Anger is tricky.
I’ve heard many sermons throughout my life. I remember very few. I assume that it reflects upon my retention skills rather than the lack of poignancy of most preaching. Perhaps you, too, remember few of the numerous sermons you’ve heard. Yet there are those moments in time, those lines that come amid profound sermons that grab hold of you.
This is one of those lines I’ll never forget. A student preacher delivered this to a gathering of eight people. All of us assembled in a small chapel, awaiting our turn to preach for a class. Students aren’t yet expected to speak with profoundness; students are expected to be students. But those poignant, simple words still ring aloud in my head: “God is not angry with me.” Those words speak peace and comfort. They are beautiful and necessary words. Yet they beg the question . . .
Then why is God so angry?
The Old Testament is full of instances when God grew angry at the people of Israel. Rightly so, the people of Israel were often stubborn, prone to worshiping lesser gods, lacked faith on many occasions, and frequently disobeyed God’s direct words. Their actions incited God to anger. Sin has that effect on a holy God. God gets upset when we fall prey to lies that over promise and under deliver. Good fathers don’t get angry with their children when they make mistakes; they get angry about the decisions their kids make, because fathers know the consequences of those decisions...