Welcome again to the Broward Church, if you’re new here, my name is Tony and you’re catching us in week three of a series we’re calling Who is the Lord? It’s a series we have been looking at, Exodus Chapter thirty four. So you can go and turn there if you have a Bible. If you don’t, no worries. It’ll be up on the screen a little bit. Exodus 34 is where we find God’s self disclosure statement. It’s a it’s a it’s a it’s a text that describes who he is.
And we said that the point of this series a couple of weeks ago, we said this is is basically that we would hit the reset button, that we would start to look at God afresh or anew, that we would allow our perspective of him not to be changed or crafted by the world, but instead to be kind of reshaped by his word, reshaped by who he says he is. And so, as always, I want invite you if you’re watching us online to go out and share this post as you share, you give voice to the gospel.
I also want to encourage you to drop any comments you want in the chat throughout the time. If you have something that you feel like was an encouraging point or a scripture that relates to what we’re talking about or anything like that, you can go ahead and drop that in the chat. Most people say you can’t talk in church, but I say go ahead, do it. And if you’re here, you can remain quiet. I don’t know. But but it is it is daylight savings.
And so what that means is that it’s it’s early and the morning service had I love them, but they had energy that was like here. So I need you at least give me this level of energy. Give me something, you know, come on. Every once in a while, probably good enough. There you go. Wow. Look at you. You’re amazing. All right.
Also, if you to start the chat, you can just drop your favorite scripture just just for fun. I don’t know.
OK, at the start of the series, we said that we were going to send out some people to video people in Fort Lauderdale, around the beach area, also on campuses to ask them a question, who is God? I want to show you the answer. I want to show you what people said about God. And I want you to notice as you’re as you’re listening, not just what is there, but what is missing, what are some elements of the characteristic of God that maybe aren’t expressed in the comments and maybe you wouldn’t express if you were asked the question.
So here here it is, random people on the street telling us who they believe God to be. I think God can be so many different things, so many different people, because he fulfills those parts in your life. God to me is love. Basically, that’s the way I define God, forgiving. Always on time, and he could be loving he’d be a father figure to a mother figure to be a friend. I think I would describe as just like a rock in my life something that is constant, especially with everything that’s going on.
So I think it’s in different seasons of your life. You can view God in different ways because he fills, whatever you’re needing, I say mercy because I mean, I know I haven’t lived a perfect life, but at the end of the day, I know I can talk to God and he going to, listen to what I got to say.Omniscient, omnipresent you know, just always with me at all times.
All knowing and all seeing is definitely like things that you hear. But I think everybody perceives that differently. The idea is supposed to be is that you can to be able to be able to describe it’s undescribable. You know, he transcends human characteristics. And so I think it’s a little presumptuous to try to boil him down to how we would characterize it. For me as a as a as a male, as a man, I embody the masculine energy of God. And women,
Women embody the energy of God. So God is not really male or female. But but like everything, I’m a pretty spiritual person. So I was a little bit conflicted with my spirituality, was conflicting with my belief in God if I believe in the universe, but I also believe in God. But God is the universe in my opinion. So I realize that, yeah, it’s I’m not disrespecting God in a way because I also believe in the universe and something that’s beyond what we see. There is an aspect of God that for me is just something that you can’t explain.
So I would just say that God for me is just some type of higher power out there in the world. When people think of God because he’s so like big.
He’s this ethereal thing. They think he’s so far away. But for me personally, I just kind of made a habit of asking for specific questions from my life. For example, what do you want me to do with my life? What job you want me to have? And he actually has answered those things. So I think that’s like a testament to the fact that he’s not out there.
My perspective is that it’s very difficult to have a relationship with God, especially coming from a science background. I always need like concrete evidence of everything. So I need to have like to see someone physically to sort of have a relationship with them. Spiritually and mentally,
I speak to him every single day, several times a day. And I know he’s listening. Before, I used to think, like, why do bad things happen to, you know, good people, but it says in the Bible like it, good things happen to people and bad things happen to good people.
Although God loves all of us, he allows us to go through hard times to become better. The thought experiment of OK, if I do what I do now and believe in God. You would go to heaven if I do what I do now, but don’t believe God, I go to hell. And so that was definitely one of the tougher things for me. I would describe them as, you know, the man who made me give me life, still breathing life into me.
