Why does Elohim/God allow “bad” things to happen to “good” people?

Deuteronomy 8:2–3, 6ff, YHVH afflicted/humbled you. Does the concept of YHVH afflicting his people bother you? Perhaps he will do this to us if and when we need it. The word afflict/anah (Strong’s H6031) literally means “to become low, depressed, put down or stoop.” (Note some other places where anah is used: Pss 55:19; 88:7; 90:15; 119:71, 75.) Scripture says that Israel exited Egypt with “a high hand/upraised arm” (Exod 14:8 and Num 33:3). The word high/upraised can connote haughtiness or arrogance, or it can mean that the children left Egypt triumphantly and in jubilation waving banners (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 369). What do you think? Did they leave Egypt in a spirit of contrition or arrogance? If the latter, then perhaps, in YHVH’s eyes, they need some humbling. 

Are we any different? Do we need to be humbled? Down through the ages, YHVH has allowed his servants to suffer, but it was for their spiritual growth and benefit. What did Paul say about his thorn in the flesh? (See 2 Cor 12:7.) Why did Job experience what he did? (Read Job 42.) The process of humbling us so that we might have a higher view of YHVH, and a lower view of ourselves is not a bad thing!When we become contrite and humble before YHVH and more dependent on him, the blessings, power, anointing and provision of YHVH are able to flow into our lives more readily.

How has YHVH been trying to humble your flesh that he might bring you to a deeper level spiritually? The ArtScroll Chumash comments, “It is true that Elohim subjected the people to some hardships in the wilderness, but even that was for their good; just as a father may chastise his child to prepare him for the future” (p. 983). Consider this issue in light of the sufferings of YHVH’s servants while they were faithfully awaiting their spiritual inheritance as recorded in Hebrews 11. (Compare this with Jas 1:12–17 and 1 Cor 3:13.) Also consider the two types of judgments of YHVH as recorded in Scripture: his judgments unto repentance and his judgments unto death. What are some examples of each? If YHVH’s saints stay close to him spiritually, they won’t have to go through the latter type of judgment. (Examples: Noah and the flood; Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah; the Israelites in the plagues on Egypt; the saints and the tribulation, the great tribulation versus the wrath of Elohim periods at the end of the age [these are three separate time periods or events]; see also Heb 12:3–11). 

Why did YHVH have to afflict the children of Israel? This is because the Scriptures tell us that Israel left Egypt with “an high hand.”

And YHVH hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. (Eoxd 14:8)

And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. (Num 33:3)

“An high hand” in Hebrew is the word ruhm meaning “to rise, rise up, be high, be lofty, be exalted.” Human pride is anathema and an abomination to YHVH Elohim:

These six things doth YHVH hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood… (Prov 6:16–17)

On the other hand, we elsewhere read,

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, Elohim resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (Jas 4:6)

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith YHVH: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isa 66:2)

Deuteronomy 8:2–3, Humbled you…tested you……allowed you to hunger. This verse reveals that YHVH tested, humbled and even allowed the children of Israel to suffer privation on their long trek through the wilderness. This has led some people to wonder what kind of a Being the Israelites were serving that he would do this to his people. A cruel or loving one?

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Deuteronomy 4—Torah-light to the Nations, the Fear of Elohim and the Exile and Regathering of Dispersed Israel

Deuteronomy 4:2, You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor shall you subtract/diminish from it. YHVH warns his people against adding or subtracting from his written word elsewhere as well (Deut 12:32; Rev 22:18–19). Men seem inclined to ignore YHVH’s command in this regard. In fact, whole religions have been founded based on disregarding this prohibition. Some claim to be Bible-based (e.g. Mormonism with their Book of Mormon and rabbinic Judaism with its Talmud), and some have supplanted the entire Bible with their own book (Islam with its Quran). This doesn’t even include the numerous unbiblical traditions and man-made doctrines that many traditional churches and denominations have constructed out of whole cloth and patched into the teachings of the Bible. This cannot be pleasing to Elohim!

Who is the author of and real power behind adding to and subtracting from or twisting YHVH’s Word? It is Satan the serpent. (See Gen 3:1ff and Matt 4:3ff.) Make no mistake, adding or subtracting from the Word of Elohim is to fall for the lie that the devil told the first humans at the tree of knowledge that the Word of Elohim can be molded and formed to fit men’s ways of  thinking instead of Elohim’s.

What did Yeshua warn the religionists of his day against in this regard? He said, “Thus have you made the commandment of Elohim of none effect by your tradition” (Matt 15:6) and, “Howbeit in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7). What are some examples of traditions and theologies in the modern-day Christian and Jewish religions where YHVH’s word has been superseded by man’s traditions? What are some traditions and doctrines of men you have turned away from in order to bring yourself into greater alignment with YHVH’s Word? How is your life better for it? What has been the reaction of those around you in response to your aligning your life more closely with the truth of YHVH?

