Before I even start to talk about what God can’t do, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Steve is wrong- there is nothing that God cannot do!”
But there is something God cannot do- he cannot sin. And to refuse to act as he said he would regarding someone rejecting his commandments would be a sin.
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I am reading in Numbers and have just this morning read Chapter 18, which is where God tells Aaron that he and his sons are responsible to make sure that the Levites do their job, and all the Levites are to make sure no one who is not authorized to come to the Sanctuary approaches it. God says this is to ensure that no one dies.
After the death of Aaron’s sons, God told Moses that the Levites are not to drink intoxicating liquids before serving him, so that they don’t die.
God told Moses to place barriers around the base of the mountain (Mt. Horeb) when he went up to receive the commandments from God to make sure no one approaches the mountain so that they don’t die.
After the man was stoned to death for collecting wood on the Shabbat, God said to make and wear tzitzit on their clothing to remind them of God’s laws, so that they don’t die.
Can you see what God is doing? He knows that despite the outcome of disobeying his commandments, we will do just that. And because he doesn’t really want to punish us but MUST punish us if we violate his rules, because he cannot sin, he goes out of his way to help protect us from ourselves!
In Ezekiel 18 God tells us he is not happy with anyone’s death and prefers that we all live, but the only way that can happen is to obey him. He will stick like glue to his covenants, so much so that even after we break the covenant, which we have done too many times to count, he will still keep his side of it.
But we won’t go unpunished. We have to be punished- God MUST punish the unrepentant sinner, and that is because God cannot sin. He cannot go against his own rules.
Of course, he could if he really wanted to. I mean, who can hold God accountable? You? Me? No one can make God do what he doesn’t want to do, or not do anything he wants to. No one, that is, except God, and he DOES hold himself accountable.
When we read the parts of the Bible where God is telling Moses how the people are to act and what they should do, it is always with the idea that when they are punished for violation of God’s rules, it is not God doing it to them so much as them doing it to themselves.
You see, God sets the rules: he tells us how we are to worship him and how we are to treat each other. He also tells us the blessings we receive for obedience and the curses we suffer for disobedience. God sends the blessings, but we call the curses on ourselves! God doesn’t really do anything bad to us: the truth is, the bad is already here, and when we reject God’s good all that is left for us is the world’s bad.
Because God cannot sin, he cannot allow any unrepentant sinner to go unpunished; God must punish the unrepentant sinner who rejects him and his Messiah because he said that is what will happen and not doing as he said he would do is a sin.
If we cannot trust God to punish the sinful, we cannot trust him to reward the righteous.
Before we end this today, I am going to change one thing I said earlier: I said we cannot hold God accountable, i.e. we cannot tell God what he must do, but I am now going to say there is one thing we can force God to do… we can force him to punish us. All we need to do is violate any of his laws, and because he must do as he said he would do, we can force God to do what we want.
Although for the life of me, I can’t think of a good reason anyone would want to do that.
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Until next time, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!