Jessica here is establishing a parallel between
Jessica Casebolt Foundations 111 Henkle 9/22/11 Throughout the Bible, we see many different qualities in our God. Several attitudes surface within the events of its history. Throughout time, people have debated these attitudes and their origins because often, like in the books of Exodus, Hosea, and Amos, there are several examples of how God is compassionate and forgiving while He is also vindictive and demanding. So, what kind of God is He? This can be illustrated in the story of the Israelites. We see a very compassionate, loving God in the book of Exodus.Earlier he had released the Israelites from bondage to Egypt, and now He is establishing a promised land, the land of Canaan, for them to live in perfect harmony by and with Him as a reward for keeping their covenant.
“…you shall utterly demolish them your enemies and break their pillars to pieces. You shall worship the Lord your God and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you. No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. (23. 24-26) God loves once again in Exodus just after the Israelites had escaped the land of Egypt and camped in Sinai. This is the place where the Lord spoke to Moses and said, “…You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
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Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a hold nation. ” (19. -6) This is God’s promise to the people of Israel saying He will love and protect them just as you would your ‘treasured possession. ’ This passage reflects on God’s longing for a relationship with the chosen country and a desire to bless them in ways they cannot fathom. God expresses his love in Hosea through redemption.
“…Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord. ” (1. 2) God, speaking to Hosea here is establishing a parallel between the adulterous relationship between Hosea and his ‘wife of whoredom’ to God and Israel.In essence, the country of Israel had participated in spiritual ‘whoring’ by worshiping false Gods. But, with the incredible forgiveness of a loving husband, God was willing to take his unfaithful wife back, Israel. After a period of discipline and punishment, Israel would be reunited with her true husband, God. “And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice in steadfast love, and in mercy.
I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord. ” (2. 9-20) God’s forgiveness provided a way for Israel to reunite with God and experience His love once again. Adversely, chapter twenty three of Exodus illustrates the promise of Canaan and the demanding nature of God. This land had to be earned by the chosen people of God.
The Israelites were expected to uphold the conditions set out in the covenant which included the Ten Commandments and other forms of behavior explained in chapter twenty one concerning slavery, violence, property, and restitution. God expected this from the Israelites.Later, in Hosea chapter 1 verses 3-7, we find the punishments for the adulterous wife’s actions that exhibit God’s vengefulness against the Israelites. God will strip her naked and expose her, make her like a wilderness and a parched land to kill her with thirst, have vengeance against her children, take from her the bread, water, wool, flax, oil, and drink that was always provided by her lovers, render her path unnavigable, and make her lovers unattainable. Here, God is showing his wrath against the sinner. Gomer, the adulterous wife, is representative of the Israelite nation.
They can rest assured because of the precedent set here, that they will suffer the same severity of punishment. God’s unforgiving nature is shown in the book of Amos through Amos’ detailed explanation of the disciplinary action that will surely befall Israel, Judah, and Israel’s neighbors. The Israelites rejoice that the condemnation is not initially falling their way in Amos’ teachings, but they are disappointed as Amos soon thereafter illustrates the sins of their nation and allocates the same punishment to the chosen nation as what was given to their neighbors. … he said: The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds wither, and the top of Carmel dries up.
” (1. 2) This told the people that suffering will come, and God has almighty power. They will suffer for their sins because of God’s demanding standards and anger against them.
Another example in Amos of a vindictive God is evident in the explanation of “The Day of the Lord. ” The Israelites were acting as hypocritical Christians in the fact that they were pretending to worship God while sinning against Him regularly with no emorse or quest for forgiveness. They would attend services only to save face. Amos 5:21 describes the illegitimate religious practices and customs of the Israelites and explains how God has no interest in receiving their worship and praise because of its corruption, so later in the chapter, God says “You shall take up Sakkuth you king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images, which you made for yourselves; therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus…”(5. 6-27) He will withhold no judgment on them for it is their crime against the covenant in which they will suffer through exile.
In conclusion, we find that throughout the Bible, God is far wiser than we could ever hope to be. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. So, analysis of His behavior becomes somewhat frivolous because of its complexity. He is known to work in mysterious ways.
One thing we can discern absolutely is that as our creator, God holds a deep love for each individual as we see in His desperate attempts to regain the loyalty of Israel and his reference to them in Exodus 19:5 as his “treasured possession. ” Even though He holds the position of disciplinarian, every action is done for the benefit of the people. Rules like the Ten Commandments established in the covenant are purely set to provide us with the best experiences through because of a loyal, righteous relationship with God.