Tag Archives: God’s wrath

July 24; What You Believe About God

Zephaniah 1-3; 2 Chronicles 34:4-7; Jeremiah 1:1-19

Last night our Bible study centered around the creation account in Genesis 1. What you believe about this first chapter in the Bible will determine what you believe about God. It’s that important. Do you believe Him or not? Did He speak the universe, our world into existence, or did He give us some clues in His Word, expecting us to figure out the truth?

Our teacher also discussed the subtle, and the overt attacks on the only thing created in God’s image: you! Satan hates God, and in turn, anything that reminds Him of God. And you, my friend, are the image of God staring Satan in the face. That snake would love nothing more than to take you down with him.

You, and your children. Don’t think your kids aren’t under attack. Whether it’s the friendly guide at the museum during the class outing who mentions in passing that the earth is millions of years old, as though that were fact, or the reading teacher who assigns “A Tale of Two Daddies: (which Goodreads touts as “sweet, simple, charismatic, and realistic… a kid-friendly book…), or a cartoon on TV that portrays characters as witches, gay, disobedient, smarter than the grown-up, all of which are attacks on the image of God. Please don’t blow off the seriousness of the attacks. Kids are learning.

Now, we Christians can wring our hands and worry about the direction this world is going. Or we can do what God has us here to do: speak up! It’s not enough to live a good life, to love everybody (which in our world too often implies acceptance, tolerance, live-and-let-live).

It’s not enough to give food to the hungry and expect them to figure out simply from your act of kindness that Jesus died to save them. Friend, you’d better be talking about the Truth. How will they know unless they are told? (Romans 10:14)

This world is on a downhill spiral. The forces of evil will tell you that’s a good thing, that we’ve become enlightened, freed from the constraints of religion, the masters of our own universes, powerful, worthy, good. But if you believe God, you can’t believe the evil.

God tells us there will be hell to pay:

I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdom and to pour out my wrath on them – all my fierce anger. the whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. (3:8b)

God tells us His judgment is coming. But no one has to die. If you believe the Bible, you know Jesus already did that. We need only to repent of sin, and accept His forgiveness. We might know that, but our loved ones need to know that, too. They need to be told. And maybe more than once.

Here is what is important: God has told us this world is not going to last forever. Jesus is coming back, and life as we know it will end. For those who don’t know Him it will be worse than anything Hollywood can put on a screen.

However, concerning those who believe God, who are His children through the blood of Jesus, He says:

On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (3:16-17)

Don’t you want to experience that instead of the outpouring of God’s wrath? Don’t you want that for your children, too? Look around, there are people you love, people whom God loves, who need to hear the truth.

What do you believe about God? What you believe about God has everything to do with what you are going to do today.

 

 

 

January 9; Is There A Target On My Back?

Job: 15-19

Job brings up a hard truth about God that we often try to ignore. We can talk all day about God’s love, His grace, His forgiveness, kindness, acceptance. But we don’t like to even think about His wrath.

Now, to be perfectly clear, chapter 1 tells us Job’s suffering is not a direct result of sin. God is not punishing him. In fact, Job is an upright citizen. God even calls him “righteous.” Yet awful things are happening to Job.

In chapter 16, Job says he feels like God has placed a target on his back. Job feels God’s anger as though God were ripping him to shreds with gnashing teeth. Job says he’s tried to bind his wounds himself, he’s cried endless tears. But Job realizes his helplessness to combat God and win.

It’s easy to say Job didn’t deserve this. But here is what God impressed on me: if Job, descried by God Himself as a “righteous man,” has no defense against God, I’m in serious trouble.

Paul, in Romans 3:23 tells me everybody has sinned. Romans 3:10 actually quotes some Old Testament verses that tell me there isn’t a righteous man or woman anywhere. Not even one.

(I have no problem hearing God call Job “righteous,” then reading more than one Scripture that says no one is righteous. Job never lived like he was sinless. He continued to offer sacrifices for his sins and for those of his children. “Righteous” described Job because he had dealt with his sin.)

Scripture repeats these words, or words like them: Every sin is punished. Every sin deserves death. Every. Sin.

That’s why I think we should probably remove the word “deserve” from our vocabulary when talking about circumstances of life. We are all sinners, and God hates sin. Hates it. It’s hard to hear, but God considers sinners his enemies. (Romans 5:10; Philippians 3:18; James 4:4; I Samuel 12:14; and others)

Being sinners, we “deserve” God’s wrath. And, friend, you can’t handle God’s wrath.

