Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review

God Behaving Badly : is the God of the Old Testament angry,
sexist and racist?
by David T. Lamb
IVP Books (InterVarsity Press)

reviewed by Diane Busch

God Behaving Badly is a great book for answering the hard questions that sometimes arise about God in Old Testament times.  Lamb examines and debunks the bad reputation and critical perceptions that some give to Yahweh--God in the Old Testament.

Yahweh is not angry--He is loving and slow to anger.  But he does get legitimately "angry over evil, injustice and oppression.  He is willing to severely punish individuals or nations to protect the weak and to promote peace."

Yahweh is not sexist--"He is actually highly affirming of women, making them in his image and even selecting a woman to be the spiritual and political ruler of Israel (Deborah)."

Yahweh is not racist--"He is welcoming toward all nations.  He even commands his people be hospitable toward foreigners."

Yahweh is not legalistic--"He does not burden us with laws.  His commands reveal his goodness and his desire to bless."

Lamb reminds us that the God of the Old Testament was not a legalistic kill-joy.  He told us to have a lot of sex with our spouse, eat good delicious food, throw parties to celebrate what God has done, and to take a vacation day once a week.  That is loving, generous, gracious and good.

God is good.  All the time.
Because God is good, good things happen to bad people like us.
Because God is good, his commands result in blessing for us.
Because God is good, he gave us the Bible in which we learn what he is like--that he is fascinating and relational.

Lamb goes into a lot of detail studying scripture and examining the following topics from many angles: God's love, anger, sexism, racism, violence, legalism, rigidity or flexibility, and his presence with us.

The book ends with discussion questions for each chapter, making it a good choice for small home groups, book clubs, or Bible study groups.

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