Rev. Fred Gilley
Our youngest grandson, Thomas Gustsav Gilley, asks occasionally “Say again,” to get a statement or question repeated. The Michigan sixth grader’s voice inflection can sound like a statement or a question.
We need to use “Say again, Lord” to clarify messages we think we hear God speaking. I become rather wary when I hear, “God told me… .” Ditto for similar, deity buddy statements.
In my opinion, Samuel (Israel’s judge and seer) should have asked God to “say again” when he thought he heard instructions to King Saul (First Samuel 15::3ff): “Now go and smite Am’-a-lek…destroy all that they have…spare them not…slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and…[donkey]”. The God I think I know somewhat could not give such instructions to Samuel, Saul, or us.
Self-limitation prevents the New Testament God from feeling hate or expressing hatred. The God revealed by Jesus is more likely to approve of Jesus’ reinterpretation of “an eye for an eye” (Matthew 5:44), “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you… .” (King James Version)
I suspect the Lord was misunderstood by the late mid-western “Baptist” pastor and congregation, who interrupted military funerals to make anti-homosexual statements. Their God may “hate fags,” but my God is more likely to disapprove the pretenses of religion, especially misguided interpretations and practices. In my opinion, that pastor and congregation needed to ask God to “say again.”
During the Mumbai, India, hotel and other massacres, according to a recording I found accidentally and could not find again, at least one militant Islamic killer had second thoughts on or after November 26, 2008. His handler(s) had to persuade, urge, and reassure him the killing was pleasing to God. The recording sounded as if the Muslim militant from Pakistani was asking God to say again. His handler should have developed a similar consciousness.
ISIS and related groups of Islamic militants, apparently, are convinced they are obeying God with brutality to, and beheadings of, Christians and other non-believers. My knowledge of Islamic scripture is severely limited, but I cannot imagine the “bible” of a major world religion approving or even condoning such practices that are committed in Allah’s name. To quote from Christian scripture (Acts 17:24-26), “God… hath made of one blood all nations… .” (KJV)
We are inclined too much to hearing God say what we want, even expect, God to say. Confirmation often is our only goal. Approval becomes more important than truth or direction.
We also do a good job of stringing a marionette God, to make certain God responds just the way we want God to respond. When we think, say, or feel convinced that our thoughts, our understanding, and our pronouncements are so right, perhaps we need to ask God to “say again.”