I think most of us can agree that to get into a power struggle with Almighty God is a terribly bad idea. Sunday School certainly drilled the concept of good and evil, and I for one wanted to stay on the side of the good guys. Who wouldn’t? But if you are wanting to be an evil villain in the halls of biblical history, surely you’d know better than to go head-to-head with the Creator of the Universe? Apparently not. Here are three powers struggles with God that ended very, very badly.
1. The Pharaoh who didn’t learn his lesson.
Sure, we know that Pharaoh was about to lose his entire labor force, but you’d think he’d got the message with the seven plagues. I’m pretty sure that if my rivers had run red with blood, my land filled with all manner of creepy crawlies and my first born child dead, I’d feel put in my place and certainly do what I’m told. But Pharaoh doesn’t. He changes his mind about letting the Hebrews go and chases them down! Now, one might argue that he sends the army out while safely ensconced in his palace, but I’m not buying it. Pharaoh knew full well that God’s wrath didn’t care about geography. Sigh. That final tantrum cost him the army. No labor force, no army, no firstborn sons. You lose.
2. Elijah’s Showdown at Mount Carmel Corral
Enter our next baddie, King Ahab. About as bright as Pharoah, Ahab just won’t do what he’s told. And his whole country is on their knees thanks to a terrible drought. Sure, Elijah did tell them the drought was coming, but I’m not sure he gets to be blamed for causing the whole thing. Ahab disagrees. No-one likes to be told they’re wrong, least of all evil kings. So there’s nothing for it but an elaborate display of God’s power to put them all in their place - the trick every evangelist wishes they could do, fire from heaven on demand. Ahab gets off scot-free, but it’s the end of the prophets of Baal. Evil kings 0, God, 2.
3. Fire, Brimstone, and Pillar of Salt
No evil kings here, just a whole bunch of nasty people doing nasty things, and God didn’t like it at all. We’re in Sodom and Gomorrah, of course, and the Angels have arrived to destroy the city. First, we have all the men of the city come to try and, erm, take advantage of them. So God strikes them all blind so they can’t find the door. Great strategy. This gives Abraham’s family time to escape, and God time to call down fire and sulfur to completely destroy the evil cities. Fire I get. Sulphur is surely just smelly. But it does make it all that much more ominous, in a Mordor kind of way. Now if only the Israelites would just start following that one simple commandment. Oh and Lot’s wife. I mean really. How hard is it not to look back?
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