Lately, around our church, there have been some “discussions” about the doctrine of election. Those who have the hardest time with the biblical teaching of the doctrine (that God sovereignly and unconditionally chooses those to whom He will grant salvation) seem to fall back on the argument of “but that’s not fair!”
The argument is a relatively simple one: if God chooses some to be saved and passes over others, that is not fair to those who have been passed over. Those who object on this grounds of “fairness” believe that God should be an equal opportunity provider (or savior) and make salvation open to everyone, not just give it to a select few.
There are several problems, biblically, with this argument. Today, I just want to focus on one. Let’s talk about God and “fairness.” We’ll start our conversation with a story.
The Life of a Prophet
Along time ago, there was a godly man named Ezekiel. Ezekiel was an Israelite living in exile in the land of Babylon. While there, God called him into service as a prophet.
Sounds like a good gig, right? Get to have an intimate relationship with God, He lets you in on all of the details of His plan, and you get to be His mouth piece to speak to His people. If you think Ezekiel had it good, then you haven’t read the book.
First, God tells Ezekiel that He’s going to make him mute:
And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house (Ezekiel 3:26-27).
God tells Ezekiel that the only time he can talk is when God gives him a prophecy to share with the people.
Can you imagine what that must have been like for Ezekiel in his daily life? No “I love you” to the wife. No “You gave me the wrong change” at the market. No “Hey, you guys catch the chariot races?” to the fellas. No personal, verbal communication whatsoever! And this didn’t just last a week. It didn’t change for Ezekiel until years later (see Ezekiel 24:27). How unfair!
But wait, there’s more!
In chapter 4, God tells Ezekiel to put on a little play for the exiled people of Israel. God tells him to recreate His judgment against both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah by suffering a “personal siege” for them. What does this look like? It has several staggering components, but let me just run down a few for you:
- Ezekiel needs to bind himself and lay upon his left side for 390 days! (Yes, for more than a year!) He does this to present a visual of God’s judgment upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
- Then, God tells him to do it again, however this time Ezekiel must lay on his right side and do so for 40 days. This pictures the judgment upon the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
- Also, during this time he needs to eat the same putrid food and water those in a siege would eat and drink. This includes God given orders to cook his food over on an open fire fueled by human feces! Here Ezekiel graciously objects and God allows him to cook his food instead with heat provided by cow dung (how appetizing!).
Could you imagine that being your regular practice for over a year?! And Ezekiel is doing it simply because God told him too.
However, here’s the clincher for me. Here’s where I’d be tempted to say, “Go find somebody else, God!” Read the rest of this entry »