My God can be terrifying God from the perspective of being one of his people.
Here Moses describes how will root out the stronger people in the land and put in the weaker Israelites, making them strong. But if they don’t obey him, the same fate awaits them.
God is a gardener. We don’t hesitate to pull out annuals that have done flowering. Some plants we feed, others we prune, some we remove. The gardener knows that is best for the garden. The gardener’s plans are for the garden to thrive and survive and for it to be something the current garden can’t imagine being.
We didn’t actually make the plants in our garden, or the dirt or the sun or the water. Yet we are the masters of its fate. But God made us and our world.
Contemplating the idea that you are a creation is a shocking idea if you are used to the idea that you are god of yourself. But God has completly the right to act that way.
The process of taking the holy land is often understandably disparaged as racial cleansing. But God makes it clear here that it is not because of racial superiority that he chose the Israelites. It’s because of his plans, not their worth.
I’m not a Jew, but I believe Jesus, who was, was also God and died for me. This is part of the story of God’s love for all mankind. It’s not racial.
He knew the number of hairs on the head of every one of the “ites” who were already in Canaan. He formed them, knew them and loved them in the womb. Like plants in a garden, they will all eventually die, but that does not mean they are not known and loved. We love and enjoy our plants, but we didn’t make them. How much more would we if we had.
The people he desired to make way for the Israelites are in his hands. The God I see here, the one I was inspired by the last chapter to love with all my heart, is an all mighty, all powerful God of love and kindness.