Cruelty In The Bible?
Was God's punishment on Samaria unjust?
THE HUMANIST's CLAIMED CRUELTY: Hosea 13:16 describes a punishment from the Lord: Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
This is the same as the previous accusation of "cruelty." In this case it is a prophecy about what will happen to Samaria, the North-ern kingdom. Hosea chapter 13, verse two describes the problem::
And now they sin more and more,
And make for themselves molten images,
Idols skillfully made from their silver.
As in every other situation we have looked at, God is being gracious and loving. He is warning the Northern Kingdom about what will happen. They have plenty of time to change their ways. However, they ignore the warnings.
God is using Hosea, a prophet to the Northern Kingdom, to inform them that He is withdrawing His protection. The most powerful empire at that time was Assyria. They were cruel, vicious, and murderous. Without God's protection Assyria would invade, ravage, and destroy the Northern Kingdom.
Why was God withdrawing His protection? Another way to ask this question is: Why was God withdrawing His blessing?
Read the second line of Hosea 13:2 again. The Northern King-dom had turned away from God. They were disobeying God, and in particular worshipping other Gods. As He always does, God, through Hosea in this case, warns them about what will happen. He will give them what they want. He will let them be protected by their "new" gods, who in reality are no gods at all. They have plenty of time to change their ways. However, they do not. They reject God. They leave God no choice, and He withdraws from them.
The result is that the Assyrians invade. The description of what would happen: "infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” is a description of what the Assyrians would do, not what God did. The Assyrians were brutal. They killed everyone, often in very cruel and heartless ways.
Once again we see that God is not cruel or unjust. He was pro-tecting the Northern Kingdom from the brutality of the Assyrians, but the people of the Northern Kingdom did not want His protec-tion. They turned against God. Therefore, God gave them what they wanted... He withdrew His protection. The punishment perfectly fit the offense.
Conclusion: God is not cruel, but just. If we as a nation turn away from God... rejecting God... God gives us what we want... leaving us on our own.
Next example: Deuteronomy 32:23-25 says that after the Israelites incited Gods jealousy by worshiping other gods, he vowed: I will spend mine arrows upon them. . . . The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
What is God doing to Israel? Get the answer, click here.
THE GOOD NEWS
Before you get the good news, you need to know the bad news. It's about you. God says:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23
Sin means disobeying God, aka breaking God's law. God is perfect and perfection is required to enter heaven. It's a standard none of us can achieve. We all fall short. For example, compare yourself with just one of the Ten Commandments. Have you ever told a lie?
All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8. Or what about:
Have you ever taken something that does not belong to you, no matter how small? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? In Matthew 5 Jesus said:
Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' Have you done that?
You have broken God's laws. You have sinned. There must be justice, and that means eternity in hell, the lake of fire, the second death. Unless...
Unless there was someone willing to pay that penalty on your behalf. Someone who will take on themselves the consequences you deserve. And there is. There is one person who can and will do that. That person is Jesus Christ. If you trust this is true (believe), and repent (turn away from disobeying God), Jesus' death is applied to your account and you are freed from the penalty of sin to be with God forever.