Τρίτη, 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

The Anger and Forgiveness of God-Part I

Varghese Mathai
OCP Articles
Is God always an angry God?  Does He wish that mankind to be subjected to His wrath or He is Merciful, Graceful and Forgive His children?
 Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgression. It is by grace you have been saved. Eph.2.3-5. In order to understand the meaning of Mercy we ha2ve to relate it with Grace. Mercy is not getting what we deserve for our evil deeds (withheld punishment). Grace is getting the blessings or forgiveness what we do not deserve due to our evil deeds. Mercy can also mean pity or compassion. Turn to God and pray to him now that he is near. Let the wicked leave the wicked leave their way of life and change their way of thinking. Let them turn to the Lord, our God he is merciful and quick to forgive.Iss.55.6-7. Happy are those whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned Ps.32.1. Then I confessed my sins to you, I do not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you and you forgave all my sins. Though he is quick tempered, He is graceful, merciful and compassionate. He knows very well that we are mortal and knows our weakness very well. He do not wish destruction of His creation the human who have been made like God.
Characteristics of Godly wrath-
1.Godly wrath is vastly different from the wrath of man.(James1.20)
2.The wrath of God is always in accordance with the standards set down in scripture for man’s conduct and the warning God has given for disobedience Duet 29.26-28, 30.15-20, 2Sam12.9-10, 2Kings 22.10-13, 24.2, 2Chron19.8-10,34.18-28, 36.15-16, Jerm22.11-12, 44.2-6
3.The wrath of God is in accordance with the deeds of men. God’s wrath is always in direct proportion to man’s sins Pslm28.4, Is59.18, Jerm17.10, 21.14, 25.14, Ezk20.44, 25.14, 36.19
4.God’s wrath is slow and controlled, not sudden and explosive Ex.34.6, Num14.18
5.Gods’ wrath comes after warning of Judgement like Noah days Gen6-9, Sodom and Gomorrah Gen19.
6.God’s wrath is always provoked by man’s sin. Deut. 4.25, 9.18, Jerm25.6-7, 32.32.
7.God’s wrath is not exercised in sin but in righteousness Rom2.5, James 1.19-20.
What are the curses pronounced in Old Testament for disobedience? (Duet 27.1-26)
i)God’s curse on any one who makes an idol of stone, wood, or metal and secretly worship it, the Lord hates idolatry.
ii)God’s curse on anyone who dishonour his father or mother.
iii)God’s curse on anyone who moves a neighbour’s boundary mark.
iv)God’s curse on anyone who leads a blind man on wrong direction.
v)God’s curse on anyone who deprive foreigners, orphans and widows of their rights.
vi)God’s curse on anyone who disgrace his father by having intercourse with any wives of his father.
vii)God’s curse on anyone who has sexual relations with an animal.
viii)God’s curse on anyone who had intercourse with his sister or half sister
ix)God’s curse on anyone who had intercourse with his mother-in-law.
x)God’s curse on anyone who secretly commits murder
xi)God’s curse on anyone who accept money to murder an innocent person
xii)God’s curse on anyone who does not obey all of God’s law and commandments.
Followings are few important events from the O.T in Bible, which caused Gods anger on His people and how he had forgiven them.
1. Disobedience of Adam, God got angry, but He had given them an opportunity to repent.
When we go through the Old Testament, the first incident of God’s anger is towards Adam and Eve. In the beginning God has given only one commandment to Adam and that was only to obey Him. He said to him ‘You may eat any kind of fruit in the garden except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree, if you do so you will die the same day” Gen 2. 16-18. God has given all the freedom to first man with three conditions-
i)You can eat all the fruits of the garden.
ii)You must not eat the fruit of knowledge
iii)If you eat it you will die on the same day.
He was supposed to be obedient to God nothing else. But Satan trapped him and he had sinned. God Almighty God called him, where are you. He answered, I heard you in the Garden, I was afraid and hid from you because I was naked. Almighty given both of them an opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness to his creator the Almighty God. Adam blamed God and his companion Eve, Eve told the serpent cheated me. Gen.3.8-13. How, nice it would have been if, both of them have repented before God and God would have granted them forgiveness? But what was the reward. The sin of the father of mankind is given to his ancestors as Original sin.
