The Irony of God

Irony often pertains to a sense of humor, but often it’s deadly serious. So it is with God. Read on.

When the spies returned and gave their cowardly report to Israel about the strength of their enemies, everyone cried out against Moses and God. They said they would all die if they invaded the promised land, and their children would become “plunder” (Num.14:1-3). God was listening!

They forgot God’s constant care over their 40-year desert journey and convinced themselves that all was lost. They let their human hearts deceive them. We’re told in Jeremiah 17:9-10 that “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” God warned in Proverbs 4:23 that each of us needs to “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life.” The human heart can be a wonderful thing, but we can let it become sour and corrupt.

This is where God’s irony comes in. When our hearts lead us away, God may well deal with us in surprising ways. Israel cried out that their children would become plunder in the promised land. God replied, “Your little ones who you said would become a prey…shall enter there, and I will give it to them, and they shall possess it” (Deut.1:39). God always judges righteously, and with surprising effects.

Back in Jeremiah’s passage, God continued, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”

Guard your heart and keep it pure, for God searches what’s inside and deals with us appropriately. Israel didn’t, and suffered His precise and ironic judgment. Let that never happen to you.

– Tim Johnson