Thursday, July 4, 2024

God Gets Angry

We all are members of one family, brothers and sisters in Christ. For years, we have called each other "Brother Bob" and "Sister Judy." We have greeted each other with the warmth of the family and sat together at the family table, sharing the bread and the wine. 

God's people have always been a family. From very early on, when God met Abraham, He became the God of generations - always the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of fathers. But then with Jacob, who became Israel, and his twelve sons, God became the God of brothers. 

And so He is today. 

This lends a new understanding to some of the Old Testament narratives that are too easy for us to read right past. 

In the OT, Israel had a series of kings. These kings were often succeeded by their sons, which is the way most human societies have done it for a very long time. Occasionally, someone would be ousted, murdered, overthrown and someone entirely new would come in, and sometimes, it wasn't the eldest son that took over, but largely, a son would succeed his father as king. 

In the midst of all of this, there are a few narratives in the histories and chronicles of the kings where we see a son, chosen or not chosen by his father, intend to make the throne securely his, and he kills all of his brothers. Such was the case of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat. 

Jehoshaphat did a very prudent thing and gave each of his sons an inheritance, making them governors across the kingdom even while making Jehoram the next king. But Jehoram wasn't having it; he didn't want to have to fight in the family order all the time, so...he killed all of his brothers. All of them. 

When the prophet Elijah writes a letter to Jehoram condemning his reign, one of the grievances God has is that "you have murdered your brothers, your own family, who were better men than you" (2 Chronicles 21:13). 

We read this and we think it's about family. And it is. But remember, in the New Testament, Jesus made us all brothers and sisters. 

God, in 2 Chronicles, through the prophet, is talking to all of us. 

He's telling us - He gets angry when we hurt our brothers. 

He gets angry when we don't let others have their place in the world. He gets angry when we let jealousy and insecurity turn us against those we are supposed to love. He gets angry when we've been given our portion and decide that it's not enough, that we need everyone else's portion, too. 

He gets angry when we fail to love our brothers and when we take their very life (not necessarily physically) away from them. 

We are brothers and sisters in the Lord, and this matters. It means that every time the Bible talks about brothers or sisters or families, God's not just talking about those born from the same flesh as you; He's talking about those born from the same Father. And that's everyone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment