By Debbonnaire Kovacs, Aug. 3, 2016

It’s an uncomfortable thing, even a fearful thing, to consider what makes the all-powerful Creator of all that is…angry. Millions of people see God (no matter what name they have for the Deity) as angry, or at least easy to anger. Many go through their lives anxious, trying hard to do everything right—to do the right sacrifices, perform the right rituals, and follow all the rules just right. Some beat, torture, and kill other people because they believe God is angry at the other people’s actions, and wants them to uphold God’s honor by punishing those who they perceive as disobeying God’s law. Even the most peaceful, law-abiding Christians may believe in a Creator who punishes created beings, often forever.

Forever!

That would make me fearful…

It’s worth looking into what makes God angry. Here is a passage that is pretty specific and all-inclusive. It even is directed to Sodom and Gomorrah, so we might have an idea what God is angry about before we even begin reading.

Don’t do that.

Read first, prayerfully.

Isaiah 1:10-20

Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!

Listen to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;

I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;

I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.

When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more;

bringing offerings is futile;
incense is an abomination to me.

New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation–
I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.

Your new moons and your appointed festivals
my soul hates;

they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.

When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;

even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;

cease to do evil,
learn to do good;

seek justice,
rescue the oppressed,

defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.

Come now, let us argue it out,
says the Lord:

though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;

though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.

If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;

but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be devoured by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

What, exactly, is God angry about? Is it about doing sacrifices wrong? At first glance, it seems God is angry that they are giving sacrifices at all. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.”

Really?

“…who asked this from your hand?”

Umm…you did, Lord…

Why, then is God angry?

“I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

Apparently, worship “Sabbaths, calling of convocations, prayers) is not only not enough, but it becomes an abomination if we do not seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.

In other words, if we are not loving.

But…how, Lord? How can we learn to love instead of hating or being indifferent? The solution is right there in the passage. “Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like  crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.”

God will wash us, turn us around, re-create us. He has promised. And then we will be “willing and obedient.”

Willing and obedient how?

Here are two interesting parallel passages to look up. The Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew 5 through 7 is repeated, for the most part, in Luke 6. Look it up, read it over carefully, and you’ll find the clear definition of godly perfection.

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Matt. 5:48.

“Be merciful just as your Father is merciful,” Luke 6:36.

Matthew 25 repeats the lesson. So do many, many other passages from the Old and New Testaments, plus nearly everything Jesus ever said or did.

God doesn’t get angry when I break a rule. God gets angry when I try to live without love. When I try to break The Law of Life: LOVE.

Period.

Amen.

Free image from pixabay.com.


forgiveness mug shot

Debbonnaire Kovacs is a speaker and the author of 25 books and over 600 stories and articles for adults and children. To learn more about her work or ask her to speak at your organization, visit  www.debbonnaire.com.