ones guilty of the injustice (even when nobody else knows it), God takes notice.  What a sobering thought!

So, when I feel the need to toot my own horn or defend my own interests or “good name”, I remember that the battle is the Lord’s.  When I try to get away with something, looking pious but acting deviously, I may get away with it with others, but I will never fool the only One who counts.

I am encouraged, then, to live with authenticity, patience, and peace.  God is the God who sees…and He is the God who acts in His own, good and perfect time.