The Anger of God
When bashing Christianity, a lot of people will look at the perceived morality of God in the Old Testament. A lot of people will say that they do not want to serve a God that is so crazy, so wild, and so destructive. People want to focus on God’s anger and wrath. Of course they never focus on his creation and peace, how he saved slaves and restored Israel over and over, but they will focus on his passion for destruction. This article is a look at the facts, and what God has to say about his actions. The bible records God doing some pretty incredible things which include destroying numerous armies, two cities with fire, and driving one king to the point of insanity. Why God did these things is hard to understand. How he can call himself loving and do these things can be even harder to understand. So let’s hit the word, because the answer to these questions can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation for God.
For our foundation in the nature of God we have to check the bible, because that is what God has to say about himself. In Psalm 103 David is talking about the Lord’s faithfulness and love towards Israel and it is an easy example of how God can be passionately angry and passionately loving. David is pointing out that the “Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far doe she remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:8-12)
We have to understand that in this world there are two kinds of people: the people who fear the Lord and those who don’t. Things weren’t always this way, in the beginning everyone feared God. God created Adam and Eve and they served God. Then they sinned and they turned from God fearers to God’s enemies. Their sin separated them from God. This is the inheritance of every single person that has lived, a nature that sins and is therefore not God fearing. We are the enemies of God.
Except God still cares about us, because he loves us, because he is our dad, and because he wants to. The bible says that God is our father, that he created us to glorify his name and to love and serve him. Dad’s don’t have children hoping they will screw up, but they do. It is part of their nature. God is the best dad, and he reflects this in his slow anger and steadfast love. God does not fly off handles when we sin. He isn’t looking for an opportunity to make our lives as awful as they can be. He is first slow to anger. This is reflected in what the bible is about. God doesn’t burn us for our sin, he set up the entirety of human history to reflect that he is slow to anger and doesn’t deal with us according the severity of our sin and doesn’t repay us according to all the bad we have done him. God sent his son to save us. He spared no expense to ensure that the penalty for our sins would fall on himself and now us. He took the fall for our sin because he loves us.
So then what do we do with Sodom and Gomorrah, the two cities that God burnt to the ground. Everyone who lived in them were killed and even those who saw the destruction of the city were turned to salt. Isn’t that uncontrollable violence and terror something to be feared? How is that loving? Sodom and Gommorah were bad. Abraham prayed for Sodom and asked God to save the city if there were 50 righteous people in it. God says he would, then Abraham proceeds to ask God for less and less amounts of righteous people until it is all the way down to 10, yet God destroyed the city. So God sends down two angels to check out Sodom and Gomorrah and they stay with Abraham’s nephew, Lot. They get to the city and have dinner with Lot. Then, as they are about to go to bed the men of the city, young and old, head over to Lot’s house and ask him to send the two guys out so they can have sex with them. Lot negotiates tells them they can have his two virgin daughters, but they press against the house wanting the men and when they almost broke into Lot’s house the angels struck them with blindness.
Then God rains fire on the cities and destroys them. He doesn’t destroy them on a whim, or even for the specific reason of wanting to rape his angels, he destroys them because of their longstanding unrepentant sin. He destroyed them because they did not recognize him as their authority, but did what they want to do for however long they wanted to do it. There were none righteous in the city except for Lot’s family.
See those who do not repent receive God’s anger because that is what they deserve. They have not called to him and do not want to repent and do not turn to God and accept his gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God saved his people out of Sodom and Gomorrah and served them faithfully. It is not that those people were any better or any worse then the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, it is that they were called by God to repentance and they did. God turns away from his wrath, as he did in Nineveh, when they repent.
God wants to move our sin away from us. He wants to cover us in the blood of his sacrifice. The anger of God burns brightly against those who do not repent, but he is steadfast in love and is right now calling us to repentance. I pray you really get this. I pray you know how truly ticked God is when we sin. I want you to know that it hurts him to the point of willing to be violent. I also hope that you see that he wants to be with you in heaven. I hope and pray that you hit the word and see that he wants you. I hope you see that he paid the price and loves you. I pray to God that you get it and pursue him with your whole heart. That is the only way that you will experience the love of God and escape his wrath.
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