Godfather of Reno Casinos or Father God?
Sometimes a phrase I read or something that someone says jumps out at me, I expect it’s just the same for you. I had one of those moments a few weeks ago. I was reading something posted on the web by an internationally-known Bible teacher and could not believe my eyes.
As with a lot of my recent thinking I asked the question, “what does that say about the character of God?”
What did I read that caused me to be so shocked? It was the following: Every throw of the dice in Reno1 is governed by God (Proverbs 16:33). How much more the details of his children’s life.”
In case of doubt, apart from the italic type, I have copied and pasted the phrase as it was posted. The NIV translates the verse (Proverbs 16:33) as: The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.
What the writer of the proverb was referring to was a specific way of seeking the Lord’s will. The Bible records several examples of “lots being cast”. The Urim and Thummim were God’s way of providing judgement and decisions for Israel, to move the meaning of Proverbs16:33 from this to throwing dice in Reno is misuse of the text in the extreme.
Before anyone suggests otherwise, I want to assert that I believe in a God who is intensely concerned about the lives of His children, who does intervene in the world and has done so supremely in the person of Jesus Christ. And actually that is the point. Hebrews 1v2 & says “…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…” (NIV)
If I want to know what God is like, I go to Jesus as seen in the Gospels. In Him I have a clear picture of how God behaves towards the sick, the bereaved, cheats, prostitutes, worried parents, the hungry and so the list could go on.
So what am I to conclude from the post I mentioned? The picture is of God presiding over a gambling table watching to see who has placed which bets and deciding who wins and who loses, which lost souls are so depressed at the result of what they have done they commit suicide! He decides which marriages are wrecked because of the results of gambling addiction etc. etc. that (and much more) is the clear implication of the first part of the post.
Where is the God we see in Jesus, with love, healing and encouragement to take personal responsibility for our actions?
The good news of the Gospel is that because of Jesus, God can and will forgive those that call out to Him and every one of us needs to do that. He will also give us His Holy Spirit so that we can live life in his world his way. Without his strength we can’t do it
God is good and wants to be a loving Father if we will draw near. He is not a self-interested, self-seeking godfather of a casino.
1 (note for those outside the USA) Reno is a an American city in Nevada famous for its Casinos
This blog was orginally posted in May 2011 and is reposted as part of rebuilding the TMW blog archive.