Obligated

Read: Exodus 2:11-3:22, Matthew 17:10-27, Psalm 22:1-18, Proverbs 5:7-14

He looked down on the people of Israel and acknowledged his obligation to help them.
(Exodus 2:25)

Relate: Every year, there are six Nobel Prizes awarded. Well, technically there are five. The prize in economics isn’t technically a Nobel Prize but rather an attachment started in the late 60’s. In all, since its founding, there have been 603 Nobel prizes awarded. 114 in physics, 112 in chemistry, 111 in medicine, 113 in literature, 101 in peace, and 52 in economics. When you consider that often two or three people share in the award, there are actually 962 Nobel Laureates. When you take away the peace and literature prizes which often have more to do with politics than intelligence, those numbers are 389 and 710. That is more than seven hundred people winning nearly four hundred science-based awards. Of those, three Muslims have won an award. That is 0.4% or 1 in every 237 people. Considering Islam is nearly one-fourth of the global population, that number is extremely low.

I remember having a conversation with a couple other teachers about our third grade ESL classes. Our focus words were why/because, if/then, and cause/effect and we were in an elevator casually brainstorming activities we could do around this unit. In the elevator with us was the high school religion teacher. He was holding his tongue, but I could tell that he didn’t like the direction of our conversation and was resisting the urge to speak up. Why? Because in Islam, God is the ultimate cause of everything. Cause and effect do not exist outside of Him.

To quote a Muslim: “We firmly believe that Allah is the one who is creating the causes and producing the effects, and if it was not for the act of Allah there can be no causes or effects… What is reflected in nature as ‘laws’ or ‘constants of nature’, such as the constants of gravity and electromagnetic forces, etc. are only manifestations of a very high level of consistency in Allah’s act of creating causes and effects.” 

Or another Muslim: “The notion that causes independently create their effects is absurd as it contradicts divine oneness in action, allowing for a co-sharer with the Divine in producing something in the world… It would also affirm ‘need’ for the Divine, Who needs nothing. Allah differs from His creation, and hence acts without intermediary and without aid. Only created things need intermediaries, while Allah has no need whatsoever. The world at every moment is a direct creation of Allah.”

The idea of cause and effect is part of a Judeo-Christian worldview but not a Muslim one. That is the cause. The effect? Only three science-based Muslim Nobel Laureates in a hundred and twenty years. A person can be a good scientist or a good Muslim but not both. Even though there are many, many incredibly intelligent people in the Muslim world, they are living within a society where the religion teachers don’t even want third graders in the best of their schools to learn about cause and effect. 

React: When I was reading through today’s daily Bible scripture, my mind stopped at the last verse in Exodus 2. In my mind, I heard Muslim apologist, Ali Dawah’s voice saying, “God isn’t obligated to do anyone for anything. And we’re proud of that.” In case you have no idea who he is, here’s a little musical remix of “And we’re proud of that.” 

True, in this clip he is actually talking about how all apostates (ex Muslims) should be killed, but he has multiple times taken the idea of the power and sovereignty of God to Muslim’s illogical extremity I was talking about above. While most Muslims try to downplay the Quran’s hostility to scientific reasoning, he is not ashamed. 

But as a Christian, does the idea that God is “obligated” to anyone for anything not negate His sovereignty? Does God’s faithfulness and truth come into conflict with His sovereignty? Can God do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, with no regard to His nature or to previous declarations like Islam would have us believe? Thank God that the answer is a real big “no” to all the above questions. The same God who remembered His promises to Abraham and delivered His people at just the right time also remembers His promises to us and will deliver us at just the right time. The same God whose love “obligated” the rescue of Israel from Egypt was also obligated out of love to walk the Via Dolorosa. His love compelled Him to the cross and as a result, we can be free. And if we are God’s followers, then His love obligates us to deny ourselves and take up our cross as well. Where will it take you?

Respond: 
Dear God,
Thank You for the love that obligates You to rescue and redeem. Thank You for allowing me to step in as a beneficiary of that obligation. Your faithfulness and Your truth enable me to understand and learn of the world around me. But even greater than this, Your faithfulness and truth help me to rest in the confidence that “He who the Son sets free is free indeed!” 
Amen

 

The River Walk is a devotional created by Two Rivers Church. To visit or to watch a message online, please click here
To read previous devotionals taken from the January 26th The River Walk devotionals click below:

From A Mustard Seed

Calling Again

2 thoughts on “Obligated

  1. Pingback: Obligated | Talmidimblogging

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