Is God a constant force for the good, always urging God’s people to do what is best in any circumstance? Or does God have a master plan, to which God adheres, sometimes confusing God’s people? Consider YHWH’s reaction to the Israelites making golden calves to worship while Moses was up receiving the law.
“I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?”
Remember, this would not be the first time God started over. Abram’s father was actually supposed to go to the promise land, but got distracted. And what happened to Joseph? It looked like he was going to be the one, for a while. Now God has shifted over to these Levites, Moses and Aaron. Most importantly, Moses convinced God not to destroy the people of Israel.
In Matthew, we have some of the most agonizing and poignant passages for me. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. The failure to keep watch with Jesus. Peter’s denial. More that the violent crucifixion, I empathize with Christ’s suffering in these instances. But if these things were “necessary” then why should we have any anomosity toward Judas, James, John and Peter? I think the reason that these scenes are so tragic is that they absolutely could have done something different. Peter could have been executed along side Jesus. Judas could have remained true. Dare I suggest that perhaps it would have been better if Jesus, like Buddha and Mohammed had lived until old age.