Anger is not usually very pretty, but let’s face it, it can sometimes be quite entertaining. Case in point:
…or maybe it’s just my skewed sense of humor….
It would be obvious to even the casual celestial alien observer that human anger frequently takes us by surprise. And usually causes damage. Sometimes irreparably so. God says this about our wrath:
“…for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
With that in mind, I’m disappointed in how God’s wrath takes such a bum rap in the Old Testament. His is seen through our very self-serving and self-centered interpretation, based on our own emotional responses. This is likewise dangerous, because God’s anger is not like our anger.
Consider this statement from the prophet Isaiah:
“So this is what the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, says: “O my people in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they oppress you with rod and club as the Egyptians did long ago. In a little while my anger against you will end, and then my anger will rise up to destroy them… In that day the LORD will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders.”
God was angry, no bones about it, and not something to be glib about. But, unlike ours, God wrath is infinitely different:
- It is completely just and controlled by His righteousness.
- It has a pre-determined end and a certain outcome.
- No human action takes HIm by surprise since His is omniscient.
- The warning concerning this anger was something that was well-defined in advance and based on our choices (cause-effect).
- (Here’s a big one) Ultimately, it is regenerative, restorative, if we choose it to be.
King David had sinned (again). God was giving him three choices of punishment: famine, enemy armies, or disease. Notice David’s reaction:
“ ‘I’m in deep trouble,’ David said to Gad. ‘Let’s fall into the Lord’s hands because his mercy is great, but don’t let me fall into human hands.’ ”
(David was nobody’s fool.)
So enough with all this vengeful, mean, frowning picture of God. I prefer to see it all in light of the Cross, or even more so, in light of the Empty Tomb. ‘Cuz even though the former pays the justified price of my sin, the latter takes care of my desire for it!
And THAT is amazing grace.
- James 1:20 New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
- Isaiah 10: 24, 25,27 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 29800-29806). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.