You know, with him, anything’s possible. The only man I fear, you know. We could have went on and on talking to different people and what we would find is pretty similar responses. And I love some of the comments. I love the lady who had the social anti social butterfly shirt. That’s my favorite. But those are the comments. Either God is kind of this ethereal idea out in space. We all empower him. He is part of the universe, whatever, or he is loving kindness, goodness, gentleness, all those sorts of things.
And I think a lot of what we heard is really true. But but what I noticed after I listened for a second time was that there was something that was missing that in fact, the Bible talks about a lot.
I once had a friend I once heard from a doctor friend that that you learn just as much from what’s not there as you do from what’s there. And what was missing from those conversations, really, no one we interacted with talked about. And honestly, I don’t even know if I would have mentioned it. Maybe it’s because it’s become passé. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t fit our modern perspective about who God is. As a matter of fact, most of us, most of the people that I interact with on a daily basis don’t ever talk about it.
And it’s interesting to me because what’s missing, as I mentioned, the Bible talks about a lot like six hundred plus times. Today, I’m excited because we get a chance to talk about the thing that our culture doesn’t like about God, something that we believe he needs some PR about, something that we believe he may need some defending. We often overlook. We skip it in our children’s books and in our adult revisions about who God is. We just ignore this characteristic.
Today, we get a chance to talk about God’s anger. God’s anger. Exodus, chapter thirty four, verses six and seven, I’ve been encouraging you to to make this verse or put this verse to memory, I hope some of you guys have been doing that. So we’re going to try to read it out loud one more time. Let’s do it. Ready?
The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished. He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation. This week. Last week we looked at compassionate gracious. The week before we looked at his name, the Lord, the Lord. And this week we get to look at slow to anger.
This is a fun one. In Hebrew, Slow to anger literally means long of nostrils. He’s long of nostrils. It’s Erech apayim, Erech apayim. And I’m not even making this up. It sounds like a joke, but it’s actually not. It’s a Hebrew saying that for someone that isn’t easily angered and it kind of makes sense because if you think about the way in which we get angry, you can understand how that long of nostrils thing might work. What happens when you get angry? When you’re frustrated, you take a deep breath, your chest fills with air, and all of a sudden your nostrils begin to flare.
And then you pour out your vengeance on whoever you want to talk to.
This idea of your nostrils flaring is this concept of you are either short of nostrils or your long of nostrils. What is he saying? Simply that God’s nostrils take a long time to flare. It takes some time. This this word in the Bible is often translated as, hey, anybody in the back? And you give me some water. I don’t know. I’m looking back that this word is often translated as patient.
Look at this passage in chapter 14, verse nineteen.
Whoever is patient Erech apayim long of nostrils has great understanding. So what are they relating it to? Synonymous.
There’s a synonym between being patient and being wise, being willing to endure and having wisdom, but one who is quick tempered. It’s the exact opposite, short of nostrils, displays folly. Bettera patient person proverbs chapter 16 versus thirty two, then a warrior. One who’s self with self control than one who takes a city, what is he saying? Thank you. He’s saying that, that there is of a greater value to be a person who is of self-control than a warrior. Who is more dominant in society, who has more of an impact in the world?
It’s not those who take cities, but instead those who are self controlled.
That’s what it’s saying here, these verse kind of teach us that being self-control is being is being wise, being self-control is ruling your own spirit, or rather, I’m sorry, being patient is being wise, or being patient, is ruling your own spirit. So if you’re slow to anger, it’s not that you don’t have any feelings of frustration. It’s not that you don’t have any anger. It’s that you don’t lose it. You don’t explode on somebody. You’re not,
Your anger isn’t easily awakened by some temperamental, minuscule thing. Your controlled, your temperate, and you rule over your feelings of frustration. This is what we discover in the phrase slow to anger. What we understand is that you can make God angry, but you really have to work at it. You can make him really mad, but you really have to work on it and honestly, we can break it into two different points. The first thing we learn is that God is slow to anger. Some of you need to hear this morning that God is slow to anger, that Yahweh doesn’t have a temper.
