One thing is certain, the more one reads Scripture the more apparent that the radius of curvature of the way people thought about God’s providence doesn’t exactly overlap current modes of thinking about the big issues in life.
In an apparent effort to “reform” the Old Testament view of God, the Cross has been made the controlling paradigm to understand all of the ways of God. But when we try to take in the full scope of all that He began to do and teach it becomes apparent that such a view amounts to redaction. Such a view polarizes light not magnifies it.
Jesus’ righteous indignation at the indolence of unbelief given the “favorable year of the Lord” seems very much like the condemnation of the Prophets of old.
“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (Matt. 11:21 KJV)
“And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell : (Matt. 11:23 KJV)
But before these denunciations we have Jesus’ prolegomena:
“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. (Matt. 11:16-17 KJV)
This analogy seems drawn from the book of Job in one of his replies to his “friends” the philosopher/theologian’s of his day who were relentless in trying to overcome his view of what it meant to be in right standing with God.
Specifically, Job was pointing out that one cannot take the seeming lack of calamity of the wicked as indicative of favor with God.
“They send forth their little ones like the flock, And their children skip about. They sing to the timbrel and harp And rejoice at the sound of the flute. They spend their days in prosperity, And suddenly they go down to Sheol. (Job 21:11-13 NAS)
These are they that said:
“And they say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Thy ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, And what would we gain if we entreat Him?’ (Job 21:14-15 NAS)
It is the latter passage that reminds us that children often suffer the same fate as their parents and patricians. And that is true whether or not the Bible says anything about it.
Here we can see that Jesus does not polarize Himself in expression so as to appear “nicer” than the revelation of God in the Old Testament. Rather He picks up where the Old left off and shows that rejection of light is the same as saying to the Father – “Depart from us, We do not even desire knowledge of thy ways.”