Category: Devotional

What is the Wrath of God?

When we think of or hear about the ‘wrath of God’, the temptation is strong to imagine a vengeful God having a fit of rage and throwing fistfuls of lightning bolts down on a wicked populace to strike them dead. This idea comes from the capricious human-like gods popularized in Greek and Roman mythology, this is not the God of the Bible.

“Nice try, cowboy!” I hear some retort, “If God is not wrathful like Zeus or Jupiter, then explain Lot’s Wife (Genesis 19:26), Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:6-7), and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) !”

These are all examples of disobedience stemming from lack of proper respect for God. Lot’s wife looked back when she was explicitly told not to do so. Uzzah reached out to touch the Ark of the Covenant when that was expressly forbidden (after choosing to transport the Ark in a way OTHER than what God’ had instructed), and Ananias and Sapphira lied to the church and withheld God’s portion from Him. So God met out the ultimate punishment for this after rescuing her family (Lot’s Wife), restoring glory to Israel (Uzzah), and raising the church (Ananias & Sapphira).

This was not some reckless decision based on a whim. These were consequences for actions taken in defiance of God. And as I read today’s Psalms of Asaph, I noticed a trend…

In Psalm 80 Asaph feels like God is blessing another nation due to Israel’s disobedience. But is this the case? Was God blessing Israel’s oppressor? Or was Israel a decidedly weak nation being propped up by Yahweh? Was God blessing ANOTHER nation, or did He simply remove His hedge of protection from Israel and allow the attacks of their enemies to proceed unencumbered? This is the wrath of God.

Is Psalm 81 we see that God WANTS to rescue us, He loves us! His sincere desire is that none should perish, but that all would come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. However, He will not override our free will. God has chosen to restrain Himself so that only those who freely choose Him will draw near to Him, and those same people will be saved. So what happens to the rest? That is the wrath of God.

In Psalm 82 we see a scenario where God sits in judgement of all the other gods and warns them of the folly of their wickedness. Of course those gods do not exist (except in the minds of the people who created them), so the people who “follow” them are the ones who will bear the responsibility for the actions of their “gods”. This is the path of destruction. This is the wrath of God.

The worker earns his wages (1 Timothy 5:18). And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is the wrath of God. It’s really not that complicated.

God, Revealed

He fills His hands with lightning bolts and hurls each at its target.

This is a description Elihu offers of the God of Adam & Noah. At first it seems quaint a funny. It reads more like a Greek mythological description of Zeus than one of the true living God. But the wider context is God’s control. No lightning bolt touches down without God’s knowledge of the event beforehand. No rain, no heat, no snow. All of it points to God’s power and provision. His love.

In this way, we can see God’s grace poured out on us. And through that common grace we can see His love. And through His love we can understand His value to us personally. This is what we call General Revelation. When we can see glimpses of God in his creation. Jesus tells us that if the people don’t praise Him, the very rocks will cry out. I think this is such an example. Creation points us to its creator. We should do the same.

Go point someone to your creator today.

Job 35-37 | 029/365