He’s not hasty in his emotions. He’s not someone you need to walk on eggshells around. I love what the king, James says instead of slow to anger, they use the word longsuffering. Meaning God is willing to suffer for a long time with all of our ridiculousness. He’s slow to anger, another translation says he keeps his anger at a distance. I love that. His anger is far away. That translation also says that his mercy is nearby. Some of you need to hear that God’s anger is far away, but his mercy is near by his slow to anger.
But then there’s some others of us watching online or right here in this auditorium who need to hear that God is slow to anger. Meaning he does get angry. In fact, the Bible teaches us that he gets really, really mad. And I know we live in a postmodern world and we don’t really like talking about this. But as I mentioned before, the scriptures talk about it a lot more than 600 times. The Bible refers to God’s wrath.
Here are a few of the intense examples. This is some chapter seven, verse 11. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. How often is God mad? Every single day.
Every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword. You think about the picture of you going over to take a girl out and on the porch on the rocking chair is a dad with a shotgun.
Sharpening his sword, he will bend and string his bow. He will he has prepared his deadly weapons and he makes ready his flaming arrows. God is angry every day, every day his wrath is on the world because every day there is evil being done to so many people.
Look at the people that God is angry at, Psalm, Chapter 11, verse five says The Lord examines the righteous but the wicked those who love violence. Listen to this. He hates with a passion.
This is one of those verses you avoid Kingdom kids he hates with a passion God hates, he detests who does he hate? Those who love violence. Who does he hate, the swindlers, the con artists who rip off elderly women, the corrupt politicians who stuffed their pockets with money, the abusive fathers who remove the innocents from their children, the date rapists who get off scot free. The pedophile who preys on the young. By the way, someone tried to scam our church members this weekend.
Really interesting. Someone claiming to be me asking people for gift cards. Just just a little news for everybody. If anybody says they’re me and they’re asking for gift cards, it’s a scam. Please don’t send them any money anyway. The Lord hates that type of person.
Last week, I said that God was gracious to all types of horrible people, and that’s true, but what we see is a creator whose character is this, that his anger comes from his mercy. So we can examine this a little bit because this is actually the key point of this whole lesson. You know you know that that you have heard people say this, that they cannot believe in a god of wrath. Maybe you’re talking to somebody and they’re like, you know, the only God I believe in is a god of love and the only God
I believe in is a God that never judges and never does any that that really just wants to protect and and care for his people. Because every single time a child is sold, sold into prostitution, you believe in a god of wrath. And every time there’s a rape or a murder or genocide, you think to yourself, this is not the way life is supposed to be. This is not the way this is not right. And you’re right, because what’s happening is, like we talked about last week, the war.
There’s a war happening between the gods of the world, human creation and Yahweh, God, the creator. And so, yes, God is going to work it out. Romans, Chapter eight, all for good. But in the meantime, his anger is beginning to boil.
And because of the evil world we live in, a god of mercy and compassion will often find that the proper, loving, merciful, emotionally mature response is anger, wrath. What does this wrath look like, John Stott said it’s his steady, unrelenting, unremitting, uncompromising antagonism to evil in all its forms and all its manifestations. It’s this constant pressure against the evil of the world. God is pouring out constant pressure against the evil of the world. God cannot stand evil.
Anger is the right response to a world full of evil. And this is what we need to just put a pin in it, because I just want to make sure we understand that our anger is very different from God’s anger. In preparation for this lesson, I found myself doing something really interesting all of last week, I decided to take note of every time I got angry, you should do this. It’s a terrible exercise.
It’s something that really move every time you catch yourself getting annoyed. Just make a little note. I’m not like an angry guy, but I wrote every single time. I got frustrated, I got annoyed or I was impatient and want to hear some of the things I found. I got annoyed this week that my daughter touched dirt. I was annoyed. I don’t know why I was annoyed. It was probably because I thought I had to clean her up afterwards.
I got kind of impatient and kind of angry at a guy who ran a stop sign on Orange Drive and it looked like he was about to hit me. I was angry. I was upset. I got upset this week because my wife forgot to buy a sponge. There it is. I got upset this week because it was about one thirty in the morning and all of a sudden my baby started crying.
