7 Godly Sins? – the Lust of God 


7 Godly Sins? – the Lust of God

If God intends on being party to every marriage, is it Lust?

Song of Solomon 7

Expressions of Praise

How graceful are your feet in sandals,

O queenly maiden!

Your rounded thighs are like jewels,

the work of a master hand.

Your navel is a rounded bowl

that never lacks mixed wine.

Your belly is a heap of wheat,

encircled with lilies.

Your two breasts are like two fawns,

twins of a gazelle.

Your neck is like an ivory tower.

Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,

by the gate of Bath-rabbim.

Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,

overlooking Damascus.

Your head crowns you like Carmel,

and your flowing locks are like purple;

a king is held captive in the tresses.

How fair and pleasant you are,

O loved one, delectable maiden!

You are stately as a palm tree,

and your breasts are like its clusters.

I say I will climb the palm tree

and lay hold of its branches.

O may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,

and the scent of your breath like apples,

and your kisses like the best wine

that goes down smoothly,

gliding over lips and teeth.

I am my beloved’s,

and his desire is for me.

Come, my beloved,

let us go forth into the fields,

and lodge in the villages;

let us go out early to the vineyards,

and see whether the vines have budded,

whether the grape blossoms have opened

and the pomegranates are in bloom.

There I will give you my love.

The mandrakes give forth fragrance,

and over our doors are all choice fruits,

new as well as old,

which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.

1 Peter 1:3-9

A Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

One cannot consider a connection between God and lust without looking at Song of Solomon. It may not be the only example of lust, nor the worst example of it… but it is one of the longest and most spiritually approved instances of physical attraction. There is no way around it. Song of Solomon is a strange book to be in the Holy Bible.

The root of this peculiarity comes from its inclusion as scripture as we understand it. By and large, since the time of the [Reformation] we have expected scripture to be historically accurate accounts of God’s work in creation and words of praise or prayers dedicated to Him. In the case of Proverbs, they may be short teachings related to worshipping and following God. There is another kind of ancient literature as well though: allegory.

Allegory is when you write or speak about one thing and use it as a comparison to something else. C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia in part as an allegory of the Christian faith. It does not matter if the stories are true or not. It only shows the relationship of the values being presented. Another biblical example is the book of Job. While we, by today’s standards would expect Job to be at least based upon a historical event. However, prior to the Reformation it was acceptable to use allegory as a means of communicating truth.

Song of Solomon was included into the Old Testament cannon because it served as an allegory to the kind of deeply personal and intimate love of God. That is to say, if a man and woman can desire one another this much, God can desire us even more. That really does not settle the weirdness though, unless we get it through our heads that allegory shows connection between two normally unlike things.

The word “love” itself falls prey to this instance all the time. We say we love our romantic partners. We love or children. We love pizza. If love meant the same thing in all three of these categories it would be criminal. So yes, God loves us like Song of Solomon describes, in terms of passion and desire, but not in the same way.

What then, does that have to do with His involvement in marriage? Well, first, let’s be honest and admit that marriages always involve more than just two people. If it were not so, there would be no such thing as mother-in-laws, and particular relationship created by marriage involving an outside person. Friends and family are all involved. Sometimes children are involved.

God becomes involved in marriages as a benefactor, or perhaps more simply as the Father of both bride and groom. He has expectations for both of them and gifts for both of them as well. 1 Peter tells us about an inheritance He is hoping to give us in that. He does not have a sexual agenda for us Himself, and His only contributions to sex are for our benefit, not His. Again, (think allegory) God does not want to be our mate. He wants to be our Lord, which is an entirely different relationship. The alternative of course is to have a marriage without His involvement. There is a long history of people who cast aside their families and friends to get married, and sometimes it works out for them in the end – particularly if they have unhealthy family systems. However, if God is a blessing to you, why would you not want to share Him with your spouse?

How is God involved in your marriage?

In what ways do you want God to be more involved?

7 Godly Sins? – the Greed of God


7 Godly Sins? – the Greed of God

If God insists his followers pay tithes and offerings for His approval, is it Greed?

Psalm 16

Song of Trust and Security in God

A Miktam of David.

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,

in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;

their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out

or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;

you hold my lot.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;

in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me;

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;

my body also rests secure.

For you do not give me up to Sheol,

or let your faithful one see the Pit.

You show me the path of life.

In your presence there is fullness of joy;

in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

Set me as a seal upon your heart,

as a seal upon your arm;

for love is strong as death,

passion fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire,

a raging flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,

neither can floods drown it.

If one offered for love

all the wealth of one’s house,

it would be utterly scorned.

