I have been slowly (very slowly) working my way through the book of Revelation in the Bible. Today I read a very interesting passage:
Then I saw in heaven another marvelous event of great significance. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion…Then one of the four living beings handed each of the seven angels a gold bowl filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. The Temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and power. No one could enter the Temple until the seven angels had completed pouring out the seven plagues.
Revelation 15:1,7-8 (NLT)
“No one could enter the Temple until the seven angels had completed pouring out the seven plagues.” We like to read these passages and think about the cruel and ruthless wrath of God. This passage is changing my mind a lot about that perception. I think that God shuts himself in the Temple because of the pain, the rejection, the suffering that He knows could have been avoided if only those who have not repented would repent. I think that at this time God is in His Temple weeping, bitterly over the inevitable loss. Sure He could fix it in an instant. Just make all humans robots. MAKE us love Him. But how much deeper a love that is chosen than a love that is forced.
I was told about a Hasidic story related to the day of Exodus when the Israelites were delivered from the Egyptians.
“What is the most joyful moment in the Torah? It might very well be the moment when the Jews made it across the Red Sea, only moments ahead of Pharaoh’s soldiers. Just then, the great walls of water that had arisen to divide the sea collapsed, swirling Pharaoh’s army to its doom. The Jews were safe! They were free! They sang their joy and thanks to HaShem. Even the angels in heaven sang in joy.
“But the rabbis of old tell us that HaShem spoke sharply to the angels: ‘No! Do not sing thus.’
“Astonished, the angels replied, ‘But are your children not free and safe?’ “HaShem said, ‘And those drowned soldiers? Are they not also my children?’ And the angels wept.
The Fire of Joy by Doug Lipman
I maybe wrong, but I believe that a God of love is consistent with His love…even to the very end.