I got upset this week because I was building something and I cut a board and I realized that I cut it too short. I was going to have to cut it again. I got angry this week because I was running late for a meeting that I didn’t want to run late for, and that’s just a sample size, right? I could go on and on and on and say, I don’t want to go on and on and on. But I have a lot of stories.
Again, I’m not an angry dude, but I just noticed how annoyed I was at so many things.
But here’s here’s what I found myself realizing is that often my anger and I bet you your anger, too, comes from a place of either a wounded ego or this feeling like I was like someone took advantage of me or I was going to have to spend more time on something. Somebody hurt me. Somebody made me feel stupid. I was going to have to do something I didn’t want to do. Somebody was cheated. There was a debt owed to me.
Look, I learned that our anger is inherently selfish.
Your anger is inherently selfish. It’s even a little bit narcissistic. While Yahweh is angry, it’s not because when he’s angry, it’s not because anybody hurt him. Yahweh’s angry, anger is inherently merciful. It comes as a response to the evil perpetrated by people towards other people or people towards themselves. God’s anger is like a parent. Accusing a drug dealer of selling dope to their child. That type of anger or the anger you yell as your son or daughter is about to run into the middle of a street with a bunch of cars.
The anger of man is of a different breed. This may be the reason why the apostle James, the brother of Jesus, said everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry. Why? Because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Human anger is of a different quality than the anger of God. We’re not talking apples and apples. This is apples and oranges. You and I, for the most part, don’t really know how to be angry.
We know to be angry that someone cut us off and I’m saying agree not to be angry, that we feel disrespected, we know to be angry that we worked long hours and no one gives us the credit that we deserve. We know to be angry when we haven’t eaten all day or when the government decides that we have to wake up one hour earlier than we should have. You know what I’m saying? Like, we ought to be angry in those things.
Most of the time we say we’re angry righteously. We say I want justice. Really, what we want is revenge though. We say, I want change. Really, what we want is just to have it our way. And actually, you can you can trace this because of how popular revenge movies are right now, like, you know, when someone goes on a rampage, Liam Neeson, his daughter is kidnaped, she’s taken and he has a certain set of skills that will allow him to kill 30 men.
You know, we eat it up. We’re like, yeah, you took his daughter, now kill everyone, slit their throat, get em, you know, I was I didn’t even know this. But there’s another movie I’ve never watched this movie called John Wick, which apparently the whole premise of the story is that someone killed his dog and then he kills one hundred people.
Yeah, that’s what we eat up.
We’re like, get em! Oh, I love this movie. Our anger is like this, it’s revenge, it’s frustration, it’s how dare you do that to me? Are you kidding me? I worked for this company for 40 years.
I got water all over my computer. That’s the anger we know how to have. We’re impatient. We rush, we rush into it.
We don’t let the whole story unfold. We don’t give a second chance, certainly not a third chance. It’s impatient within the first 30 seconds we have our opinion and it doesn’t matter what anybody says, no benefit of the doubt, no mercy. We rush were swift into accusations. It’s violent. It’s vengeful. Whereas Yahweh is slow to anger, his anger is on tempo, there’s a cadence to it. He’s patiently waiting for the exact right moment.
There’s a really cool illustration from the Old Testament that I want to share with you, if you have a Bible to turn over to the Book of Nahum, if you don’t again, it would be up on the screen. Nahum is yet another place where we see a, quote, exodus, the exodus. Thirty four quoted, but it’s quoted in such an interesting way, because last week you and I talked about Ninneveh, remember?
Ninneveh. It was it was awesome. Right? Jonah was sent to Nineveh because there were evil. There were barbaric and terrible. They they they if you’re still looking for it, it’s between Habakkuk and Micah. Hopefully that helps you. I bet you it doesn’t. OK, so so Ninneveh, we met Ninneveh. Ninneveh is the capital of the Assyrian empire. They’re terrible people, oppressive. We read stories last week, right, that they they cut off people’s heads and piled them in a pile in front of the kingdom and they set on fire all the women and children, wonderful human beings, just fantastic people.
You want over for dinner. They’re enslaving. They’re they’re pillaging. They’re burning. They’re skinning alive. They’re a terribly barbaric place. And we said that God was compassionate and gracious to them and he sent them jonah. And Jonah didn’t want to go over there because he knew they were terrible and he didn’t want them to be saved. But anyway but over the course of time, Jonah eventually makes its way there. He preaches that sermon. Everybody repents.
