Remember how they taught us God didn't have favorites, that He loved us all the same if only we would let Him. This is essence of many of my questions about God. I have been studying with Rabbi Yehoshua, the story of the Israelites and their deliverance from slavery to the Egyptian people, the way that God showed His glory and power to the nations by rescuing His chosen people out of captivity through a series of supernatural experiences that made Him known to the world as the greatest and only God of the Universe. It's a really powerful story and quite compelling from a Jewish and Christian perspective, they are rescued by their God and He smite their enemies with so much power and overt strength, that if you’re on Israelites side you might just get swept right up into the celebration of it all and find yourself cheering for the winning team because it’s winning.
I wonder how an Egyptian might read this very same story. If I were on the other side would I want to follow this God who used me as a pawn in his PR scheme to make His name known in the nations? What if my son died because I wasn’t born a Jew and didn’t know I needed to paint blood on my doorpost to protect my child? What if I was Pharaoh and my free will was taken from me so I was forced to rebel against God and yet still not spared the repercussions of a decision I made once but was forced to make over and over? What if I had frogs covering every inch of my house - a little less dramatic, but still totally outrageous? Or I don't know maybe the locust are worse.
The Hebrew people didn’t get to choose their Jewishness any more than Egyptians their lack of it. Yet somehow by the grace of genetics people are born into a huge advantage based on their heritage that affects not only their lives here but their afterlife as well. God said things like, “Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy them…as the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deut 21:16-17) or “I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (Ex 18:14). Then we contrast that to things we say to each other in Christian circles as encouragement like, God knit you together in your mother’s womb, He knows every hair on your head, He loves you as you and you can come as you are, how He love us oooh how He loves us…unless he didn’t choose you – no wait, not that last part.
I can wrap my mind around disadvantages when it’s chalked up to the fall and genetic's unfair dealings. But God said he makes the blind, He possibly makes women secondary, He potentially made people inclined to homosexuality therefore never condoning their companionship of marriage, God chose the Jews and not the Egyptians, He creates with partiality and we’re at the mercy of the luck of the draw, or some vague information about belief, or worse we’re at the mercy of a God who chose and there is nothing we can do to change it.
What I want is for us all to have been created like a blank slate and we all have the opportunity to choose Him. I want Him to show himself so we’re not all guessing, just a little peak from the clouds and then we get to choose, choose if we want to commit to him and embrace the limitations of the law and work towards playing a part in redeeming the world, or not. Or maybe if faith and struggling to believe is good for us fine, but at least don’t damn us to hell for picking the wrong faith based off very confusing and dubious information. But then what if I’m an Egyptian and not a Jew, what if I’ll never get the chance to understand fully and it’s just my bad luck, or worse, I just didn’t get picked for the team.
Oh Lord, have mercy on me.
*Please note: with request for your grace I write this with all the humility I posses, trying desperately to the tread the line between a profound respect for God's imminent power and goodness, while asking the questions I find ever present and so often silenced.