Non Obedience of what the Lord had commanded us to do is also subjected to anger of God. This disobedience can be seen in King Saul also. Lord commanded to King Saul, through His Servant Samuel that “Go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Don’t leave anything; kill all the men, women, children and babies; the cattle sheep and donkeys” 1.Sam 15.3. But they did not obey it and preserved the good one which in their eyes are good and brought Agag alive. Samuel said “Which does the Lord prefer: Obedience or Offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey Him than to sacrifice the best sheep to Him. Rebellion against Him is as bad as witchcraft and arrogance is as bad as idolatry? ” Because, you rejected Lord’s commandment, He has rejected you as King” 1Sam 15.22-23.
2.Cain get angry and zealous over his brother, God had given him warning for repentance but his wicked mind made him to do tricks with his brother and ultimately killed him.
Both Cain and Abel offered to God. But God was pleased with Abel only. Cain became furious and he scowled in anger. God has warned him “sin is crouching at your door. It wants to rule you, but you must overcome it Gen 4.7. Despite this warning what he did? Instead of repenting of his evil thoughts, as the devil dominates his mind, he played a tricky game with his brother, his own blood, the son of his own mother and father. Then Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out in the fields. When they were out of the fields, Cain turned on his brother and killed.Gen.4.8.
Even after that brutal murder, the graceful God has given him an opportunity to repent for his evil deed and to disclose the cruelty committed before the merciful God for forgiveness. The Lord asked him, where is your brother> Hen answered I don’t know. Am I supposed to take care of my brother? God in his anger replied. Why you had done this terrible thing. Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground like a voice calling for revenge. We have to remember and testify ourselves that am I eligible to stand in the Church and before God in the Holy Eucharist, if I do not reconcile with my fellow being. If I had pained him, definitely He keeps on asking to my conscious, How can you love me son, if you did not love your brother and in harmony with you fellow being, how I can accept your offerings? The answer may be I DONT KNOW YOU!
3.The heavenly beings get involved in adultery then God got angry and reduced their life span to 120 years, but because of only one person ‘Noah’ his descendents were saved.
The wickedness of mankind tremendously increased than before and adultery became a cause for the destruction of the world. When mankind has spread all over the world, and girls were being born, some of the heavenly beings saw that these girls are beautiful so they took the ones they liked. When the Lord saw how wicked everyone on earth was and how evil are their thoughts were all the time, he was sorry that he had ever made them and put them on the earth. He was so filled with regret that he said, I will wipe out these people I have created. But the Lord was pleased with Noah. I have found that you are the only one in all around the world who does what is right. Gen Ch. 6 and 7. Here we can see the merciful God not to destroy the mankind who are made in his own image not be subjected to destruction of wiped off from the earth because of a righteous man Noah.
According to theologians ark of Noah is the symbol of Christ who was expected, stating that, the vessel had its door on the east side- the direction from which Christ would appear at the second coming and that the bones of Adam were brought abroad, together with gold, frankincense and myrrh (the symbol of nativity of Christ). He also stated that the ark floated to and fro in the four directions on the waters, making the sign of the Cross. What a wonderful plan the Almighty God had for the salvations of the mankind who are righteous have the eternal life. Then how can we say that He is the one who is destructive God? Noah gets the word: build an ark in seven days. His sons cut the necessary trees in three days, and much furious sawing and hammering follows. But there’s no rest, as they need to round up all the animals. Noah boards the animals, then his sons, their wives, and his wife (who packed a ferocious picnic). He made all this in hurry without asking Almighty how is it possible? An important think to note is that, all his neighbours and friends have noted it. But they do not believe on what he might have told them so that their mind were so wicked and could not repent and would have been saved from the wrath of God. We have note here that Almighty God gave opportunity to others of that day that is why he ordered Noah to build the Ark by himself. As He is the shelter to all his creations God himself would have made other arrangement to save the life of Noah and his family. His intention was to use as an instruments, so that others may turn from their wickedness and turn to God so that they may not perish.
4.He also destroyed the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah- Abraham interceded repeatedly, but could be found single righteous from both cities to be saved.
