Have you ever been a subject of someone’s anger? Specially those who have authority over you like your parents, teachers, bosses, etc.? Well, it is not an easy thing to handle!!! No one can predict how people act when they get angry. The aftermath of anger can be pretty serious. It makes us miserable, helpless and sad – it can even hurt us physically and mentally. It might take several days or even months to get back to normal. This is the case when we are subject to human anger.
Does God ever get angry? What would it be like?
Let us open the treasure book to find clues.
OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK
Clue 1: Does God get Angry?
The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.Psalm 103:8-9
For His anger is but for a moment, his favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.Psalm 30:5
God is LOVE. He is merciful and gracious. These are His major traits that are evidently seen. However, He does get angry but is very slow to get there. Nevertheless, His anger does not last for long. His favor towards His children is life-long because His mercy and kindness overpower the anger factor. Anger is not the major behavioral trait of God.
So, God does get Angry, but this is not His major characteristic. He is slow to anger and His anger is momentary – does not last for long.
Clue 2: What provokes / kindles His anger?
There are many instances in the bible that addresses God’s anger. We will look into a couple of them.
Example 1: Individual behavior – 1 Kings 11
We know that King Solomon is the wisest of wise in the history of human kind. Solomon loved God and walked in His ways when he was young. God also appeared to him twice during his life time. However, there was a major flaw in his life. He married from nations that the Lord said not to marry from and had warned, “Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” He loved many foreign women including the daughter of Pharaoh and clung to them. Eventually, it happened as God had warned. When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods. His heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, but went after other Gods. He built places of worship for all the Gods his foreign wives worshiped. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord. So the Lord became ANGRY with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him not to go after other gods. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. But, I will not tear away the whole kingdom, I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
Here we see an individual who provoked God to anger. God strictly warned the Israelites not to marry from other nations knowing very well that this could turn them away to other Gods. Solomon, even being the wisest of the wise and having a personal relationship with God, missed out on this command. As we learned in “What is your relationship status?”, anything that takes up space in our heart more than God is our idol. For Solomon, His love for other women took up more priority in his heart than God. He clung on to them more than God. Hence his heart was turned away from God. This is an after effect of straying away from God’s commands. He started worshipping idols. This is evil in the eyes of God.
Solomon disobeyed God and did evil in the eyes of God. This made GOD ANGRY. Again, as we learned in “Obedience“, there is punishment associated with disobedience . But even in the punishment God gave Solomon, we see the love, faithfulness and graciousness of God. He remembered His servant David (Solomon’s father) and made the punishment lighter for the sake of David.
Example 2: Corporate behavior
Numbers 11: 1-2
Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched.
Judges 2: 11 – 15
Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.
Here we see God is angered because of corporate behavior. God’s chosen people Israelites, complained after God brought them out of slavery in Egypt. The Lord heard them complaining and being ungrateful. This aroused His anger. There were consequences associated with it. In the second instance, the Israelites, did evil in the eyes of God – disobedience by worshipping idols. They were punished and were in great distress.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.Romans 1:18
In fact, in all unrighteousness and ungodliness, the wrath of God is revealed. Disobedience, idol worship, complaining, being ungrateful, etc., are evil before God and fruits of unrighteousness / ungodliness. Individually and corporately, evildoing kindles the anger of God and there are consequences associated with this.
God gets Angry, but this is not His major characteristic. He is slow to anger and His anger does not last for long.
Individually and corporately, evildoing kindles the anger of God and there are consequences associated with this.
As soon as you realize the mistake on your part, repent and plead mercy. God is gracious to forgive and He abounds in mercy. Moreover, our advocate Jesus pleads on our behalf. Put away all wickedness from your heart that leads you to unrighteousness. Repent and cling on to Jesus.
Father, we thank you for teaching us this aspect of your character. Thank you for being merciful and gracious. Help us to realize the unrighteousness in our life and put it away. Help our hearts to cling on to you and nothing else. Thank you Jesus for taking our punishments. In Jesus name, Amen.