Finally, the Bible ends with a warning to those who would add to the word of Elohim.

For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, Elohim will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Elohim shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev 22:18–19)

When this passage says “this book,” which book is it talking about? The Book of Revelation or the entire Bible? To be on the safe side, it is prudent to assume John is referring to the whole Bible. I personally don’t care to experiences any of Elohim’s curses; life is already difficult enough as it is!

Deuteronomy 4:2, Observe the commandments of YHVH. The word observe (RNA/shin-mem-resh)is a common Hebrew verb meaning “to keep, guard, give heed, watch, protect, have charge of.”In its noun-form, shamar means “a watchman.” According to TWOT, the basic meaning of shamar is “to exercise great care over something.” One of the most frequent uses of this verb in Scripture is how it is used in this verse. YHVH commands his people to shamar his Torah-commandments some 30 times in the Torah alone. What does this mean to you? Are you learning to not only “hear,” but “to do” his commands? How has your life changed and what are the resulting blessings? Though YHVH clearly commands his people “to keep” or “to guard,” what is commonly taught in most Christian churches in regard to “the law”?

Deuteronomy 4:6, Keep. Keeping Torah (YHVH’s instructions in righteousness) was the means for YHVH’s chosen people to be salt and light to the surrounding nations. Torah is literally a “witnessing tool.” What kind of righteous witness are you (via your Torah lifestyle) to those around you who are lost in spiritual darkness?

Wisdom [Heb. chokmah] and understanding [Heb. biynah]. What is the biblical definition of wisdom and understanding? Let’s explore this subject to see what we can learn from the word of Elohim.

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The Red Sea Crossing: Gospel Types and Shadows

Exodus 14:22, The children of Israel went. According to Jewish tradition (e.g. in The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash commentary on verse eight), the crossing occurred on Nisan 21 (or the Month of the Abib, which is the first month of the biblical calendar occurring in the early spring), which is the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, even though the Scriptures don’t explicitly say this. The Jewish sages deduce this from the chronology of events leading up to the crossing. On the fifteenth day of the first month, they reason, Israel left Egypt and traveled from Rameses to Succoth. On the sixteenth day, they traveled from Succoth to Etham, and on the seventeenth from Etham to Pi-hahiroth. Then on the eighteenth it was reported to Pharaoh that Israel had been gone for three days. On the 19th and 20th Pharaoh mustered his army and pursued Israel, and on the twenty-first day of the first month Israel crossed the Red Sea, which was the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Red Sea. The Israelites went through the midst of the Red Sea. Like the killing of the Passover lamb and the painting of his blood on the door posts, the crossing of the Red Sea prophetically pointed forward to the message of the gospel and the steps a disciple of Yeshua must take in his spiritual journey. Paul states in his letter to the believers in Corinth,

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Messiah. (1 Cor 10:1–4)

The Israelites going through the Red Sea is a prophetic picture of baptism for the remission of sin of the new believer. Red reminds us of the blood of Yeshua that cleanses sinners of sin. Moreover, sea water is salty and salt is a biblical symbol representing cleansing, purification, preservation and eternity and all of which point to the efficaciousness of Yeshua’s atoning blood on behalf of the redeemed saint.

Now let’s look at Israel’s Red Sea passage in light of its larger gospel message context. While back in Egypt, YHVH sent Moses the evangelist to the Israelites with the message of redemption from their Egyptian slavemasters. To be spared from Eloim’s judgments against sin, all the Israelites had to do was to believe the evangelist (i.e. the preacher of the gospel message) when he told them to kill a lamb and to put its blood on the doorposts of their houses (i.e. have faith in the shed blood of Yeshua the Messiah who died on the cross to set us free from the penalty of our sins). Those who did were spared Elohim’s judgment against sin. Next, they had to put leaven (i.e. a picture of sin) out of their houses (a picture of their lives), eat unleavened bread (i.e. a picture of accepting Yeshua unconditionally) and leave Egypt (i.e. a picture of leaving behind the world’s ways and lifestyles). After that they went through the Red Sea (i.e. a picture of baptism for the remission of sins). These are but the initial steps that the Israelites had to take on their journey to the “Promised Land.” After that, they came to Marah, then to the desert oasis of Elim, then they received manna from heaven and water from the rock. They learned about sin, redemption, the Messiah, how to have faith in Elohim, and how to overcome the triple headed enemy of the world, the flesh and the devil. 

For those readers who can discern the code, the gospel message is encrypted in the steps that the Israelites’ took while traversing the wilderness (a biblical metaphor for our physical life on earth) en route the Promised Land. What they went through, how they reacted and the consequences of their actions can act as a sort of spiritual road map to aid modern saints in guiding us forward in our own spiritual journey toward inclusion in the kingdom of Elohim as his glorified children. The wise saint will learn from both the mistakes and triumphs of the Israelites. So study the Bible to show yourself approved, learn your lessons well and we’ll see you in the kingdom of Elohim.