Who is to blame? Stand silently in the crypt of Jerusalem’s Shrine of the Hand and the Name. A single flame pierces the darkness. Inscribed in the marble floor are dreadful names. Belsen. Dakau. Auschwitz. Names and numbers commemorating millions who died in Nazi concentration camps.

Who is to blame? A Guntner Rutenbom play, The Sign of Jonah, asks the question and draws both the cast and the audience into the answer. No one is really to blame. A storm trooper merely followed orders. An industrialist merely kept up production. A citizen simply did not become involved. Yet in defending their own innocence each of the accused becomes an accuser. All are guilty. Some are guilty by words; others by silence. Some by what they did; others by what they did not. And suddenly the accused accusers all take up another cry. “We are to blame, yes, but we are not the most to blame. The real blame belongs much higher. God is to blame! God must go to trial!”

Would you put God on trial? Scripture records such trials. One appears in Exodus 17:1–7.

“All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people found fault with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ And Moses said to them, ‘Why do you find fault with me? Why do you put the LORD to proof?’

“But the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, ‘Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?’ So Moses cried to the LORD. ‘What shall I do with this people? They ...

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