God Has Feelings Too (Part 2)

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They shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them because of their own counsels. My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all.  Hosea 11:5-7

The word anthropomorphism means attributing human characteristics to God. That’s what Hosea 11 is, a description of God in human terms.  And the description in the verses above is anger.  You see, God has feelings too.  Our term for that feeling might also be tough love.

Is it OK for God to get angry?  Well, what do you do about sin?  Can God say “so what” to the murder and theft and adultery and inhumanity that characterizes our evening news?  It’s easy to understand how God might be angry about the idolatry of Israel in the eighth century BC.  How much injustice and immorality should God ignore?  But we may miss the point of God’s anger in Hosea 11.  God foretells the siege and deportation, the burned cities and lost lives of the Assyrian invasion.  But is God simply writing off the people he has loved and led?  No.

When every effort of the prophets he sent has been ignored, every warning in drought and crop failure has been lost, God is left with one option: tough love.  The people of Israel that he loves will be led off into captivity by the Assyrian army.  When all else has failed and they cry to God in desperation, he will not heed their empty pleas.  Nothing short of that will call them to repentance.  Israel bet on a political alliance with Egypt rather than seek the intervention of their God, and they would be betrayed, left to face the horror of Assyrian might on their own.

Does God still get angry at our rejection of his will and his love?  No doubt.  But this isn’t our kind of anger, the self-centered desire for vengeance.  God’s anger is the other side of the coin of his love.  God’s anger at sin is balanced with his love for sinners.  The ultimate act of God to recall sinners from their hell-bent rush into wickedness can be letting them experience the consequences of their rebellion against God’s will.  Is there a message in the setbacks and hurt you experience?  Maybe.  Let trials turn your heart to God.  Let problems lead you to seek his help.  Let the consequences of your moral failures bring you to your knees in repentance.

God has feelings too.  His anger teaches us to recognize and reject the lies of our culture and the immorality in our entertainment media.  His anger becomes our anger as we watch friends and loved ones drift into the void of materialism and hedonism.  Like our God, we speak out against what will destroy individual lives and national will.  But more than that, God’s anger against sin, our sin, is his call to repent and return to his forgiving love.  God vented his anger against sin upon his son on Good Friday.  That anger is not our fate.  Love is, thank Jesus.

PRAYER: Forgive us, Lord, for ignoring Your warnings and pursuing the desires of our sinful nature.  Teach us to identify what is false and what is wrong, then lead us to walk away from such sin and seek Your forgiving love.  Heal our nation and recall our loved ones who have strayed, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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