God Behaving Badly

There is a book by this title by David Lamb, who points out that the nature of God has been portrayed as Angry, Sexist and Racist.

However, Lamb said that the God of the Old Testament was fascinating to him. “He (God) became really angry, but was also extraordinarily patient. He seemed to view women and wives as property, but He also selected women as spiritual and political leaders over the nation of Israel. He commanded Israel to vanquish the Canaanites, but also to care for the poor, the widows, the orphans and the foreigners.”

Lamb goes on to say “Interestingly, the people in the Old Testament who knew God best desperately desired to be with Him….Enoch and Noah; Abraham and Jacob; Moses; Deborah and Hannah; David and Solomon; and Elijah and Elisha. These individuals must have understood something about God that we don’t.”

When God’s beloved Adam and Eve, decided to disobey Him, they suffered greatly. According to Lamb, even though God uttered a curse upon them, his behavior in Genesis 2 and 3 reveals his opposition to their effects. The consequences involved great pain in childbirth and burdensome toil for the man. After the curses, God made the work of man and the woman easier by creating clothes for them and then helping them get dressed (Gen. 3:21).

The negative consequences of the curse aren’t meant to be accepted. God himself acted to overcome them. Most significantly, within the curses themselves, God declared how he would ultimately defeat the curses through the offspring of the woman.

Just as God resists the repercussions, we also attempt to diminish their effects. We reduce pain at childbirth with epidurals. We make it easier to harvest crops with combine harvesters. Most people perceive these modern innovations as good things, even though they diminish the effects of the curse.

Perhaps it is misunderstanding of the true nature and character of God that gets in the way of eager anticipation of His return and being in His Presence. And apathy about having an encounter with Him could be a hindrance.

The Real Character and Heart of God

The truth is that God wants to be with us. He wants to lavish His love upon us….to drown us in it. The father of the prodigal son in the bible clearly demonstrates God’s heart. Even though his son had basically spit in his face, abandoned all he was taught by his father, and lived in filth and depravity, he humbled himself out of desperation and came crawling home. He was hoping to be taken back only as servant.

prodigalimages-5According to Lamb, “In the first century, a Middle Eastern man never — ever — ran. If he were to run, he would have to hitch up his tunic so he would not trip. If he did this, it would show his bare legs. In that culture, it was humiliating and shameful for a man to show his bare legs.

So, here’s the question: If it was shameful for a man to run in that culture, why did the father run when his son returned to him? What motivated him to shame himself? Before we answer that question, we have to understand an important first-century tradition.”

Kenneth Bailey, author of The Cross & the Prodigal, explains that “if a Jewish son lost his inheritance among Gentiles, and then returned home, the community would perform a ceremony, called the kezazah. They would break a large pot in front of him and yell, ‘You are now cut off from your people!’ The community would totally reject him. So, why did the father run? He probably ran in order to get to his son before he entered the village. The father runs — and shames himself — in an effort to get to his son before the community gets to him, so that his son does not experience the shame and humiliation of their taunting and rejection.”

God, out of His holiness and justice, will unequivocally judge the depraved indifference of humankind, along with their dismissiveness of Him. He is tough. But He is a Father who will run to us if we humble ourselves and cry out for mercy. He will cover our shame. He is tender. He has sacrificed His beloved Son. He longs for us to fall into His arms.

He is coming soon. If you’re asleep, wake up. Trim your lamps. Make no mistake….#Thebridegroomcometh.

3 thoughts on “God Behaving Badly

  1. It is amazing how much better my days are when I meditate on His beauty and when I focus on His faithfulness, His goodness, His steadfastness in directing my path, and His other attributes. He is always with us and I am so grateful for that comforting thought.


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