A meditation on the fear of God:
“There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways, or stay in its paths. “
“God destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it?”
“If only I knew where to find God. . . I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.”
“God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.”
“If you say, ‘How should we seek to correct this man, since the root of the trouble lies in him, you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword,and then you will know that there is judgment.”
“The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing.”
“God deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.”
“What God tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released.
If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his.”
“God is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.”
All the quotes above are of from Job in the Book of Job. I think some Christians (Mormon and traditional) miss something when they don’t see God in a more terrifying way. The fear of this God is the beginning of wisdom. Each of the photos above depicts the sort of death suffered by Jesus, and the justice of the fate suffered by Job. For some like me, if we can’t see the sin in mankind that God created, we won’t see the need for salvation.
This post is really powerful..
Terribly sad, but great post.
Gruesome. But you are right in that we need to fear God. As we see in Galatians, God is not mocked.
Isis, religious racism, warmongering is the mockery of God. I think the point of Job is that God is mocked, and the good suffer. Reality in itself is not our friend, the only “truth” in these situations is Christ.
I think the point of Job is to put our faith in God even when the world around us sucks. Yes, there is evil, and there is going to be bad things, but we are to be faithful through it all. I think the conclusion you make that God is mocked is off. God still punishes those who are evil, and the atrocities we see in this life and in these photos will pail in comparison with what God dishes out in the next life.
I do agree that we have to recognize what sin will bring us, because in sin we mock God and bring about his wrath.
I do think many churches don’t go there much, not because they don’t believe it, but because its not a message people like to hear.
I think the point of Job is that God’s wrath is around whether or not we are perfectly good and refrain from mocking. Job is not worrying about the next life, he is puzzled about this one.
Why wouldn’t he be puzzled about this life? Yet, he trusts in God all through it, despite the crap he endures.
Can you ever be perfectly good, Jared?
Job’s argument was that he did keep the law. God did not correct him, but showed that God was not comprehensible in the way that Job expected God to be, and that Job’s understanding of God was too narrow, even though it was clearer than that of his friends.
I’m not going to discuss the law, as that is a rabbit trail leading to a discussion we’ve had many a times here, just in the last few months alone in various striped.
But… was Job faithful to God? And can you ever be perfectly good, even if we accept the law, can we follow it 100% faithfully always?
“Though he slay me…I will worship Him.”
The Book of Job is absolutely terrifying to me.
There should be a comfort in that.
True, the message of the Book of Job allows me to take the Bible and Christianity seriously.
There are parts that should terrify us. However, the end result is Job’s full recognition of God’s power and sovereignty, and with that, a restoration of Job’s fortunes.
I think the book shows us at least a couple of things, including a normal reaction from someone who had much and then had much taken away. Job got angry and said, “What have I done and why are you doing these things to me?” (Worth noting that it was Satan who did them, not God.) While Job never doubted God’s place, he did not get God’s purposes and the extent of his power. He complained about it and he challenged God to prove where he did something wrong. Job told God: “Look at what I have done!” But God challenged Job with: “Who dares challenge me when I am bigger than Leviathan?” God basically told Job that he is in charge of everything, and everything is his, and Job was in no place to correct or question God.
When Job recognized that, and his own depravity in his despair, he was restored to his previous position, with even more.
I think our reaction to such calamities is often quite similar to Job’s. I am not sure God condemned Job for being upset or saddened by his condition, but he loathed that Job dare question God’s authority. We are to remember that now.
I also think it shows that faith is what matters, not works. In Ch. 42, the pinnacle to Job’s reaction, he says this:
“5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
He’s saying, “I get it now”. It was his a-ha moment. What is he repenting of? I would urge that it is the selfishness and narrowness in how he viewed God and himself. There’s nothing else in the text to suggest it is anything else. His life had been true to God in many ways, but he never really got it until he went through this. In the same way, we need to ensure our faith is not some intellectual exercise and make sure it is real and authentic, and that we recognize God’s place above us and not question that relationship.
Anway, in many ways you are right to be terrified. God’s wrath can be devastating. However, just the same, his blessing immense, as Job himself experienced.
In this life, there is no (lasting) rest, peace, or victory.
We will be restored…but not in this life…and not because of our faithfulness…only because of His faithfulness to us.
I’m currently reading Job and it is an amazing piece of literature
Horrible & gruesome photos.
It amazes me that some people can cause or partake of such evil and sleep at night. This is ultimately the power of Satan: the complete destruction of love for fellow man and God.
“And whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” – 1 John 3: 15
My pastor often says, “The evil in the world is all about. “The day is evil.”
But what about the evil that is with you?”
Christ has answered our evil…our murderous ways (“if you hate your brother, you are a murderer”)…with the Cross. And forgiveness for us…the ungodly ones.
Yes, the images are horrifying in their graphic nature but to me, through them, you captured well these ideas that words by themselves may not be able to convey: the biblical God is indeed, terrifying to the finite, human mind. A being without beginning nor end, sovereign, with power, might and intelligence we cannot begin to comprehend. And holy. With a sense of justice that is immutable and inflexible. I think that what we can somewhat, better understand about God, was manifested to us in the person of Jesus.
It is very hard to see ourselves in the place of the perpetrators of such atrocities but the terrible reality about human beings is that, without the cleansing of Christ’s blood to pay for our reconciliation with God, this is how God sees us also, mortally contaminated with the very same evil, and deserving of the same punishment.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace
you have been saved—” Ephesians 2:1-4