Today in staff devotions we continued our study of Revelation (we just might finish it before I leave in September!). Looking at chapter fifteen we paused for a moment to consider verse 1:
Then I saw in heaven another marvelous event of great significance. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion.
Louis asked us what we thought of this concept of God having a “wrath” – that is an intense anger, on an epic scale (Princeton Word Dictionary thingy).
(I’ve been planning to a write a series of posts about the Jesus that I see as I explore the Gospels, and some of this will overlap, but you’ll just have to grin and bear it.)
The truth is that as I read the Bible, more and more and more, the God that I see is an angry one. He’s always destroying cities and murdering people and exiling folk and condeming nations. He is always ferociously frightening and furious (how’s that for a bit of alliteration!). God is scary.
But as I’ve realised this, over the past few months, I’ve grown to like it, love it even.
I like that God gets angry.
I like that He gets passionate. We’re always talking about God being the God of love. Yet, we forget that with love comes anger. If someone you love is wronged, you get angry. If someone you love does wrong, and messes things up for themselves, you get angry. God loves us so much that we make Him angry.
I like that God getrs angry because it makes Him more understandable and believeable. Focussing on the nice aspects of God’s character, quite frankly, makes Him sound soft. Now, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t particularly trust a God I considered to be a bit of a wimp. I want a God who’ll get angry and stand up for me. I want a God who’ll get angry and correct and discipline me. Anger is also something we understand, something we can relate to. Though, we in our fallen human states, lose our tempers and misdirect or respond inappropriately with our anger, God never does. His anger is righteous, His anger is justified, His treatment of it is correct. I like that I can get angry like He does, but that He does it far better than I do.
I like that God gets angry, just like my dad. The image of God as Father is a very important one to me and dads get angry. They get angry when we disobey them. They get angry when we break something that is precious to them. They get angry when we’re not reaching our potential. They get angry when we’re hurt. Or at least, mine does. Hebrews 12 says that if God didn’t discipline His children we’d be illegitimate – I think if He didn’t get angry, the same would apply.
I like that God hates sin. I like that God hates injustice. I find comfort in the thought that God is angered by how much we’ve messed up His world, by genocide and war, poverty and environmental crisis.
I’m not afraid of God – I have a respect and reverence for Him though. I wish I was a little more afraid, more afraid of Him than the world or the people in it. But I do not quake in my boots for I know that I can stand before Him with clean hands and a pure heart thanks to the blood of Jesus.
God is an angry God and I think it’s about time we stopped shying away from that.