The greatest heroes in The Bible faced long periods of wrestling with God with significant offense to overcome. Noah, Joseph, David, Moses all had God requiring them to wait long periods of time, often with ridicule, before God vindicated them. As we examine the Bible, God allows His followers to be offended. These accounts also show real, human response to offense and we can learn from them. The faithful accept the challenge and press ahead (Noah, Daniel, Joseph) but they also, being human, struggle.
Examples of Biblical Characters being offended by God:
1. God asks Adam why he disobeyed. Adam blames God for “That woman you gave me,” causing him to sin (Gen. 3).
2. God doesn’t accept or receive Cain’s sacrifice. Cain is angry with God for not taking his sacrifice. He kills Abel.
3. Noah is ridiculed for many years after God tells him to build a gigantic boat on dry land.
4. God tells Abraham that he will be the father of nations (That is also what his name means). He must wait until he is 100 and his wife is 90 for the son that he was promised.
5. Joseph refuses to sleep with the wife of his boss. Jilted and angry, Potiphar’s wife accuses him of attempted rape and Joseph is sent to prison for years.
6. Moses reluctantly agrees to go back to Egypt and speak to Pharaoh. Pharaoh increases the work on the Israelite slaves so that they are beaten. Their lives now more difficult than before, his own people curse Moses for doing what God told him (Exodus 5).
7. Job suffers, unknowingly participating in God’s bet with Satan that Job will not curse God if his blessings are removed.
8. Daniel thrown in lion’s den while in his 80’s.
9. David anointed to be King, runs from Saul for 10+ years. Rejected, betrayed, sleeps in caves (1 Sam. 19-30).
10. The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Greetings favored one!” Joseph wants out of the relationship. They both must receive the stares and shaming from family, friends and relatives.
11. John the Baptist, Jesus cousin, dies an ignoble death in prison. (Matt. 11:4-6).
a. Jesus’ states his mission is to “proclaim liberty to captives,” (Luke 4:18). But he leaves this sentence out when answering John (Matt 11:4-6)
b. Jesus tells us to visit prisoners but we have no record of him visiting John (Matt. 25:39-40).
c. Knowing our tendency to get offended, he says, “Blessed is he who is not offended by me.” (Matt. 11:6)
12. Jesus heals on the Sabbath knowing it will offend the religious leaders (Mark 3:1-6).
13. Jesus calls a foreign woman a dog. She overcomes the offense, comes after him and receives a miracle (Mark. 7:24-30).
14. Jesus ruins the economics of an area when 2,000 pigs are drowned (Mark 5:1-20). He is asked to leave.
15. Jesus is often frustrated with people and tells them, i.e. “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me” (Mark 9:19).
16. Jesus curses fig tree when it was not the season for figs (Mark 11:12-14).
17. Jesus tells observant Jews they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. “This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?” “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” (John 6:52-66).
18. Because of his trust in His Father, Jesus allowed himself to be offended, betrayed, rejected, humiliated and tortured to death.
19. Jesus expects that he will make us stumble and be broken. “But he looked directly at them and said, ‘What then is this that is written: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him’” (Luke 20:17-18).
These Biblical accounts show that much can be learned as they and we walk through the struggles of offense. In the midst of offense, we can wallow in self-pity or trust in our Lord God to make it right in His time, however long it takes. Remember, we are not looking for God to prove His love through our circumstances, the Cross of Christ proved God’s love. It may not seem fair, but there is purpose, His purpose in allowing offense. We’ve died to ourselves, our life is now lived with and for God. (Galatians 2:20) We may grieve our loss, but we don’t cry for ourselves, but for those who hurt us who don’t know how to love. Nothing demonstrates that we’re not dead to ourselves like offenses. Wrestle with offense, placing it at the feet of God. Ask Him for wisdom. He may require you to wait. In the meantime, practice praising and thanking God for what you do have and not focusing on the loss. But let Him vindicate you, waiting for His miracle, His work as you press forward in faith, trusting. For God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
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