Reluctantly, I must confess that I am old enough to remember watching the Tarzan T.V. show on Saturday mornings when I was little. I mention this because in many of those shows, when some catastrophe occurred, they would often cry that “the gods are angry with us”. Indeed, for one that believed in those gods, it would be a fearful thing to believe that said god was angry with them. However, when we consider the one true God of heaven, seldom do we think of Him as an angry God. We most often see God as a loving God, a longsuffering God and a forgiving God. All these things are certainly true about the God of heaven. “God is love” (I John 4:16). We wish not to detract in any way from the truth of the love of God for man. However, in this brief article we desire to awaken and encourage recognition of the anger and wrath of the God of heaven. You will have to admit, if God can become angry with someone, it would indeed be a fearful position in which to find oneself. The Hebrew writer said, “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30-31).
First, note just a few examples of the anger of God being kindled. Just shortly after leaving Sinai, “when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled…” (Num. 11:1). When “Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor”, the god of the Moabite mountains, “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel” (Num. 25:3). These are just a couple of the many examples found in the Bible of God becoming angry. There is no doubt about it, God does become angry.
Secondly, consider the results of God becoming angry. Common sense would tell us that it can’t be a good thing to make God angry. Remember what the Hebrew writer said; “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). God became angry over the wickedness of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We all know the story and we all know the end result of God’s anger. The Bible says concerning them that “the Lord overthrew (them) in his anger, and in his wrath” (Deut. 29:23). While Moses was still on the mountain, receiving the law from God, the children of Israel were fashioning a golden calf and bowing down to it. God said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation” (Exo. 32:9-10). Many other examples could be cited, but just consider the judgment day, “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thess. 1:7-9).
Thirdly, consider the causes of the wrath of God. Many are the causes found in the Bible, but note just a few. A lack of faith causes the wrath of God. When ten of the twelve spies sent to spy out the land of Canaan declared their inability to take the land (Numbers 13), the Lord was angry. Later Moses said of that incident, “And the Lord’s anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying, Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt…shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me” (Num. 32:10-11). Making excuses for not doing the Lord’s will angers him. When Moses made excuse after excuse in trying to get out of going back to Egypt to deliver the children of Israel from their bondage, the text says, “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” (Exo. 4:14). Disobedience will “provoke him to anger” (Deut. 4:25). Fellowship with unrighteousness results in God’s anger (Num. 25:1-2). When one walks according to one’s own way, it angers the Lord (Deut. 29:19-20). And, the teaching of vain words angers God as well (Eph. 5:6). Basically, any lack of faith or obedience angers God.
Finally, consider the cure for the wrath of God. In short, turning to God is the answer. God said, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14). When Israel, fresh out of Egypt, sinned, Moses served as an intercessor for them (Deut. 9:16-20). In our Christians age we have the ultimate intercessor, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:9). The cure for the wrath of God is to turn from serving sin to serving God. Obedience to the gospel of Christ is the only salvation from the wrath of God. And, rest assured, if God’s wrath is kindled against you, you do not want to fall into the hands of the living God. (Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.