Roar of the lion

You are taking a leisurely stroll, or a trek through tough wild terrain. Suddenly you see a hungry lion in front of you. He opens his huge jaws with a roar, baring his teeth, how would you feel? (No cheating, you're not a vet and you don't have access to any anaesthetic agents, no restraints, no cage, just the lion and you with your bare hands.)

"The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem..." - Amos 1:2

In Amos God is likened to a roaring lion. Israel at the time was prosperous, experiencing a time of peace and wealth. They had "beds inlaid with ivory" and dined on "choice lambs and fattened calves", strummed away on harps, drank wine "by the bowlful" and used the "finest lotions". They took pride and security in all that they had. They even conducted religious ceremonies, brought sacrifices and tithes; but they exploited the poor, ignored justice, and were corrupt. For their sins God warned that he was about to bring destruction and disaster on his people. Amos urged the people to heed God's warning. I find it strange that I have fear imagining a wild angry lion, or a terrible earthquake, but feel apathetic or dismissive about God's wrath.

The lion has roared - who will not fear?
The Sovereign Lord has spoken - who can but prophesy? - Amos 3:8

If God roared, how would you feel? What's our image of God? Pastors sometimes mention how churches today emphasise (overemphasise?) on the appealing qualities of God. The gentle Jesus, the forgiving Father, the all embracing, all accepting, all loving God. God of the Bible has great love, but also is holy, just, with fierce wrath against sin. Even in the New Testament, "the wages of sin is death".

God is untameable. Consider God's dialogue with Job:

Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God, yet his Maker can approach him with his sword. - Job 41:15-19

Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'? Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind? - Job 38:31-36

It's easy to picture the grandfather with a long beard, or the good natured Santa Claus - as some authors put it, a "safe" God. And incredibly difficult, in our society, in our time, to see God as God. Perhaps that's why I find it incredibly difficult to understand why Isaiah cried "I am ruined!" when he saw God seated on the throne, or why Moses and later the Israelites hid their face from God because they were afraid. Not being able to understand the great wrath of God, means I often can't grasp the full significance of the cross and the great grace it brings. Why would anyone feel excited about the good news of Jesus if they didn't see their sins, or if they didn't understand how a holy and just God views sin?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. - Proverbs 9:10



Design in CSS by TemplateWorld and sponsored by SmashingMagazine
Blogger Template created by Deluxe Templates