David, in Psalm 16 again, begins with a comment, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” While he undoubtedly is referring to a mixture of his moral attributes as well as the blessings he enjoys, this could also be interpreted to refer to financial and material “goods” as well. Or could it? Does that even make sense to claim that we own or possess nothing but God? Do we even own or possess God to begin with? But wait, look at that verse again. It does not claim that we own nothing but God, nor does it claim we own God. He claims he has no (good thing) that exists apart from God. In other words, while he may own things, everything he has was given to him originally by God. Whether it be food, land, money, or even spiritual blessings, David knows everything he has is a gift from God.

This creates in him a spirit of gratitude, which he expresses in this psalm (and many others). He claims he would never trade the true gift: the love of God, for any possession or blessing. He knew the true value of that love. So did his son Solomon, albeit from a different perspective. While David spent much of his life as a poor man, his son Solomon was one of the wealthiest kings of his era. He found out the hard way that wealth is no replacement for love. Real love, whether it be between lovers or between God and humankind, cannot be bought.

Why then, does God ask for material offerings and tithes? Not for His sake. He has no need of money. It is for our sake. We are made to serve something, and if we do not serve God, will give our lives away to something that love us less and will not take care of us. Indeed, Jesus perhaps put it the most plainly in His teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 7:19-24

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Greed is essentially the sin of a life lived in the service of money. God commands tithes and offerings to be used to take care of those who work specifically for him, to provide for their food and shelter… and also to provide for the poor, the traveling foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. Tithes and offerings do not show God’s greed, but instead show the way He teaches us the generosity He embodies towards us all.

What do you give on a regular basis, and to whom do you give it?

Where do you see the generosity of God most?

How do you reflect that generosity of God?

7 Godly Sins? – the Pride of God


7 Godly Sins? – the Pride of God

If God expects His followers to dedicate their lives to worshipping and praying to Him, is it Pride?

1 Corinthians 15:1-111

The Resurrection of Christ

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

Egos are perhaps the hungriest, neediest things in existence, psychologically speaking. Or perhaps more accurately it is the “id” that is the hungry entity and the ego struggling to feed it. There are two kinds of pride: (1) The kind that needs to have active attention to feel worthy, and (2) The kind that needs the passive attention of being needed by another – often supporting someone actively in the spotlight. We probably all fall into one of these two categories at one time or another, and this pride finds itself at the root of much suffering that goes on in the world.

Pride may not be the thing that pushes us to murder, rape, robbery, or other very visible crimes, but these things do not usually happen overnight, and it is often pride that keeps us from asking for help when we need it. Whether we are struggling with some other kind of temptation or sin ourselves or being held back by the need to help someone else without asking for help ourselves. This problem of codependency is another form of pride working its way into our life.

Let us look at God then, to determine whether or not He has a problem with pride.

Does God need all the attention? In the Old Testament, and in Genesis in particular, God did not have a temple or priests. In fact, after Adam and Eve, (who may have lived 900 years of the scripture is read literally there) 4 generations passed before people even began to “call upon the name of the Lord.2 So, for at least the first century of humanity , God did not seem to have a pride problem or a need to be involved.

If we survey the years between then and Abraham, we see God judging the earth and punishing creation with a great flood, saving only Nosh and his family, but they are not judged for not following Him. Indeed, they were all invited into that salvation. The world was judged because of the violence that fallen humanity had brought into it. By the time we get to Abraham, where much of that violence had reawakened, in a world where kings were worshipped as gods, it makes me wonder why God only picked one small family to worship Him instead of a whole nation or the whole world. Even then, the only real practice of worship that He asked of them was a few one-time sacrifices, the greatest of which was the sacrifice of Abraham’s own son Isaac which God called off a the last minute.

God does not need to be the center of attention all the time, nor does He ask for that. In the 10 commandments, He asked for one day out of seven, not every day for our attention and affection. Many of His commands were not for His benefit, but for the benefit of the poor, the orphans, the foreigners, and the widows. When we take into consideration these laws and compare them with the New Testament, where God comes to earth in the flesh as Jesus Christ, it reveals something else about Him. The Almighty, who could command obedience from the entire world, but chooses to ask it only of those willing to follow Him. However, He does not try to save the world by Himself either. He always, from the very beginning, invites others to partner with Him in the work of caring for creation.

So God is neither prideful, nor codependent in His work in the world. What is more, the effect He has on others is such that it does not make them prideful or codependent either. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he took no credit for Himself, but gave God the credit He was due – not because God demanded it from Him, but because Paul gave it gratefully in response to the work God had done in his life. God’s humility is contagious and spreads to those around Him.