As I look at the theme of worship in the book of Job, I am blown away that this man who is so lost, so grieved and alone, still looks to God. He begs God for an audience, not to give God a piece of his mind, but to present his case before God. Job longs for an advocate from heaven. Listen to this:

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend. (17:19-21)

Read that again and let God speak to your heart. Hear Job’s confidence that there is Someone who is on his side, someone who pleads with God on his behalf like a man pleads for his friend. And Job had never even heard the name of Jesus. My soul is overwhelmed at the beauty of this truth. I love it so much.

Here’s something about God’s wrath: It’s real. And it’s frightening. It’s harsh and relentless. And we are absolutely, totally powerless against it.

But Jesus!

Jesus took God’s wrath directed at you and me. He faced God’s fierce anger – AND IT KILLED HIM.

But He didn’t stay dead! He defeated the last enemy – death. Now, by His grace, I can stand before God – not an enemy – but as His precious child. Not because of my own righteousness (which is non-existent) but because I’m wearing Jesus’ righteousness through the blood He shed on the cross.

God is no longer my enemy. He’s my Father. He calls me His friend!

Please understand that unless you have accepted what Jesus did for you on the cross, you are an enemy of God. You can try to bandage your own wounds, you can try to stand before Him in your own strength. But you don’t have any hope of winning that battle. No hope.

I don’t know what the circumstances of your life are like right now. But I know if you are blessed, you don’t deserve it. If you are suffering, you deserve much worse. You might feel like there is a target on your back, and you might be right.

But read again what Job said in the quote above. And know there is Someone in heaven who would love to be your advocate. Someone who would love to cover that target on your back with His own blood. Someone who wants to turn you from being an enemy of God, to being His most precious child.

 

Ezekiel 21-25; What We Deserve

One thing about God is, as patient and loving as He is, there is a limit to what He will take from us. Sin in our world, in our country, our homes, our churches, our hearts will not go unpunished. And God, through Ezekiel’s example, tells us to quit whining about it.

God is a righteous Judge. And we’re only getting what we deserve:

“I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct, and your actions,” declares the Sovereign Lord. (Ezekiel 24:14)

Yes, I know this was written to the flesh and blood nation of Israel during Ezekiel’s lifetime. But what makes us think God has changed His position concerning sin in 2018?

Another thing about God is, as right as He is to pass judgment, as justified as He is to punish us, He is still willing to forgive. Not just willing, but longing to forgive. And He Himself took on His own severe punishment so we wouldn’t have to.

If we repent.

Repentance isn’t just a quick, “I’m sorry,” to hear, “Oh, that’s okay.” It’s not an apology with no intention of changing. Repentance involves drastic change.

It’s not just putting idols in a closet, but destroying them never to bring them out ever again. It’s denying sin in any form, resisting the devil, fleeing youthful lusts. It’s living without even the appearance of evil. It’s a choice every day to die to self and live for God.

Doesn’t it feel as though our world is on the brink of a great disaster? The examples in the Bible tell me that’s not what God wants, but what our sin demands.

So, dear one – QUIT SINNING! Quit condoning sin, or ignoring it. Quit giving lip-service to worship and start obeying God with every step you take.

If we don’t, and judgment comes, we’d best not cry about how hard life has become. It’s only what we deserve.

August 30 – Think Again

Ezekiel 13-15

You all know who Noah, Daniel, and Job are, right? These men had testimonies that rivaled no one. They were godly, obedient, trusting men who had close relationships with God Himself.

But Ezekiel tells us that even if these three were alive, they wouldn’t be able to deliver their sons or daughters from God’s wrath.

Dear one, if you are counting on your parents’ relationship with God, or your spouse’s relationship with God, to get you into heaven, think again. It’s your relationship with God, your acceptance of His grace, that will make the only difference when you see Him face to face.

Not even your godly grandmother can prevent you from God’s wrath against your sin. Only Jesus can do that.

So the next time you start to think you can ride your dad’s coattails into heaven…

think again.

August 6 – God’s Anger

Nahum

Nahum begins his oracle by telling us how jealous, vengeful, and angry God is. Nothing PC about that these days when we’d rather talk about God’s love. Nahum tells us the Lord “will by no means leave the guilty go unpunished.” (1:3)

Some of us, when we hear that think, “Good! ISIS will get what they deserve. Homosexuals, atheists, Michigan fans (ok, it’s a joke. I’m from Ohio and it’s almost football season) will get what’s coming to them. I hope they suffer!”

