the·ol·o·gy noun : the study of God
We study God through His Word each Thursday on the blog. Our goal is to present the truth of God in a way you can digest and apply. This week we will look at what makes God angry (and what doesn’t).
I got sent to the principal’s office three times in my entire school career. I never got in much trouble (talking in class was my offense), but the memory of waiting to see the principal is forever burned into my memory . . .
Pit in my stomach.
An overwhelming urge to hide.
I was terrified the principal would be mad at me and, as a result, so would my parents. Their collective anger and disappointment were worse than any punishment I received.
When it comes to God, I’ve spent many years feeling like I was sitting outside the principal’s office.
I’ve been a Christian for almost two decades. Looking back, I can see that I’ve spent most of those years feeling like I did in those moments outside the principal’s office. I’ve been convinced that God was mad at me and terrified of the punishment He would hand down. I’ve had near-constant anxiety that He is somehow disappointed in me. When bad things come into my life, I’ve read them as proof that God is angry.
But God has been working in my life lately, showing me areas where my theology (that’s a big word for my beliefs about who God is) are askew. I’ve been challenged to go to the Word for the answer to this big question: Is God mad at me?
Here’s what I’ve found.
Yes, God gets mad.
There’s no denying God’s anger in Scripture. We can hear stories like the incineration of Sodom and Gomorrah due to sin (Gen. 19) or His sentencing of the Israelites to wander for forty years because of their grumbling (Num. 14) and begin to get a picture of God like a Father who flies off the handle. When that happens, we’re missing part of the story.
Yes, God’s anger is fierce. But the Bible also tells us that His anger is:
- Reluctant and short-lived.
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6).
- Consistent with His righteous and merciful character.
God is a righteous judge (Ps. 7:11).
- Ultimately what He uses to make us more like Him.
“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years” (Mal. 3:2–4).
And what is it that makes God angry, anyway?
- Idolatry—worshiping something other than Him
- Unbelief—not believing He is who He said He is
- Disobedience—not following His commands
- Pride—thinking you’re the center of the universe
- Hypocrisy—saying one thing and doing another
- Grumbling—whining about what God has or has not done
- Injustice—violating the rights of others
It is because of God’s righteous anger that the Bible commands us to fear Him (Prov. 1:7). But fearing His righteous judgment is not the same as worrying He might zap you. It’s the difference between revering someone who rightfully sees your sin and wants to correct it and seeing God like a cop in your rearview mirror.
Mad for me.
As we look at His anger in the Word, we see that its purpose is always correction—to move His people away from sin and toward Him. His reaction to sin is so strong because of these truths:
God takes our sin seriously and yes, it angers Him, but He is mad for us not at us.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear (Isa. 59:2).
For the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
We have a way of convincing ourselves that sin won’t hurt us, but God knows better. He knows our sin separates us from Him. He knows that ultimately our sin leads to death. Yes, He takes our sin seriously and yes, it angers Him, but He is mad for us not at us.
He is mad for the ways sin will wreak havoc on our lives.
He is mad for the ways sin keeps us from Him.
He’s mad for the ways sin mars His creation.
He is mad for the chains that sin puts on our spirits.
God is not moody. He doesn’t fly off the handle. He isn’t disappointed in me because I slept through my quiet time. He isn’t mad at me because I’m not perfect. He is angered by my sin because of His deep love.
Is God mad at you?
I wonder if when you think of God, you feel like a girl sitting outside the principal’s office? Do you live in a perpetual state of fear that He is mad at you, that you have somehow disappointed Him again?
If so, can I invite you to ask the Lord to show you the truth about His anger? Then join me in studying the anger of God in His Word. To get you started, here’s a great resource from BibleGateway.com that I borrowed from for this post.
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Is God mad at you? Find out on @lywbblog today.