  1. (Cp Mk 16:9–20)
  2. “At that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord.” – Genesis 4:26

7 Godly Sins? – the Gluttony of God


7 Godly Sins? – the Gluttony of God

If God allows anyone to go hungry unnecessarily but has plenty to eat Himself, is it Gluttony?

Psalm 16

Song of Trust and Security in God

A Miktam of David.

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,

in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;

their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out

or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;

you hold my lot.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;

in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me;

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;

my body also rests secure.

For you do not give me up to Sheol,

or let your faithful one see the Pit.

You show me the path of life.

In your presence there is fullness of joy;

in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Before addressing the sin of gluttony pertaining to God, we probably have to back up and ask if God Himself even eats at all. The Bible doesn’t exactly say other than we know Jesus ate while He was here on earth. Much of the promises of a heavenly banquet do not come from images of heaven, either in the prophets or Revelation, but from the parables of Jesus, often initiated with the phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven is like…”. That phrase “is like” signifies the introduction of a simile: a logical comparison between two separate things. Similes typically focus on one main similarity while the other details between the two things may differ entirely. So, when Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a wedding feast, we usually focus on the existence of a bride and groom and celebration of their union…not what kind of food they serve as the uniting factor between the wedding and God’s kingdom.

It is doubtful whether God needs to eat at all, and if He did, the One who spoke creation into existence would not need anyone to cook for Him. So to speak of God as a glutton, someone constantly consuming to fill an empty void inside is to completely misunderstand Who God is. Scripture shows God to be just the opposite. He is the One Who gives. Pagan gods demand sacrifices to consume. Our God gives of Himself and provides for us to eat rather than focusing on Himself. It is Jesus Christ who said,

“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

God does not take food away from the hungry to feed Himself. He gives of Himself to feed the hungry. He teaches His people to do the same. Why are their people starving to death every day? Because we do not follow God’s example. We steal food from the poor every day.

What? Steal food? Surely that is too harsh.

I think not. My small hometown in Illinois has struggled to keep a grocery store over the last few decades. Not only is it difficult to keep people with vehicles from traveling to other cities where bigger stores sell greater variety, the food trucks themselves refuse to even come into town, out of their way, if they are not guaranteed a minimum payment – something that often exceeds what the people are able to purchase. Those who have money simply go elsewhere, but those who cannot afford to drive to the nearest city go without. Imagine that on a global scale where entire nations in Africa would love to purchase beef from Texas, but cannot outbid European or wealthier Asian countries. The availability of the food goes where the money is, and where there is no surplus of wealth, the people go hungry.

The situation might be remedied if everyone worked for free and made sure every other person had food without payment. That kind of global socialism though would mean that you would likely have no choices in what you ate or how much you were given – something that would apall most western-minded people. We want our choices and we want to go back for seconds. That, my friends is the spirit of gluttony at work in us, not in God, who provides land, plants, and animals to the entire world. It is our choices that make some go hungry.

Paul, in writing to the Christians at Colossae encourages them with these commands:

Colossians 4:2-5

Further Instructions

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

For Paul, who knew what it meant to go hungry and to have limited food options, the focus was on gratitude, contentment, and sharing. Words and deeds were opportunities to either reflect the selfless giving of Jesus Christ or the self-centered nature of sin. He commended the early Christians to be examples of the love of God, not examples of gluttony in our world today.

How do you show your gratitude for the life God has given you?

What luxury would be hardest for you to give up?

Who can you bless by giving to or sharing with them today?

7 Godly Sins? – the Sloth of God


7 Godly Sins? – the Sloth of God

If God lets tragedies and disasters happen which He could have prevented, is it Sloth?

Joshua 3:1-17

Israel Crosses the Jordan

Early in the morning Joshua rose and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites, and they came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, a distance of about two thousand cubits; do not come any nearer to it.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” To the priests Joshua said, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass on in front of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went in front of the people.

The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’ ” Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”

When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

There is a short comic strip that will ruin The Lord of the Rings for you with one glance. Whether you are a fan of the book or movies, it doesn’t matter. Despite Tolkien’s beautiful language and powerful imagination, some people have pointed out the major plot hole that the stories could have been 2 and ¾ books/movies shorter if they had just called the eagles to fly them over Mount Doom to begin with, instead of waiting until the very end. Here is a short video that explains why that would not work:

We can laugh and joke about ideas like this, but many have taken this same situation and applied it to God and His relationship to people in in our world. If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He just do all the work for us and save us from danger, toil, and snares. Wouldn’t he be considered slothful or lazy if He did not?

