I’ve been reading through Richmond Lattimore’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey. I first read the Odyssey in high school, but it’s interesting to me to read it now that high school is twenty years gone (!).
One of the things that stands out to me throughout the Odyssey is how awful the Olympian gods are. Odysseus is caught in the middle of Poseidon’s grudge, Zeus’ sadism, and Athene’s favoritism. He is frequently called “son of Laertes, seed of Zeus,” yet Zeus shows a decided lack of fatherly affection (or even concern) for his offspring.
Odysseus is left to the mercy of vengeful, petty, distractable, and promiscuous deities.
Jesus is not Zeus.
The Trinity is not Zeus.
And that makes all the difference in the world!
Compare the vindictiveness and pettiness of Zeus and Poseidon with the true, living God:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 CSB).
“I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me” (John 17:23 CSB).
Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen (Jude 24-25).
The LORD your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will be quiet in his love. He will delight in you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17 CSB).
We are not God’s playthings. He does not toy with us out of pleasure in jerking us around. He does not delight in judgment but mercy; His pleasure is in forgiveness, not damnation.
So often, though, we think and believe the opposite. We think, “I have to be good so God will give me enough money for the bills this month.” “I better read two chapters of the Bible today, since I didn’t read anything yesterday.” “I need to be really obedient these next few days so God will be happy enough with me to give me the promotion I’m applying for at work.” “That didn’t work out because God was getting back at me for sinning so bad yesterday.”
In Christ, we are loved, not left; we are delighted in, not dramatized; we are endeared to God, not His entertainment.