We have seen that man can find the keys for a better life in the Bible or set-apart (holy) Scriptures. In that book of books man can find Who God is and what He wants from His people. By reading that bestseller of all times man not only can find the history of humankind, he also can learn about God His attributes and His attitude.
Though He might be a righteous, loving God, having a purpose for His creation, He also shows the world His Will and lets it know what would happen if man does not want to know about Him and disobeys His commandments.
The Wrath of God
But what if men and women turn their backs on Him, reject His authority, ignore His commandments and proceed to do their own will? One thing is clear. Since God is Lord of heaven and earth, and Supreme Creator of mankind, He cannot ignore their rebellion, for that would be to abdicate His authority in the very world He has created. He must try to correct the situation, to get people to change their ways. This He does by bringing pressures to bear upon them. One of the clearest examples is the case of Israel under the Judges, after the death of Joshua:
“The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and forgat the LORD their God, and served the Baalim and the Asheroth (R.V., pagan gods). Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served him eight years. And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer … who saved them … ” (Judges 3:7-9).
The lessons are clear. Israel‘s abandonment of their God, who had delivered them from Egypt, aroused His anger. He brings pressure to bear upon them in the form of foreign invasion and slavery. After a time the pressure has its effect — Israel repented. Their repentance was evidently genuine, for God was quick to respond and bring deliverance.
This pattern is repeated many times in lsrael’s history. About 700 B.C.E. the Assyrians destroy the Northern Kingdom based on Samaria; and eventually the Babylonians overthrow the Southern Kingdom of Judah, about 600 B.C.E. Why did God permit these invasions? Because, despite all His efforts in sending His prophets to appeal to the people and warn them,
“They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words”.
The record ends with this significant comment:
… until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).
“filled with violence … all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:11,12).
Before we come to the New Testament, two terms used of God in the Old need consideration. In a few passages God is declared to be “a jealous God“. The term gives offence to modern readers because it is taken in its popular sense and suggests a certain human pettiness. But this is to misunderstand its Scriptural meaning. There it is always used of God in warnings to Israel against forsaking Him and turning away to idols:
“Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples which are round about you; for the LORD thy God … is a jealous God; lest (his) anger be kindled against thee, and he destroy thee” (Moses to Israel, Deuteronomy 6:14-15, R.V.).
Now it is significant that the same root word is sometimes translated “zeal” and “zealous”. God Himself tells us what He is zealous for:
“I am Jehovah, that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).
The Lord God of heaven and earth is determined that the worship due to Him shall not be given instead to mere objects of human creation or imagination. This is His “zeal”. It is connected with His wrath, for ultimately He will judge those who despise His worship.
The second term is
“the vengeance of the Lord”.
Modern usage suggests a spirit of revenge, characteristic of human nature but unworthy of God. Again it is necessary to understand the term in its Biblical sense. The “vengeance of the Lord” is used of His judgement of sinners. But the same attribute is used in connection with the saving of the faithful. Isaiah well expresses this latter aspect:
“Strengthen ye the weak hands Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong … behold your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God (R.V.); he will come and save you” (Isaiah 35:3,4).
The vengeance of God is always righteous retribution. It is a judgement which is deserved because of persistent sin, the vindication of God’s holiness and truth in the face of human obduracy and pride.
Next: The New Testament and Judgement
- Gone astray, away from God
- The Rage Against God
- Exodus 9: Liar Liar
- Is God behind all suffering here on earth
- Does God stands behind all evil on earth
- On the Edge of Believing
- Careful not to have God’s wrath poured out upon us taking on the right attitude
- Understanding God’s Wrath
- From Despair to Victory
- He is Trustworthy
- God’s Love Conquers All
- Names of God – part 24
- Discussion on the Character of God
- Chapter 5: He
- Life in the Silence, Machine Men, & Jealous Gods
- How Can You Believe In A God Who’s Jealous?God Is A Jealous God – Is That A Good Thing?
- The Moral Argument and……Jealousy
- Israel in Egypt
- How long was the nation of Israel living in Egypt? 400, 430 or 210 years?Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
- The reapingWe Have So Much to Be Thankful For
- The things of God
- Spiritual Heart DiseaseEveryone Is GodlessWhy You Should Pursue the Fear of GodIs God Biased?
- LoveFruit Of Something Reveals ItOutrage Answered
- Awesome Wrath, Amazing Grace (Thanksgiving)
- Joy in heavenOne and Only