Wrath is not a lovely word and it evokes powerful emotions. Ol’ Webster defines it as: “strong vengeful anger or retributory punishment”. Ouch! Wrath is ugly, wrath is hurtful and wrath seems to be running rampant in our world these days. I do not struggle with wrath on either side of the definition. However, it is not luck that allows me to live wrath-free – it is Jesus. Read on to see how you, too, can live wrath-free, like me.
This blog is one in a journey of a Getting to Know God series. The names and attributes of God are adapted from a guide on the Navigators website called 30 Days of Praying the Names and Attributes of God. Today’s blog corresponds with Day 22, God is Wrathful.
Today our Navigators’ Guide says this: “God is wrathful. Unlike human anger, God’s wrath is never capricious, self-indulgent, or irritable. It is the right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.”
Our bible verses for the day are:
Nahum 1:2-8 (TLB)
God is jealous over those he loves; that is why he takes vengeance on those who hurt them. He furiously destroys their enemies. He is slow in getting angry, but when aroused, his power is incredible, and he does not easily forgive. He shows his power in the terrors of the cyclone and the raging storms; clouds are billowing dust beneath his feet! At his command the oceans and rivers become dry sand; the lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade away; the green forests of Lebanon wilt. In his presence mountains quake and hills melt; the earth crumbles, and its people are destroyed.
Who can stand before an angry God? His fury is like fire; the mountains tumble down before his anger. The Lord is good. When trouble comes, he is the place to go! And he knows everyone who trusts in him! But he sweeps away his enemies with an overwhelming flood; he pursues them all night long.
I must admit, upon reading today’s trait of God, I was filled with a bit of trepidation about writing a note to go along with this trait. God is indeed a wrathful God and I grew up in fear of His wrath. Somehow when I was a child I got a picture of God in my head as an angry, wrathful God and believed I could never be good enough to earn His love. Then, as a young adult I made poor choices with the justification that since I would never be good enough anyway, there was no point in trying.
There is a bit of truth to what I believed, that truth being I could never be perfect or righteous on my own merit. The sad part is that the enemy built on that bit of truth in my flawed thinking and heaped a bunch of garbage on top of it. So much so, that even upon really wanting to walk with God as an adult I feared His wrath. It wasn’t until I understood the full impact of Jesus dying on the cross that I realized what happened to that wrath.
Jesus lived a perfect life and therefore did not deserve any of God’s wrath but Jesus laid His life down and sacrificed Himself. That sacrifice was an act that took God’s wrath from me (and you) and redirected it to Jesus, forever lifting the weight of wrath from my shoulders (yours too). Since I have learned the truth of what Jesus did for me I have fully accepted God’s love and forgiveness. Which means I no longer need to fear God’s wrath.
This does not mean that I am perfect, or need to be perfect from this day forth. It means the wrath I deserved for every sin I committed in my past, and every sin I will commit, has been dealt with and wiped clean. In grateful response to this sacrifice, I will do my best, with God’s help, to walk in His ways. When I fall, as I am bound to do, I will always remember that God loves me and sees only Jesus’ white robes of righteousness where my sin used to be. If you are still struggling under the weight of God’s wrath, spend some quiet time with the Holy Spirit. Share with Him what is on your heart that you can’t imagine Jesus paid for, then lay that sin at God’s feet and let Him truly set you free.
Dear one, we have received the righteousness of Jesus so we need not fear the wrath of God. Rather, we can look to the other side of God’s wrath. He protects us with His wrath. He fights for us against those with evil intentions and against those that have acted evil against us. His wrath is deeper than we can imagine. If you are a parent, you can likely recall the wrath you have felt when someone has wronged your child. Now, take your emotion out of it and add God’s pure holiness. Can you imagine God’s vengeful wrath now?
Removing God’s wrath from us and redirecting it to fight for us is a powerful transformation made possible through Jesus’ death and Resurrection. When we accept that grace we can walk in true freedom. This grace is the reason for us to reach out to others and lead them to Jesus so they, too, can live under His righteousness and in His freedom.
Blessings and love,