Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 22, 1951

Our God A Severe God

Forrest D. Moyer, Tucumcari, New Mexico

That our God is a living, loving God has been proven. It is our purpose at this time to prove that although God is a God of love, He is also severe. There are many people who aver that their god is too good to punish any one. Their god does not care what they believe or do, just as long as they are sincere. This is a counterfeit god and not the true God of the Bible. "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut oft" (Rom. 11:22) Truly, the God of the Bible is a loving God, but He is a God of severity.

This admonition was given to Israel: "Take heed unto yourselves let ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God." (Deut. 4:23-24) We can never doubt that God's dealings with Israel were manifestations of love, but His severity is also shown in these dealings. Paul, referring to the Israelites, said: "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." (1 Cor. 10:5) He also stated: "Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed and fell in one day three and twenty thousand." (V. 8) These are examples of God's severity on those who rejected His covenant. Jude, writing of the common salvation, stated: "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not." (Jude 5) The writer of the Hebrew letter spoke of God as being a "consuming fire." (Heb. 12:29)

Examples Of God's Severity

(1) Saul and the Amalekites. Jehovah spoke unto king Saul on this wise: "I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (1 Sam. 15:2-3) Doesn't this indicate the severity of the Lord? But what did Saul do? He went to battle against Amalek as God had commanded. He "utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword," EXCEPT Agag, king of the Amalekites, and "the best of the sheep and of the oxen, and of the fallings, and the lambs, and all that was good." (V. 8-9) Saul obeyed the Lord, except for just one small thing. He spared the king and part of the cattle. This was just a small thing in man's sight. Yet the Lord said, "It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments."

(V. 11) When Saul returned, Samuel confronted him: "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offering and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath rejected thee from being king." (V. 22-23) Saul ALMOST obeyed the Lord, but God rejected him as king. God expects complete obedience of us just as He did of Saul. If we just partially obey Him, He will reject us as being His heirs.

(2) Uzzah. Another example of the severity of God is Uzzah. God had commanded that man should not touch the ark of God. The people had put the ark upon a new cart and were bringing it out of the house of Abinadab. Uzzah and Ahio were driving the new cart. When they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to steady the ark of God, for the oxen shook it. What was the result of this disobedience? God smote him and Uzzah died by the ark. Uzzah was trying to help God, but by his disobedience, he was a hindrance, becoming an example of the severity of God.

(3) Ananias and Sapphire. In the New Testament we read of some who were members of the church of Christ. Ananias and Sapphire lied to God concerning the money from a plot of ground that they had sold. They, too, were put to death by God for their sin. Our God is a severe God.

Concerning Those Who Had Turned Away

In Hebrews 10 we have a picture of some who had turned their back upon the Lord. Some were forsaking the assembly. Then the writer showed that if we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there is no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries (V. 27) Notice his language: "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and huh , done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. Again, the Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb. 10:28-31) Why is it fearful to fall into the hands of our living God? He is a severe God. His severity shall certainly be seen on those described in this chapter.

The goodness of God is seen in His giving us the gospel which is able to save. His severity is indicated by His vengeance on those who obey not the gospel. Paul declared that Christ will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." (2 Thee. 1:7-9)

Our God lives; He loves; but He is a severe God. "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God."


Bryan S. Brown, 155 Thorn, San Diego, California, Nov. 9: "The remodeling and enlarging of our building here at Front and Beech will soon be completed. We are having the largest attendance and contributions of any time in the history of this church. After two and one half years with this group I have resigned. I will begin immediately with the neighboring Hillcrest congregation, located at First and Thorn here in San Diego. We would be happy to have you worship with us at any time you happen to be in San Diego."