Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Above My Pay Grade

“That’s above my pay grade”, a former senator named Barack Obama famously said.

It was 2008 and the abortion issue was being discussed. Obama had been asked the question “At what point does a baby get human rights?”

His response indicated, at very least, an aversion to being pinned down on the subject and a desire to avoid conflict over the issue as he campaigned to be President of the United States of America. There were ‘larger issues’ at stake, he undoubtedly thought. He was prepared to let evil slide for the sake of what he perceived to be the ‘greater good’, which presumably includes his current presidency.

God has been accused of letting evil slide too: “Why do you idly look at traitors?” the prophet Habakkuk asked him. The poor man was genuinely perplexed. He knew the character of the God he served, and to him the idea of a holy God giving evil a pass was intolerable.
“You … are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13)
Was Habakkuk right or wrong in his assessment of God’s character? Does God really let evil slide? In what sense is God “of purer eyes” than to see it?

Does it mean he is oblivious to — or worse, deliberately unaware of — what goes on in the world?

As the President himself is fond of saying, let me be clear here: When the prophet says God is of purer eyes than to see evil, and that God cannot look at wrong, it would be a mistake to understand from this that God’s purity and holiness make him so distant from mankind that he is unaware of our sins. Scripture makes that abundantly clear: “The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man … all the inhabitants of the earth … observes all their deeds.” He is referred to as “he who searches hearts”. As our creator, his knowledge of man is levels below atomic, including everything we do, say and think.

God sees evil — he beholds iniquity — all the time, doesn’t he? It cannot be avoided. An omniscient God and omnipresent sin leads to the inevitable conclusion of the knowledge of sin on God’s part. Indeed, he could not be God, in the limited way we can comprehend the term, if he were not completely aware of every violation of his laws and precepts at every moment in human history.

He most definitely beholds iniquity in that sense. He sees evil more accurately, more completely and in more excruciating detail than anyone can ever imagine.

So what does Habakkuk’s statement mean then?

It means that God, unlike the president, cannot allow iniquity to stand without intervention. God cannot see sin and take a neutral position as we would: “Oh, that’s just his business. That’s between two consenting adults. That’s above my pay grade.”

Nothing is ‘above’ God’s pay grade. And we can be certain that because he is pure, those who insist on thumbing their noses at our heavenly Father are storing up for themselves judgment to come.

Whether or not President Obama is prepared to give them a pass.

1 comment :

  1. Isaiah 30:13 - Therefore this iniquity will be to you Like a breach about to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant,

    Judgment is stored up - it's unobserved, undetected but it is there building and building to the eventual breaking point. "As in the days of Noah" indeed.