“Because I was crushed”

Trolling merrily through Ezekiel, I find this little gem:

Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations. (Eze 6:9, NKJ)

I read somewhere that in Orthodox thought, one of the attributes of God is the divine impassibility.  The idea is that, since God is perfect, He is not affected by things outside of Himself; He is not subject to passions.  Now, on the face of things, that’s obviously not true.  God is described hundreds of times in scripture as being affected by what people do.  But there’s still this concept of the aseity of God, that God’s source of subsistence is from Himself. (I tried and tried to find the adjective form of the word, but apparently it doesn’t exist.  God is aseious? aseiful?)  He doesn’t need anything from the world he created, or else, how could he have created it?  “If I was hungry, would I tell you?”

One of the great mysteries is that Jesus, being the very image of God, should not have been able to die.  He took on the form of man, something that should have been impossible, so that he might die for us.  (Of course, being who he was, he couldn’t stay dead…)  But the implication that you get is that every attribute that smacks of mortality really ought to be applied to the human nature of Jesus.  Does God suffer and die?  No, but the man Jesus Christ does.  Does God stub His toe?  No, but Jesus Christ could.  Is God overcome by grief, overjoyed, lost in a fit of rage?  No!  But maybe Jesus?

I get the impression that, in Orthodox thought, God the Father is sometimes pictured as a great and holy Vulcan: completely free of all fleshy emotion that might hint of weakness, a Platonic postulate of practical reason.  Well, that’s Kant, but Orthodoxy sometimes sounds pretty close.  And yet… aseity.  So my tendency was to split the difference:  Passion means “to suffer,” though we downgrade it often to mean experiencing great emotion.  Jesus suffered on the cross, God the Father did not.  So perhaps, while God can be emotional, only Jesus could be subject to “passions,” that is, overwhelming emotions.

Until I get to Ezekiel.  He says in chapter 6, verse 9, “I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols.” That isn’t the Son speaking.  That’s God the Father, crushed by the adultery of Israel’s idolatry.  Maybe a translation error?  Holman says “crushed;” KJV says “broken;” ESV says “broken;” ASV says, “broken.”  Now, the NIV says “I have been grieved,” and the New Living says, “how hurt I am,” so it sounds like some translators are struggling with the aseity thing.

The Hebrew word is

שָׁבַר, Shabar, (Strongs #7665)
to burst or break; to smash, to shatter, to shipwreck

It’s the word for what happened to Moses’ first copy of the 10 commandments, the word for what ought to be done to all the sacred pillars scattered about on every high place.  Most certainly it doesn’t mean “bruised, irritated, abraised.”  In short, I don’t think “grieved” really cuts it.  “How hurt I am” is in fact the question at hand.  The answer appears to be “broken.”

For Ezekiel, God is not impassible. He suffers much.  He does not need us in any sense of dependency, yet being broken because of us is part of what it means to be God.

I had some questions, but now I am confident:  It’s appropriate to pray, “Lord, break our hearts with the things that break yours.”

Am I A Soldier of the Cross

Thanks to Charles Ingalls, I have a new favorite hymn:

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
And seize it with their eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thine armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.

All I wish now is that I had a proper recording of it.

Also, I want to be like this guy: