When many of us think of God’s wrath we conjure up memories of human fathers we have either experienced or observed. We might envision God losing His temper and lashing out with some kind of supernatural paddle.
Today’s media loves to portray God as a cosmic bully with a hair trigger Who occasionally smashes some poor unsuspecting innocent. The image of God becomes one of an abusing father taking out His temper tantrums on anyone within His grasp.
Let’s stop for a moment and think about it. Do you imagine God as waiting with a raised fist, ready to smack you down if you step out of line?
In today’s reading of the Navigator’s tool “30 Days of Praying the Names and Attributes of God” there’s an intriguing word…
quoting from the Navigator tool:
God is wrathful.
Unlike human anger, God’s wrath is never capricious, self-indulgent, or irritable. It is the right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.
A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; The Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither; The blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him. The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, And will pursue His enemies into darkness. Nahum 1:2–8
Did you notice the word “capricious?” Too often we can begin to think of God as a “capricious” Lord. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines this word in this way:
– changing often and quickly; often changing suddenly in mood or behavior.
– not logical or reasonable; based on an idea, desire, etc., that is not possible to predict.
Let’s not be deceived by our own experiences, emotions, or expectations based in false information.
God’s wrath is totally reserved for those who choose to ignore His commands. God uses the threat of His wrath to emphasize the importance of taking obedience seriously. God will not be minimized in a person’s life. Those considering God as irrelevant to their lives are exposing themselves to a loving God’s displeasure.
“It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Deuteronomy 8:19
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6
But, for Christ-followers forgiveness has been freely given. We are in God’s family and destined for fellowship and blessings from a loving Father.
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9–10
… how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:9–10
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:8–9
As we come to the Lord in prayer, let us always remember, Almighty God is never out of control. He never loses His temper and strikes out in a rage. He doesn’t take His anger out on the innocent. He is never, ever abusive in His relations with mankind.
Unfortunately, those who do not believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and died to pay the penalty for their sins are facing that very wrath. What about you? Have you accepted all the love, mercy, grace, and peace that God has provided? Or are you still ignoring Him and going your own way? Sobering, isn’t it?
Think about it.