God lets us get burned.

JUDGES 3

What would happen if you went in your kitchen right now, turned on the stovetop, and put your hand on the burner? You’d burn your hand, of course. And how do you know you’d burn your hand if you touched a hot stove? Probably because you or someone you know has had just such an unpleasant experience in the past. And that’s how we learn that touching a hot stove is dangerous and can harm us.

Judges 3 describes a God who neither stops His children from touching the hot stove nor keeps them from getting burned when they do: "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them... Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years." (vs 7-9, 12-14)

Photo © Unsplash/Denys Argyriou

Photo © Unsplash/Denys Argyriou

God had warned the Israelites about serving false gods. Idolatry is destructive. It’s not  destructive because God is jealous and wants to hoard the honor and glory for Himself. It is destructive because worshipping something other than our Creator will ultimately dismantle our reason, undoing us from the inside out. Thus, when the Israelites put themselves into the hands of other gods, God let them experience the consequences of that. He gave them up to the false gods, and they found out (time and time again) that the result was hardship and
heartache.

When we choose something dangerous in our lives, God doesn’t ignore it; nor does He supernaturally dissolve the consequences. Instead, He lets us get burned. He deals in reality, and He wants to help us learn to deal in reality also. And one of the best ways He does that is by letting us experience the painful consequences of our choices. If we’re hell-bent on touching the hot stove, He’ll let it burn us.

Photo © Unsplash/Gaurav Joshi

Photo © Unsplash/Gaurav Joshi