ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Ungodly God

Updated on May 30, 2013

Gee, thanks!

"You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:1) One reason I believe in God is that the God who reveals himself in the Bible is not anything like one I might conjure up on my own. Those who blow off biblical theist like to charge us with being so needy that we have to have a supreme being to depend on, to guide us and to provide for us. To have a god is a sure sign of weakness or worse.

So let's grant the charge. Would anyone cook up a god who promised to punish him dearly for all this wrong doing?

Source

Oh, it gets better! Or worse!

"Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, 'Bring that we may drink!' The Lord God has sworn in his holiness that, behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks." (Amos 4:1,2)

Now that's a pretty picture. Bashan is the region now called the Golan Heights. It has rich pasture lands. The herds were taken there for fattening prior to their slaughter. So Amos' remarks about the spoiled women of Israel cuts two ways. They self-indulgently feed themselves and ignore the needy. They'll soon be led away to the slaughter house.

Methinks God just lost the women's vote.

"Yet you did not returned to me."

Five times in Amos 4 you'll find this line, punctuated by the final phrase, "declares the Lord." Each time God, through his prophet, rehearses for his people specific ways he has disciplined them.

First, He gave them "cleanness of teeth" and "lack of bread." In other words, He made them hungry. Then, He withheld rain so that they wandered about from city to city looking for water to drink. Thirdly He caused blight and mildew and locusts to ravage their gardens and vineyards. Next, He sent pestilence like that experienced by the Egyptians in the days of Moses. Young men died, their horses, carried away. Finally, He destroyed some of Israel's cities like He had Sodom and Gomorrah.

After mentioning each of these, God expressed what seems like surprise and consternation that these measures had not brought about the intended result. "'Yet you did not return to me,' declares the Lord." (Amos 4:6,8,9,10 and 11) From God's point of view Israel's suffering was not a fluke or arbitrary. God deliberately brought it about. He owns his behavior. No sugar-coating, excuses or blame shifting.

God's honesty is refreshing. I like that.

What to think?

Well-intentioned people try soft pedal this harsh edge of God's character. They wind up created for themselves, and for those they influence, another god altogether. The first commandment comes to mind. "You shall have no other god's before me." (Exodus 20:3)

Even the godly shrink from guys like Amos. Have you ever heard a sermon on Amos 4? I remember when Jerry Falwell was berated by both friends and foes for announcing that 7/11 was God's discipline on America. I believe Falwell was wrong to take it upon himself to make such a declaration. Jerry is no Amos. However, what he said may well be true.

If nothing else, Amos teaches us how far God will go to get out attention... and how bull-headed we humans can be. Every personal or national disaster, be it man made or induced by the forces of nature is an act of God. If all the energy expended in denying that were used to examine our hearts and draw near to Him there would be less need for his harsh discipline.

Enter the gospel

Amos' God despises wickedness. His holiness cannot stand the presence of the unholy. So He destroys all who hold dear what is repulsive to Him. But he will not destroy eternally those who, by faith, take refuge in Christ. On the cross the full wrath of God for human sin fell upon Jesus' shoulders. God accepted that as the believer's own payment for his sin. "There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

Those who are "in Christ Jesus" have a different perspective on God's harshness. Instead of being shocked, we recognize his discipline as an act of God's love. Scotty Smith's prayer captures this beautifully.

"Jesus, you love us so much that when we love you less, you come after us with tenacity and uncomfortable providences. You are unrelenting in your commitment to rescue our hearts from illusions, mirages, broken cisterns, idols, and wannabe lovers. I wish you didn’t have to be, but I am grateful you are so doggedly committed to us." (11/15/12)

Comments - I'm listening

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • liftandsoar profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank P. Crane 

      5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Glad to see you again, Blossom. Thanks for your visit and comment.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      An interesting hub with a variety of thoughts that many of us can resonate with. Amos is considered one of the Minor Prophets, but that is because of the short length of his book, rather than its message. Next Sunday is 'Christ the King', a great introduction to Advent. Thank you for your thoughtful writing.

    • liftandsoar profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank P. Crane 

      5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Glad to hear from you Ericdierker. I had begun to grow cold in my writing enthusiasm until my readings took me through Amos. He gets your attention.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I like it. voted up and interesting. My oldest daughter told me I should have punished her more. Her theory is that punishment is the best way to get rid of self guilt. I will send her your hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)