Damariscotta Baptist Church
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

05/13/18 Sermon - Uh-Oh! God's Angry!

“Uh-Oh! God’s Angry!”

Isaiah 9:8 - 10:4

Quite a few things stuck out to me as I read this passage and the first thing was how God remained angry. We live in an era where the description of God is love, and for God to get angry seems out of place. It is even more unusually for us to read that not only was God angry, but that He continued to be angry and His hand was still upraised. I don’t know about you, but when a father is angry with an upraised hand, I have learned by experience to duck and watch out! To read this four times in a row, was a bit disconcerting. My initial response was to get down on my knees and say “I repent!” Then I started to wonder, “What happened to the God who is full of compassion and slow to anger, Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:15?” So I began to research the anger of God and here are some things I discovered.

  1. First off, we need to avoid the idea that God’s being angry is just an Old Testament view, and now that we have the New Testament, and we have Jesus, that God is a God of love. This is a false idea, because in both the New Testament and the Old Testament God and Jesus express anger. We get angry too. We are created in the image of God and anger is an emotion that is real.

  2. The second thing we need to recognize is that just because we may be suffering, does not mean God is angry with us. The good and the bad happen to all people. If a drunk driver swerves and kills a member of my family it does not mean that God is angry with me.

  3. Finally, we cannot place the natural cause and effect nature of existence as the anger of God. Take gravity for example. Things fall, that is just the way things are. The ground is not angry with you if you step out of a twenty story window and fall to the ground.

Reality is this, God is love and God does get angry. The two can co-exist. His love is part of His being. Yet, unlike some earthly fathers, he is not some tyrant with a hair trigger temper. However, He truly cares for His creation and cares about what His children do to themselves. So when we destroy the potential and violate the personhood of those around us, God gets angry. This is not an anger that comes from being selfish or a temper tantrum because things didn’t go the way He thought it should. God’s heart gets broken when we do things that violate His dream for His creation, and especially when we violate the very nature He has given us.

All this to say, that Israel, namely Judah at this point in our reading, shouldn’t be worried about the Assyrians, but they should be more concerned with their relationship with the Holy One of Israel.

There lies the problem.

Isaiah presents the four “real” reasons they are being attacked and conquered by the Assyrians, and the reasons have to do with their ethical behavior and the turning of their back on the covenant they had with Yahweh.

The first charge Isaiah states was that Israel was “arrogant.” Instead of being humble before their God, the Israelites attempted to exalt themselves.

The second charge was the uplifting of great men, instead of turning back to the Lord.

The third charge was the lack of brotherly love. Various tribes attacked each other in a bloodbath, resulting in killing each other.

The fourth charge was that of social injustice, where everyone was looking out solely for themselves.

This is where another thought struck me as I read through today’s Scripture.

Again, what have we learned from history? When I listen to news these four things are prominent on a daily basis:

  • Arrogance or lack of humility

  • Men are deemed as “our savior”

  • Lack of brotherly or sisterly love

  • Social injustice

Again, my immediate response is to go to my knees in prayer and repentance.

So, let’s do so, right now.


Let’s go back to our passage for today,

Verses 8-12, focuses on the arrogance of the northern kingdom of Israel who thinks they are capable of rebuilding and replacing their country on their own.

But the Lord uses the strength of Israel’s foes to come against them.  The Lord brings in the Arameans and Philistines to devour Israel, because of their unholy pride.

In verses 13-17, we discover that instead of putting God, as their true source of glory, Israel praises its leaders as those who can somehow achieve superhuman things. Well, inevitably humans fail. Not to mention, God declared He will cut Israel off, completely, from their head to their toes, because they refuse to repent.

Wickedness prevails, our third section, verses 18-21, demonstrates a breakdown of social structure as a result of sin burning up the land, verse 18, and God’s righteousness adds tinder to the flame, verse 19. The Assyrians attack, and everyone scrambles to survive, and they end up doing anything they can to save their own neck, including robbing their neighbor or even their brother. In a world where self reigns supreme, even one’s offspring are susceptible.

The fourth section describes the result of the first three. In a world where human arrogance, the lifting up of human leaders and one’s family structure was under destruction, justice did not prevail. The poor and the helpless were unable to survive.  God’s anger rages more against those who consciously use the legal system to oppress the poor to make themselves rich, chapter 10, verses 1-2. Ultimately, God says that all the riches obtained will do no good when the enemy comes. Captivity will not discriminate.

What significance does this passage have for us today?

How do we make sure these four things are not prevalent in our lives today.

Let’s start with the first one - arrogance vs. humility.

Where is the line between “decent self-respect” and pride?

It all depends on the basis of your self-respect or pride. Pride has the letter “i” in the middle, and whenever we think too much of ourselves, whether too highly or too lowly, we are focusing on “I.” We are making ourselves, the center of our world, which by the way is what our culture recommends. But God says we need to surrender to His love and put Christ first. When we admit that in ourselves dwells no good thing, Romans 7:18

“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

We will be able to claim, Philippians 4:13

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

What about putting leaders as our saviors?

Something happens to humans when they gain authority. It can so easily go to their heads. They can quickly begin to think their prestige and power is a right rather than a privilege.

Soon they are governing not for the governed but for themselves. If we are a leader, may we acknowledge our dependence on God and if we are the governed may we see our leaders as humans, and keep them in prayer.

The third deals with brotherly love. Jesus gave us a distinctive mark to determine whether we were one of His disciples, John 13:35

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

He didn’t say everyone will know we are His disciples because we have sound doctrine, or evangelistic fervor, or joyous worship, but that we love one another. Churches are well known for “biting and devouring” one another. One of the things legendary about the church of Jesus Christ is “church fights.” Let’s face it, most church fights are more about some issue relating to style, decoration or habit, that one or more people think is “right.” This demonstrates the absence of surrender of my will to Christ.

The only way to demonstrate love for one another as Christ loved us is to nail my way to the cross for your sake. Ouch!

The final topic is that of social injustice. Don’t get me started! But what I have come to realize is that most people I talk to feel they do not have a direct involvement in practices of social injustice. They are not foreclosing on the mortgage of a widow, or requiring an orphan to work for no pay, or taking payoffs from a lawyer of a crook to deny the claims of a small time plaintiff. Maybe not, but can we answer this question with clear conscience?

Am I involved in oppression of those more helpless than me?

Are you in a position of power?

Are you putting others down in some way for your own convenience?

What about help at home?

Are you treating those who work for you on your lawn, or cleaning or child care fairly? Or do they feel taken advantage of by you?

Are you involved with institutions that profit from oppression? When is the minimum wage the wrong wage? Each of us has an obligation to ask what we can do to address injustice where we live. Even if we make a just a little difference, it will be something, which is better than nothing.

Had Israel listened to Isaiah and returned to placing God as their refuge and their strength, history would have been quite different. Today, is no different. May we listen to Isaiah, may we recognize that God is angry, and repent. As Christians we need to live by God’s Word, and remember, when live gets difficult,  we need to first focus on our relationship with God, then we can do this through Him who gives us strength.

Let’s pray.