Friday, September 16, 2011

A Reason to Fear

An atheist stopped by my blog the other day. He seemed to think it was important that I be told that “God is not love.” He had a long list of adjectives to describe what he saw God as being in the Old Testament, one of which was jealous. I couldn’t agree with all of the adjectives he used, but I could agree with that one because God describes himself as jealous. He wants our worship and doesn’t like it when we worship something else. My atheist friend appeared to think that was a bad thing.

To me, that is at the very heart of sinfulness. Compared to God, man is nothing, but so many people have this idea that they are so special that it would be wrong for God to tell them what to do. God made man from the dust of the ground. You can’t get any lower than that. We are dirt. Break us down into minerals and we’re worth less than $5. If we could see all of the Universe, we’re just tiny specks on a tiny planet near a tiny star in a tiny galaxy. What arrogance for us to think that God has any reason to listen to us. That would be like a roach telling us that we should let him stay in our house. The simple truth is that God has the power to create us and he has the power to destroy us. No wonder he tells us to fear him.

Part of the problem is that people don’t stop to think about just how big God is. The problem isn’t limited to atheists. Prosperity preachers have the same problem. While they talk about him being big enough to give people great wealth, they don’t stop to think that he might be big enough to have bigger plans than just giving us whatever we want. But God is God and he does what he pleases. If it pleased God to wipe us off the face of the earth, he could and would do it. Fortunately, it doesn’t please God to wipe us off the face of the earth. What pleased God was to provide a solution for our sin problem.

Maybe Christians are partly at fault. We spend so much time talking about how much God loves us and wants to have fellowship with us. Maybe we should spend more time talking about how God is disgusted with the sight of sin. Isn’t that what the Old Testament shows us? God laid down the law, as he had a right to do, but the Jews disobeyed and as a result he killed many. He sent many into captivity. These were his chosen people. If his chosen people couldn’t escape his wrath, how much more the gentiles.

It isn’t our place to decide that God is wrong to be jealous and all the other things we may say of him. It is our place to accept him for who and what he is. We want to turn God into a pussycat that we have no reason to fear. But God is a God of wrath, who sends fire from heaven. Though Jesus has opened the door so that we can boldly appear before God, God is a God to be feared.