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God’s Anger

Today God gave me something in Revelation 2, verses 20 through 23, which say:

But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:20-23)

Talking about “God” is something Christians often enjoy. What they often times do not enjoy, is talking about God’s hate. God’s hate and wrath is somewhat taboo among Christians, because many think that for God to hate anything or anyone would be for Him to be a hypocrite. After all, He Himself commanded that no one should murder, and then through His son Jesus said that hate is murder. However, God’s anger is not like human anger. For example, here we see that God is angry at Jezebel, not just because she had sinned against Him, but because she was tempting the Church to sin. Basically, God’s anger is always righteous. He never acts rashly like we humans sometimes do, rather He gives the person time to repent. If they do not repent, and they still persist in hurting the Church, that is when He delivers punishment.

We humans get annoyed easily; some more so than others, some less, but it’s none-the-less true that we all get annoyed more quickly than we might like. God isn’t like that. God never got angry at us when we rejected His son prior to being saved, and Jesus didn’t even get angry when He was being wrongly crucified for sins He didn’t even commit.  This is because God never gets angry when it is He Himself being mocked by some foolish human (though that particular foolish human can expect some form of, un-angry, divine retribution), but He does get quite angry when it’s His people being attacked.

In the Old Testament, God ordered the Israelites to attack neighboring empires and wipe them out, or make them slaves. He did this because those people and the empires to which they belonged had angered Him by attacking or mocking His people. What He did not do, is punish them in a vindictive rage, intending to “make those people pay,” for something they’d done against Him.

This is why, while Jezebel’s punishment may seem harsh, just as the punishment God doled out to certain nations in the Old Testament may seem “harsh,” it’s not actually as harsh as we might think. What we frequently misunderstand is just how horrendous God sees a woman such as Jezebel, or a nation that mocks Him and His people. We look at people like her and are ashamed on behalf of the parents who raised her, or we consider calling the cops on her in a more modern World. God looks at her, and He sees that her heart only wanted to turn aside Christians, and that her mind was taken over by Satan. He sees the demon behind the mask, if you will. That is why God’s punishment is never as harsh as we think it is–He sees far more than we ever can, and thus understands far better than we ever can what should be done.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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God; Both Good and Just

Hello again!

Today we’re moving on from Micah to Nahum, the next book. — This is what God gave me today in His word:

The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. (Nahum 1:5-8)

How are supposed to fit all of these verses together? First Nahum says God is fierce and angry, then He calls Him good and a shelter… Which is it? Have we found a contradiction in the Bible?

No, we haven’t found a contradiction in the Bible. In fact, when we look at this and its New Testament fulfillment, it makes perfect sense (its important we always bring in the New Testament when trying to read the Old Testament. If we didn’t do so, we’d end up like the Jews; trying to please God by what we do). You see, God is both  ‘fierce’ and good, and He can be this, because of Jesus:

Jesus endured the fire of God’s wrath; He took our sin onto Himself, thus (because God is just) causing God to pour all His wrath onto Him, and kill Him. Through that; through Jesus taking all our sin onto Himself, God has become our shelter and our Father.

The point being this: God is both good and just.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Trust in God

Hello again!

Just to give you a bit of context here, were at the part in the story of Jonah where the people of Nineveh have repented, and thus God relented of the disaster He was going to upon them. Because of God’s mercy, Jonah is now mad, this is where we’re at now. — This is what God gave me today in His word:

And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)

Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. (Jonah 4:5)

Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. (Jonah 4:6)

But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. (Jonah 4:7)

When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:8)

But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” (Jonah 4:9)

And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. (Jonah 4:10)

And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11)

From these verses, we can see two things:

  1. God will teach us lessons
  2. We shouldn’t feel secure with anything that we have

God Will Teach Us Lessons

And we may not always like them. In fact, if God has to “teach us a lesson,” we likely wont like it. In Jonah’s case, the lesson came in the form of a plant which withered, leaving Jonah is severe heat; to teach him that his anger for Nineveh was wrong. In our case, it may come in the form of a broken down car (to teach us to slow down in life, or many other things), or in the sudden loss of a job (to teach us to rely on God), or almost anything. Which is why, when “misfortune” seems to come to us, we shouldn’t worry.

We Shouldn’t Feel Secure in Anything we Have

In Jonah’s case, he just lost a plant. But this can apply to us as well, specifically when we look at debt. Debt is, in essence, the assumption that tomorrow we will continue to have the same job, etc. that we do now. Let’s say that Jonah had taken out a couple of hundred denarii (or whatever the currency they used was) in order to set up a stand selling water, and then the plant had died on him. He would then be stuck in debt, and without any way to pay it off… Now, this may seem a ludicrous example, but that, in essence, is what someone who goes into debt is doing: assuming that tomorrow he will still have the job/opportunity that he does today.

More than that though, we shouldn’t feel secure in anything we own. Houses can be destroyed by some natural fluke, jobs can be lost when a company goes under, and people do die when random shootings occur. What makes us so confident that none of those things will happen to us? Rather than being secure in our houses, cars, or even lives (i.e. plants which suddenly grow), we should be secure in Jesus; secure in our knowledge of Him. Yes, we should work hard at any job we have. Yes, we should not put ourselves in the middle of an area prone to hurricanes or shootings, if we have a choice in the matter. But we shouldn’t find solace in those things. As they will, one day, along with us, pass away.

The point being this, overall: we should trust in God, and not worry when any ‘bad’ thing comes on us.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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