A friend passed away last week and my husband and I went to pay our respects at her funeral. The pastor eulogizing her didn’t talk about her except for perhaps two sentences and the rest was a full blown sermon on fearing God. He didn’t speak of God’s redemption, but spoke rather loudly out about how God is against sin. It was very hard to sit and listen to him, knowing that what he was saying wasn’t wrong, but borderline inappropriate. I believe I would have managed to tolerate the sermon much better if I never heard him pray, which was as contrite as it could be. He sounded like God was an imaginary friend instead of someone we can really talk to, with our hearts and not our befuddled brains.
I mean no disrespect to this pastor because I believe he is doing the best he can just like all of us. But I have to wonder if he treats God like that all the time or if it’s only for show. At the very least, we should know that we can talk to God about anything and not have to sugar coat any of our words. Yes, we need to talk about disobedience and the effects of sin on our lives but there is an appropriate time to do this. I agree, that some people who attend a funeral may never go to church and this may be their only opportunity to hear the Word preached. If that’s the case, shouldn’t we handle it more delicately, with respect for our God and our friends who need to hear the Word? After all, if you cram cooked spinach down my throat, I can guarantee I will probably throw it right back up. No, I don’t want it flavored differently. I will eat it because I know it’s good for me, but I have to do it on my own terms. I believe the Word of God should be treated the same.
God gave us a choice. We either accept Him or not. When we try to force feed others His Word, we are likely pushing them away. On top of it all, when we make a spectacle of ourselves “talking” to God in an unnatural and fake manner, not only will God not hear us, but the people we are trying to impress won’t hear us either. Not in the way we want them to hear, anyway.
Moses talked to God like he would anyone else. He wasn’t disrespectful or rude, but he was straightforward.
Numbers 11:11-15 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now- if I have found favor in Your sight- and do not let me see my wretchedness!”
Moses was trying to obey what God instructed him to do but was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the neediness of all the people and he turned to God for help. God didn’t warn Moses that the people were going to be hard to handle, probably because he wanted Moses to turn to Him for help. God wants us to depend on Him for everything. That’s part of the deal. So, while Moses was desperate for God’s help, he knew that God had allowed him to be in that position. He wasn’t afraid to ask why but he also didn’t turn his back on God and try to do it all on his own. He fully relied on God no matter what the answer was. I think that is what we need to talk about, whether it’s at a funeral or any other time.