What do you do or think when you read passages in the Bible that display God’s anger? How do you process those passages? Do you think, “How can God be like this?!” Do you just skip those sections altogether? Well, Hosea chapter 9 was my assigned chapter to write about today, and I have to tell you, it’s pretty harsh. There’s just no way around that.
It’s a passage that promotes an “Angry God” view in people who don’t have a close relationship and personal knowledge of how merciful, good, kind, and loving He truly is! When I read it to my husband last night while discussing with him what I was assigned to write on, he said it sounded like the story was about a man who loved deeply but had been betrayed by the love of his life and who was just beside himself with grief and anger. I can see that!
If my husband was giving all his time, attention, and affection to other women, I would be beyond outraged and hurt to say the least. It would be completely understandable for me to react harshly. Well, that is what Israel did to God, and God is responding to that betrayal in this chapter. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there, and we know God didn’t completely destroy Israel in His anger.
Unfortunately, stories like this have prompted theologies that say God is always angry and is waiting to punish us for every little thing. They paint a picture of a mean deity glaring down at the poor people of earth with constant hate and disapproval. This just isn’t so! God isn’t mad at you! He CREATED us because He wanted to love and be loved by us! He LOVES you!
The Bible tells us many times that God’s anger doesn’t last forever, nor is it His biggest attribute. A few examples are Psalm 30:5(NKJV), which says that, “His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor is for life,” and Jeremiah 3:12 (AMP), where God says, “…for I am gracious and merciful; I will not be angry forever.”
There are other theologies that ignore His anger altogether and tell us that no matter how we live or what we do, we will still go to Heaven because God is love and full of grace. These theologies portray a tolerant God of rainbows and fluff who cares nothing about justice or what is right. God is not like this either. He cares deeply about what is right and just! Passages like this one in Hosea just don’t line up with that theology!
So neither of these theological extremes is accurate. God IS just and loves what is right, and He does get angry. But He is NOT just angry all the time! God IS gracious, and we CAN make it to Heaven no matter what our past has been IF we believe and except Jesus as our Lord and Savior. However, that doesn’t mean we can live willfully sinful lives and expect to get away with it.
Something to remember when reading chapters like Hosea 9 is that God’s love for us and His anger over sin are the reason He made a way of escape for us in Jesus. Ultimately God is LOVE, not anger! Though He isn’t human, we are made in His image, so if we think about things from His perspective, loving so greatly and being so wrongfully treated in return, that can help us understand these kinds of passages. Personally, when I read this, I am so thankful for Jesus and His sacrifice!
1 Thessalonians 5:9 tells us, “God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.” We all know John 3:16, “For God SO LOVED the world He gave His only son, so we could be saved,” saved from His wrath. I am so thankful that His love far outweighs His anger!
While we tend to think we are pretty good people, certainly not deserving of a fate such as that God threatens Israel with in Hosea 9, the fact is that we are all deserving of eternal punishment. There is none righteous of their own merit. Romans 3:23 confirms that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. The truth about God’s anger is that we all actually deserve it, but thanks to Jesus we can instead know God for His great love!
Aren’t you thankful for His love today?
Featured Photo by: Samantha Wright