God wiped out the entire Egyptian army in one fell swoop. Why then did He make the Israelites carry His ark and fight their way into and through the Promised Land? These are valid questions…Good questions even. But they do not offer the complete picture. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves is it easier to give a man a fish and feed him for a day or to teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime? Most would say just feeding him is easier. Easier is not the same as better though, and the easier path often ends up being the path of sloth in the end.

It might be easier for parents to feed children through feeding tubes, keeping them locked in rooms, safe and secure from the world. Most would call that abuse though, not the kind of love that goes the extra mile. It is harder to let them go and grow, making their own decisions, and gradually allowing them to join in the work of the entire family. That is what I believe God is trying to do with us.

It means allowing us the freedom to try, even though God could always do better Himself. It is not because He desperately needs us to help Him. Rather I think it is that we desperately need to be a part of His work in this world to give our lives purpose. Even Jesus called the disciples to do things He could have easily done Himself. Here he asks them to go tell people about his resurrection, right before He planned on visiting them and showing them Himself. There is no logical necessity of the act from the perspective of just spreading the news about the resurrection. Jesus Himself was much more credible. But I think it was important for the growth and development of the disciples themselves.

Matthew 28:1-101

The Resurrection of Jesus

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Pointing our finger at the laziness of God regarding tragedy and disasters is a bit of a cop out if we are unable or unwilling to do anything to prevent or bring healing to them ourselves, and looking for sloth in God usually only exposes it in ourselves.

What is one thing you wish God would do for you today?

What have you done about that situation yourself?

What is one thing that God wishes you would do today?

  1. (Mk 16:1–8; Lk 24:1–12; Jn 20:1–10)

7 Godly Sins? – the Envy of God


7 Godly Sins? – the Envy of God

If God punishes people for believing in a different God, is it Envy?

Exodus 15:1-181

The Song of Moses

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.

The Lord is my strength and my might,

and he has become my salvation;

this is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The Lord is a warrior;

the Lord is his name.

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;

his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.

The floods covered them;

they went down into the depths like a stone.

Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—

your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.

In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;

you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.

At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up,

the floods stood up in a heap;

the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.

The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,

I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.

I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’

You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;

they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?

Who is like you, majestic in holiness,

awesome in splendor, doing wonders?

You stretched out your right hand,

the earth swallowed them.

“In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;

you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

The peoples heard, they trembled;

pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia.

Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;

trembling seized the leaders of Moab;

all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.

Terror and dread fell upon them;

by the might of your arm, they became still as a stone

until your people, O Lord, passed by,

until the people whom you acquired passed by.

You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession,

the place, O Lord, that you made your abode,

the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.

The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

Like many sins, love is often misconstrued as sin, and vice versa. Envy is one of those sins which is particularly susceptible to this misperception.

Looking at words or even watching actions from afar is often not enough to tell whether love is true or not. I can understand how someone could take a look at the 10 commandments and see envy present in God. After all, the first two commandments are about worshipping Him and Him alone. How could that not be envious?

Furthermore, the whole account of the Exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt is like one giant example of God punishing people for not following Him, both from the Egyptians as well as among the Hebrew people themselves. Moses sings about this in his song that retells their experience escaping Egypt.

What exactly does it mean to belong to a God?

According to the Baal worship in Canaan, which was actually a collection of regional gods worshipped in similar ways, sacrifices were made in worship ceremonies. Most of these sacrifices were of grain or livestock. This was not unlike the sacrifices the Hebrews would offer YHWH. These sacrifices show that the Baal’s favor must be bought with regular offerings.

After the sacrifices the community would engage in sexual acts as a depiction of this God, and sometimes goddess of fertility. While I’m sure there were some that enjoyed this part of the service, I’m also sure that not everyone was their of their own choice. Young boys and girls were likely initiated into this practice against their will, the same way the are trafficked all over the world today.

In some cases, it was even worse. Gods like Dagon and Molech often demanded child sacrifices, burned along with their food offerings. Over time it would be understood by the people that everything they had, their bodies, and even their lives belonged to that God. They were slaves of a hungry, envious God.

YHWH was different though. He did not ask to have his favor earned ever. He asked only for gratitude for what He had already done. He forbade all human sacrifices and community sexual exploits. God’s laws were set up not so He would possess us, but so that His people would choose him each day.

Let’s look at those first two commandments from another perspective.

If a parent tells their children not to get into cars with strangers, we all understand that as a desire to keep the children safe, not to prevent them from possibly going home and being adopted by someone richer and/or more loving. We applaud that act and call it good parenting. Does that make them jealous of the affection of their children. Not necessarily. Or if a person sees children caught in an abusive situation or being neglected and wants to help them out by getting custody of them, does that make them envious? Not necessarily. In some cases it might be envy that is motivating the would-be caregivers, but often it is compassion instead.

