Now that homosexual marriage is the law of the land, many claim thatis red-faced with wrath. His ire is boiling over they say and we should expect His fire and brimstone to wipe us out in a flash of merciless judgment any second now. Many portray God as watching from heaven and is just waiting for the moment that he can rain down his wrath on this ungrateful and lawless world.
What we actually see in the Bible more than anything is awho is brokenhearted and saddened by what his creation is doing. He is saddened just like I, as a father, am sad when my kids are mean to each other. God is grieved just like I am when my kids fight and hit each other. Unfortunately, by speaking of the righteousness and splendor of God, we have also painted him as a wooden, austere, and emotionless judge who is only concerned with meting out justice. We have this notion that He is impervious to sadness or feeling pain. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
God made us in His image and in His likeness and therefore the emotions that we have (with the exception of fear) are the same that God feels. Before the flood, God felt intense sadness and grief at having made mankind – He was heartbroken because of their wicked and cruel actions. He agonized and was deeply distressed at what the beings that he created were doing.
Imagine if you were a brilliant scientist who could create intelligent, self-determining robots that had feelings. Would you not be sick to your stomach if they started abusing and murdering each other? Would you not be grieved in your soul and greatly burdened that the things you created to bring joy to you and to each other, had instead chosen to cheat, slander, maim, torture, and kill each other? Would you also not be racked with sorrow when you concluded that their choices had also polluted their very essence, their actual DNA and basically there was no undoing what they had done? That is the pain that God felt.
To understand God’s relationship with Israel and the pain that He felt, imagine that you fall in love with a young woman who later gets sold into slavery. You rescue her against all odds. You scale mighty mountains; you pass through dangerous dales, and even defeat dreadful dragons. You have rescued your love at great cost to yourself but it was all worth it to save your true love. You sweep her away from her chains and prison and you two wed.
At your wedding, you exchange vows covenanting to be faithful and to love only each other. You proudly declare that she is your chosen, your special treasure in all the earth and that there is none as precious as her. You also promise her riches, children, peace, and joy, all that she could ever want. As part of your vows, she promises not to have any other men in her life, but to be wholly set apart for you! She promises to not to have any pictures, videos, or keepsakes of any other guys in her possession, via email or on Facebook; she is going to think about you and you alone. As husband and wife, your names and reputations are now mingled as one: your name and reputation becomes hers and hers becomes yours. Whatever either of you do from now one, whether good or evil, will directly reflect on the other. Hence, you promise to honor and exalt her name and she promises to honor and exalt your name.
Then you promise to set aside one day in seven that will be a special day for the two of you. You promise that you will make it special for her in that she won’t have to work…she can just relax, sleep in, lounge around, kick back without a care in the world because you have taken care of everything. It is to be a day where you can grow in your relation to one another. You can talk to each other and share your hearts in a way that is distinct from the rest of the week.
In addition to these vows, you share with her your recipe for how to treat others which will lead to a successful and abundant life. Your formula is revolutionary because it is outwardly focused and not inwardly focused. It is concerned with how to treat others in a way that you would want to be treated. It always seeks the other’s good and their highest. You tell her that if you follow this formula it will lead to life and blessings but if she doesn’t that it will lead to pain, sorrow, curses, and ultimately death. She eagerly agrees to follow your formula knowing that you have her highest in mind as well. You then kiss your bride.
A great feast is held to celebrate the momentous occasion. After some time, she disappears and you can’t find her. After searching with an anxious heart, you sadly discover that she was in the room of an old lover. You are crushed, brokenhearted, and distraught. How could you true love do this? You promised. She promised. In fact, her unfaithfulness was on your very wedding day! How could she? Your sadness turns to anger at her unfaithfulness. You consider leaving her that very moment…but then you have pity on her. It was her upbringing after all; her parents were very poor role models and they cheated on each other from day one. She literally has never seen a good relationship. So, you decide to forgive and forget. However, already your enemies have heard what happened. You know that they will use it someday to slander you.
