When I was writing Love’s Playbook 5 I realized something I had read many times and missed. Exodus12:23. In my New English Bible it reads, “The Lord…will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.” It’s noteworthy because it’s part of this week’s reading in the year-plan to read through the Bible. It was translated differently in the New Living Translation we’re using. It’s the story of the Passover, and instead of “Destroyer” it says “God’s death angel.” I think that is unfortunate! It ignores other scriptures that clearly allude to Satan as the destroyer.
Isaiah 33, verse one says, “Ah! you destroyer, yourself undestroyed, betrayer still unbetrayed, when you cease to destroy you will be destroyed…” And it jumps to the Lord’s protection in verse 2, “O Lord, show us thy favor; we hope in thee. Uphold us every morning, save us when troubles come.”
Isaiah 10:20 is even more pointed, “On that day…Israel…shall cease to lean on him that proved their destroyer, but shall loyally lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Two different beings are depicted! God is not the Destroyer!
If you want a New Testament reference, check Hebrews 2:14 that shows Satan has been given the power over death for now, “The children of a family share the same flesh and blood; and so he too shared ours, so that through death he might break the power of him who had death at his command, that is the devil…” That says that Adonai had to come here, and as Jesus go through death, so he could take back the power of death from Satan who claimed it because he got Eve and Adam to choose his way.
This is why Satan argued with Michael (Adonai in angel form) over Moses body–he claimed Moses because he had sinned in God’s employ and in death belonged to him. God hadn’t yet raised any human from the dead! Satan thought he had Moses locked away; did Michael ever surprise him! He essentially says, “Remember who you are speaking to and step aside Satan!” And then he raises Moses back to life and takes him to heaven!
Is this important? It is to me. I don’t want my loving God to be the Destroyer. It’s hard enough to understand that They have to protect us from Their pure energy, because our unbalanced atoms in broken dying bodies would be consumed in an instant in Their presence. They are good at protecting us, even though it’s hard for them to have to keep Their distance. It’s also hard for us not to be able to see Them. That is another reason Adonai came as Jesus–so we could see God with skin on Him.
The whole Old Testament is the story of God trying to be close to us without killing us. The Hebrews became scared of God because they knew this. But Abraham wasn’t afraid of Adonai. Guilt, from Jacob through Moses, seems to have mixed it all up that God destroys as the Destroyer. They didn’t know much about Satan except as a serpent. God was letting him stay incognito, pretending to be working for the good of the universe. So since They had created Lucifer and freedom, They took responsibility. This is the short version explaining why so many Old Testament writers didn’t have a clear picture of God themselves, and it affects the way they write. It also affects the way we read, and our picture of God. That is why uncovering the war that was going on when we were created is so important. I made it the first book in my series of the Bible as the story of an all-good God. Well, actually, God did. It was Their idea.
This morning I learned that my good friend’s cancer has just been upgraded from stage two to stage four. So yes, today it’s very important to know that God is all good and definitely not the destroyer! God sets boundaries for him.