Three angels visited Abraham God’s hand-picked founder of his chosen nation, Israel. They came disguised as men, travelers along the road. Two of them went down to Sodom and Gomorrah, to observe firsthand the wickedness in those cities.
The other visitor, who was the Lord stayed behind. He revealed to Abraham that he was going to destroy the cities because of the evil ways of their people. Abraham, a special friend of the Lord, began to intercede with God to spare the cities if there were righteous people in them. First Abraham asked if the Lord would spare the cities if fifty righteous people lived there. The Lord said yes. Boldly, Abraham kept bargaining down, until God agreed not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if even ten righteous people lived there. Then the Lord departed. When, the two angels arrived at Sodom that evening, Abraham’s nephew Lot met them at the city gate. Lot and his family lived in Sodom. He took the two men to his home and fed them. Then all the men of the city surrounded Lot’s house and said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” (Genesis 19:5). By ancient custom, the visitors were under Lot’s protection. Lot was so infected by the wickedness of Sodom that he offered the homosexuals his two virgin daughters instead. Furious, the mob rushed up to break down the door. The angels struck the rioters blind! Leading Lot, his wife, and two daughters by the hand, the angels hurried them out of the city. The girls’ fiancés would not listen and stayed behind. Lot and his family fled to a tiny village called Zoar. The Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying the buildings, the people, and all the vegetation in the plain. Lot’s wife disobeyed the angels, looked back, and turned into a pillar of salt.
5.Worshiping the Gold Calf by the Israelites – the wrath of God is forgiven when Moses intercede to God.
As the wrong deeds of Human started growing reached in high degree, the need for Law and order arises. As the Israelites sins and wrong things increased, Almighty God had decided to give them a Law and order policy. In the beginning, there was only one commandments “Obey God”, now He had decided to impose the Ten Commandments on them. Idol worship prevailed among them when the children of God get mingled with men of the earth and their girls. Aaron took the earrings, melted them, poured the gold into a mould, and made a gold bull-calf. The people said ‘Israel this is our god, who led us out Egypt. Then Aaron made an altar in front of the God-calf. Early the next morning they brought some animals to burn as sacrifice and others to eat as fellowship-offerings. The people sat down for the feast, which turned into an orgy of drinking and sex.
The Lord said to Moses, Go back down at once, because your people whom you led out of Egypt have sinned and rejected me. They have already left the way that I commanded them to follow and they have worshiped the Gold-calf. I am angry with them, and I am going to destroy them. Then I will make you and your descendants into a great nation. Ex.32.1-10. Violation of the Lord’s first commandment of the Ten Commandments by His own people made him angry over them.
In this incident, we can see three types of people.
I)The unfaithful, non-grateful and wicked God’s own children, who totally ignored Almighty God, who had delivered them miraculously by His might ad Power from their slavery in Egypt.
II)A shepherd, who was supposed to lead his sheep in the right path ignored his responsibility. Aaron, though he knows that whatever he is doing to please the people were wrongs and non-pardonable before Almighty God. But, he acts according to the wish of the multitude! Is it not the same situation among most of the Shepherds of the generation of the day? What would be the answer to the Lord?
iii)A faithful shepherd who stands in between the Almighty God and his folk. As Almighty God calms down he intercedes, “Lord why should you be so angry with your people, whom you have brought from Egypt with great might and power”. “Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. “Remember the solemn promise you made to them to give their descendents as there are stars in the sky”. So, the Lord changed his mind and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened Ex. 32.11-14.
But, He had punished certain people. The Lord answered “it is those who have sinned against me whose name I will remove from my book”. So the Lord sent a disease on those rebellious people, because they had caused Aaron to make the Gold Calf. This is the warning for the present generation of the church who cause the Shepherds to decide wrongs because of their rebellion and prominence in the church.
How horrible and terrific is my mind the child of God it was and it is; and this would be the same question Lord have to me also. Sex and adultery even to sisters and own children? What would be His wrath for all my evil deeds? “Repent” “Repent” “Repent”. Turn to God who redeemed us from the bondage of sin, the bondage of Satan. Almighty God warns us. Are we hearing His warning to us?
Contd. Part II

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