You then move into your new house and begin making it your home. You have children, you share wonderful moments. You are providing abundantly as promised. She on the other hand, has never quite overcome the tendency to see other guys. There have been many times during your marriage that you have had to simply look away and pretend not to notice. Of course, each time, it breaks your heart. But you are kind and patient. You really want it to work out between you so you just put up with it. However, a day comes when you notice that money begins disappearing from the bank account. You ask her about it but she denies any knowledge. Eventually, you discover that not only is she seeing other men but she is actually paying her lovers to be with her! At this point you are beside yourself. How in the world did this happen? Adultery is bad enough. Her receiving money from others as a prostitute would be worse. But no! Your wife is actually paying others to sleep with her! You confront her about it and tell her that this activity has to stop. You have become the laughing stock of the town. Everyone knows what your wife is up to. When you walk by you can hear their snickering. “Nice wife you got there!” One person shouts. “Thanks for the money,” another shouts. You look at another of the jesters and you are dumbfounded when you see the one of a kind necklace that you bought your wife on your anniversary on the neck of another man’s wife; your wife has paid her lovers with the precious keepsakes that you bought her. It isn’t just the money, but that it was something that you gave especially to her. Not only that, but she has actually murdered many of the children that she had from these illicit relationships. Finally, you can take no more. You have been married for decades and she has not changed one bit but has actually grown more destitute. With great sorrow you decide that it is over though in your heart, you vow to find a way to restore the woman you once knew and loved.
So you file the divorce papers and excise her from your will. Neither she, nor the children that she birthed from her many lovers will have any part of you or your estate. They are cut off completely. Oh how your heart aches! The wife of your youth is gone. Your home is not the same.
After some time, you find a way to bring her back to you if she is willing to turn away from all of the evil that she committed. You find a way to annul the wickedness if she will just admit her fault and promise not to do it again. When you exchanged vows there were some stipulations that you both agreed to. In your covenant, you both agreed that if she were found guilty of adultery, then you had the right to divorce her. If she became another man’s wife and the same thing happened that he found her guilty of adultery and sent her away, then she could not remarry you because it would pollute the land and bring a curse. You grin because you have thought up an amazing plan that will allow her to remarry you and will cancel the blood oath you both made in your marriage covenant. You pause for a moment, because, while your plan will resolve everything, it will come at tremendous cost to you.
Your plan is to die and then come back to life. By dying, you will cancel all consequences and curses that she incurred by having committed adultery when you were married under your marriage covenant. If you die, you reason, she will no longer be considered an adulterer because the law of the marriage is until “death do us part.” Hence if you die, then she is free to remarry! The trouble is, you want her to be your wife again and not another’s. So, the second part of your plan is to actually come back to life. The cool thing is that you found a way to do that. So, you then prepare for the big day. You die as planned and the curses that she was under, because she violated your marriage covenant, are cancelled! She is no longer legally an adulterer. All the penalties and curses of the law of marriage are cancelled through your death. Part one is finished. When you come back to life, you and she can now remarry! All that is required on her part is to acknowledge her former adultery and promise not to do it again. If she will do those two things, then you promise to take her back and return her to her former position as your bride. The handwriting that was against her is literally destroyed through your death.
So, rather than picture God as angry and wrathful; picture him in your mind as brokenhearted and disappointed because of the choices that we as a country are making. Homosexuality, adultery, murder, stealing, slander, lust, and so many other behaviours are the same behaviours that Judah was committing when God said, “I was crushed by their unfaithful heart which turned from me and by their eyes which lusted after their idols… [and] of all their abominable practices.” (Ezek 6:9) You see, God was brokenhearted by Judah because she (and her northern sister Israel) were committing adultery through the harmful, destructive, and yes, offensive things they were doing. Just like back then, He isn’t looking to throw down the hammer because He has anger management issues; rather He is genuinely hurt and sad over what we are doing. He wants us to turn from our destructive path. So rather than focus on having to change to avoid judgment, let’s do those things pleasing to God because we don’t want to break the heart of our Father any longer.