But God is talking about you, too. He won’t let any of YOUR sins go unpunished, either. But, you say, “I’m not a terrorist, haven’t committed adultery or stolen anything big. I’m a nice guy, a good neighbor, a church goer.” That may be well and good. Except for the fact that the Bible says ALL have sinned, ALL have fallen short of God’s standard of holiness. And, dear one, you are included in ALL.

You have sinned. That makes you guilty. And God has said more than once that He will not let the guilty go unpunished. sin=guilt=punishment.

Period.

Scripture tells us that Jesus felt the extent of God’s wrath, He took on Himself God’s vengeance, and went willingly to the cross to take your punishment because YOU ARE GUILTY. God was angry at YOU for the sins you commit. But He took His anger out on His guiltless Son instead.

Oh, you don’t have to accept His forgiveness. (Not sure why you’d want to face God’s wrath on your own, though) But rest assured that your sins demand God’s wrath. Your sins.

My prayer is that you’ll accept what Jesus did for you when He felt the pain of the Father’s anger toward you. There is no reason why you need to feel that anguish or pay that price when it’s already been done for you. And all you have to do is ask God to forgive you, to repent and let God change you.

He will. And then, instead of His anger, you’ll really understand His love!

July 25 – The Plumb Line of Emptiness

Isaiah 31-34

God, through Isaiah, is describing the devastation the result of His wrath will bring. Mountains drenched with blood, the sky rolled up like a scroll, streams turned to pitch, a fire that can’t be quenched, complete desolation where the land is inhabited only by pelican, hedgehog, owl, and raven.

I picture a ghost town in a B movie western complete with rambling tumble weeds.

Then God says He will “stretch over it the line of desolation and the plumb line of emptiness.” (34:11)

Has that ever described you? Have you ever felt that life has abandoned you, that you have a longing that burns and can’t be quenched, you feel alone, and lost, and empty?

Dear one, that is not where God wants you to live. Jesus died so that, when you repent of your sin, He can fill you to overflowing with Himself! His love. His grace and mercy. His goodness and joy. When you allow God to fill you, you will have hope for the future, and strength for the day.

The plumb line of emptiness, true emptiness, is the life without God. That void in your life was placed there by God to be filled by God alone. Oh, you can try to fill it yourself. Drugs, alcohol, unhealthy relationships, other gods, self, career, family, busy-ness. But all are substitutes for the real thing – the plumb line of fullness which is God Himself.

That is the point from which your life is blessed by God. You don’t have to live in that black and white movie ghost town with rotting floorboards and banging saloon doors, in a place inhabited by rodents and scavengers.

Let God fill your emptiness like only He can. He’ll turn your mourning into joy, and your tears into gladness. He’ll turn your loneliness into fellowship, and your despair into hope.

March 31 – It’s Not About Them

Judges 3-5

There is a running theme throughout Scripture. God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience. God turns His back on those who reject Him. But He is faithful to save those who call on Him.

There are examples of this here in these chapters in Judges. Israel sinned, God punished, Israel repented, God saved. Israel sinned, God punished, Israel repented, God saved…

I attend a Precepts Bible study. Each week we watch a video of Kay Arthur’s lectures. And we are presently studying the Old Testament Kings. (talk about more examples of consequences for disobedience and blessings for obedience)

Kay said something on the video we watched this week that came to mind as I read these chapters in Judges today. The video was taped about ten years ago. But she could have given this lecture yesterday, as relevant as it was in light of what is in the news these days.

She asks a question: Is God going to punish the United States because we have turned from Him? Then she said:

He has to.

His holiness demands it.

Here’s what I know about God. He is the same today as He was in the time of the Judges and Old Testament Kings. He does not ignore disobedience. He disciplines those He loves.

But God has also said that if His people – we who are called by His name – will “humble themselves and pray and seek (His) face and turn from their wicked ways, then (God) will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14)

So, it’s not that America needs to turn back to God. God is talking to HIS PEOPLE. Christians. He’s talking to you and me.

If CHRISTIANS humble themselves, turn from the evil in our own lives, if WE seek His face, then He will heal our land. God’s punishment on the United States won’t be because there are unbelievers in the White House.

God’s punishment on the United States will come because we Christians are not obeying God. What is happening to America isn’t on unbelievers. It’s on us.

It’s time for a revival in our churches among believers who have been living with sin. What are you going to do about it?

Holy God, I am convicted as I realize what is happening in our country and our world is a direct result of my own disobedience. It’s easy to blame “them.” It’s not so easy to point that finger at me. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Help me to stand for the Truth You have laid out in Scripture. May I not take my eyes off You. May my desires be only Yours. May Your people, we Christians, humble ourselves and call on You out of pure hearts. And may You heal our land as we submit to You.