Have you noticed how often God appears to be a God of apparent contradictions?
Think about it . . .
- He is Yahweh, the God of the universe who is the self-sufficient “I AM” (Genesis 3:14). Yet He revealed this name to Moses for the purpose of relationship with His flawed people (Genesis 3:15).
- He is just (Isaiah 30:18). And He is merciful (Luke 6:36).
- He is Adonai, our Lord and Master worthy of our worship (Deuteronomy 9:26).Yet He came to earth as the Suffering Servant (John 13:14).
- He is Yahweh Shalom, the Lord is Peace (Judges 6:24). Yet He is also the One who said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).
Life also seems to be filled with contradictions. We see it in disagreements over the simplest facts, such as whether face masks are helpful in this pandemic or whether a particular medication is an effective treatment for COVID-19.
But we also see apparent contradictions in our spiritual life, too.
- When we are weak, then we are strong (II Corinthians 12:10).
- We think we’re forgiving others as an act of charity. But the biggest beneficiary of our forgiveness is us (I Peter 3:9)!
- We lose our life in sacrificial living, only to gain it for eternity (Luke 9:24).
- We give to bless others. But we receive the blessing (Acts 20:35).
- And finally, if we want to be first, we must be last and the servant of all (Mark 9:35).
What do all these apparent contradictions reveal? First, they show us that things aren’t always as they might appear.
Second, even if something is most definitely a contradiction to us, that still isn’t the final word. What appears to be irreconcilable to us may merely reveal the limits of our finite thinking.
So the next time an apparent contradiction catches your attention, especially in the biblical realm, rejoice that our assessments in this world are not as accurate or complete as we think. Then praise the One who is not constrained by our finite capabilities!