In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations.
Dear God, this is an Old Testament passage. In light of the new covenant, what makes you angry now, and how do you handle that anger? I’ll start out by saying that I doubt I’ll be able to work through this deep theological issue this morning and in this format, but it’s an interesting question.
I guess I can try to think about what angered you and Jesus in the New Testament.
- Hypocrisy among your believers — This is the first thing that came mind as I thought about Jesus. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees seemed to really anger him.
- Disrespecting you for selfish gain — I’m thinking about Jesus clearing the Temple during Passover on this one. There were plenty of people who disrespected you, but to do it so brazenly for profit really angered him.
- People who cause others to stumble (Luke 17:1-2).
- Stubborn, unrepentant sinners who are confronted (Luke 17:3-4).
- Christians who intentionally mislead people into thinking they are doing holier things than they really are (Acts 5:1-11).
- Rejecting others who need our charity (Matthew 25:31-40).
Is there a theme in all of these things? If there is, it’s selfishness and deception among your believers.
So what is your response to these things now? Frankly, I don’t think I can be sure of the answer to that. Is it separation from you in eternity? I don’t know? Do you remove a certain level of protection from us to bring us to repentance? I don’t know. Do you actively punish us? I don’t know (although I tend to follow the school of thought that you might remove some protection before you actively punish). And, ultimately, I suppose my understanding of your response isn’t nearly as important as my understanding of what makes you angry in the first place. What grieves you.
Father, help me to not grieve you. Help me to not anger you. I’m sorry for my selfishness. I’m sorry that I still doubt you. I’m sorry that I still indulge my own vanity and actively cultivate a less than genuine image for others to see. I’m sorry I don’t pursue relationships with the poor and downtrodden. I hope, I hope, I hope that when you look at me you don’t see someone who is constantly grieving you because you don’t deserve that from me or any of us. You are a good and wonderful God and I am very grateful for your love.
In Jesus’s name I pray,