I expect it is the term “caregiver” that makes the difference between envy and love. Is your God providing care or just asking for your devotion. Is your God demanding payment for services rendered, or merely looking for gratitude. This is what set God apart from all others in the Old Testament and it is what set Jesus apart from all the false teachers and messiahs in the New Testament as well.

What does your God ask of you?

What does your God provide for you?

  1. (Ex 14:13–14; Ps 78:12–14)

7 Godly Sins? – Wrath of God


7 Godly Sins? – the Wrath of God

If God destroys people for not obeying Him is it Wrath?

Psalm 118:14-24

The Lord is my strength and my might;

he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:

“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;

the right hand of the Lord is exalted;

the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”

I shall not die, but I shall live,

and recount the deeds of the Lord.

The Lord has punished me severely,

but he did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,

that I may enter through them

and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;

the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me

and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the Lord’s doing;

it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I stumbled across this image1 this evening and intend to spend this week, looking at scripture and our common human experience regarding these so-named “Godly Sins”. I am not an apologist and typically feel that God does not need me to defend His good name… He does just fine Himself. However, these thoughts resonated with me, and several of them I have thought myself before. As Ecclesiastes reminds us, “…there is nothing new under the sun.”

The first sin, is God’s wrath, which is particularly relevant this Easter season as we proclaim that God’s wrath was poured out upon Jesus. I won’t spend time spouting subjective opinions about the difference between the word wrath and anger. Does God get upset? Yes. Maybe all the time. It happens in both the Old and New Testament. God is not a round Buddhist monk in the sky pondering His navel. He cares for the world and everyone in it as the most loving parent cares for her children, and you better believe there is anger when those children are being killed every day – particularly when they are being killed simply because they love God or because they are unable to defend themselves. The quickest way to get your ticket punched in a bad way is to go after orphans and widows.

Even God’s own chosen people were punished for their misdeeds. Many of them (most all of them I believe) had opportunity to repent, and often some of the harshest punishments occurred when God’s own miraculous provision and deliverance was met with ingratitude or worse – the desire to take advantage of others. Let me give you a modern example. I have heard personal testimony about ministries that go overseas to help young women get out of the sex trafficking industry and help give them skills to make a living without selling their bodies. In more than one occasion, some of these women – who now experience the freedom and provision provided by God from the abuse they suffered as a child, go back and buy a young boy or girl and begin renting them out as a sex slave for money – thus making extra profit while remaining clear themselves.

How would you judge such a person? Oh, perhaps you do not judge, you might think. Would you befriend such a person? Would you do business with them? If they were working in the school system, would you let your children attend that school. Or would you instead judge them guilty and disconnect any relationship with them whatsoever?

God is the source of all life. When He disconnects from someone and stops actively blessing them, life ends and the consequences for sin (death) rushes in. I would argue, that every second someone, who is actively others, remains alive is another second that God’s mercy has tempered His judgment with punishment accorded them to lead them out of that destructive life and into a life that blesses others instead of tearing them apart. By my own standards, I think God lets some people live too long. But here is why…

God does not look upon only Christians, of Jews, or Muslims, or “good” people as His children. He loves every one of us. So, this is not like a parent whose kids are getting hurt by the neighbors or strangers passing through. God sees the mess of our world as his own children, like Cain and Abel killing each other in their own wrath and judgment. How it must break His heart to see us! Even in that case, where Cain rightly deserved death according to the “eye for an eye” rule of the great early lawmakers, God did not kill him but merely punished him by preventing him from enjoying that blessing of family he so easily rejected by killing his own brother.

Likewise, the psalmist above recounts not just God’s blessing but the punishment they faced as well and the way it helped lead them to a better path. They were grateful for it. If you don’t think God punishes us before we die and face the consequences of Hell, you are either living an over-privileged life or you are not in touch with reality. God’s wrath, as per the Bible, has far less to do with dying and going to hell and far more with the consequences of sin in our daily life here on earth. Without it, we are left with a God who could simply care less about us.

I think the crucifixion is a little oversimplified when we look at it as nothing more than Jesus taking God’s wrath for us. God was merciful in the Old Testament long before Jesus was born. For me at least, that crucifixion is a better example of our wrath poured out against God, slaughtering His only Son because we were not getting what we wanted from Him. Jesus gives His own take on it here:

Luke 20:9-192

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean:

‘The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone’?

Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.

When have you experienced God’s wrath?

How has it changed you?

  1. [Indeed+dog_027882_4149050]: http://static.fjcdn.com/pictures/Indeed+dog_027882_4149050.jpg
  2. (Mt 21:33–46; Mk 12:1–12)