It’s a move of God. There should be celebration and all that stuff. And God’s kindness led to the repentance. And then eventually God said I was going to destroy you. But then he relented. He said, you know what? And he spares the city celebration in the city. Everybody’s so happy. Today we read Nahum. Nahum is one hundred and fifty years later. This time. Well, I’m not going to spoil it yet. This is 610 B.C..
Nahum is just a beautiful story that tells of the turning back of Nineveh to a place of evil and the way that God views the city again. It’s officially and finally reached its limit of evil, and God wants nothing more of it. Listen to the intensity of these words. The Lord is a jealous and avenging God. He’s talking about the city of Nineveh, the lord takes vengeance and its filled with wrath, the Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.
The Lord is slow to anger Exodus chapter thirty four. But what great in power. Meaning he’s kind and compassionate, but do not take for granted his mercy. The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. You hear the quote of Exodus chapter 34? Slow to anger does not leave the guilty unpunished. So what’s happening here? Through all of the years of their violence, God relented for year after year and chance after chance after chance after chance.
God continue to relent. God continue to go. Look, you are. It’s OK. It’s OK. I can put up with it. I can put up with it. He was long of nostrils right. He didn’t even take a deep breath and kill em all a hundred and fifty years of violence.
And then God said enough is enough. Here’s the point, there comes a point in time when God says no more, no more, no more violence, no more injustice, no more killing, no more pillaging, no more raping. No more kidnaping. No more stealing, no more enslaving, no more. You will not cause devastation for my people. You will not harm my creation. You will not continue to lie and steal and cheat. I have had it with your evil.
You crossed the line and there is no more quote unquote Mr. Nice Guy. You cannot continue to exploit shame, abuse, corrupt, be selfish, be deceitful and I’m through with you. This is what’s in this statement. I am full of wrath from my foes. You were my people, Nineveh. I sent you, Jonah. I asked you to repent. You repented. I relented. Now it’s one hundred and fifty years.
And enough is enough. Enough is enough. The anger of the Lord was woken up like a sleeping giant, and there was no more stopping him. The Book of Nahum then describes the utter destruction of Nineveh because you cannot take God’s mercy for granted.
It’s intense. But for the purposes of our discussion, I want to talk a little bit about how it happened, because it’s a special interest for us as we’re thinking about the character of God. See, as far as we know, Ninneveh was not destroyed by some sort of like act of God, meaning like a flood or like fire. It wasn’t like Sodom and Gomorrah. You know, I’m saying there was no plague that swept through the nation. Instead, God used another nation called Babylon.
And Babylon destroyed, Nineveh totally wiped them out. Do you know any people from Nineveh? Exactly. Think about what this means. It means that sorry, it means that the defeat of Ninneveh by a pagan army is an example of Yahweh’s wrath. So let’s pull this apart. We’re about to hit the deep end. Are you guys ready? You can plot Yahweh’s, anger along four access points, I got this from a couple of people, but from Dallas Willard and John-Mark Comer present-future and active-present, active-passive.
I’m sorry. So present future. That’s that’s an axis way. And then active, passive. And I want to explain it to you for a second. So Yahweh’s present wrath, that’s today’s wrath is when he deals with sin today. On this side of judgment, like he did with Ninneveh, it’s when God waits or rather doesn’t wait for some day of judgment, some day of reckoning, he steps in right now to stop it. He goes no more.
It’s when you’re living and all of a sudden God speaks into the world or intervenes in your life and he disciplines. Present wrath is incredibly rare. It’s actually quite rare in the Bible, but it gets a lot of press and then there’s future wrath.
Future wrath is this idea that one day there will be a judgment day where God will put everything right. Where God will fix all the evil in the world, the people in the Bible call it the day of Yahweh or the day of the Lord. Often we call it judgment day. And what’s interesting about Judgment Day is that judgment day is either a point of wrath or a point of mercy, really, depending on where you stand. If you’re righteous in right relationship with God and humanity, then judgment day for you, especially if you’re the oppressed or the poor, those with in power is an awesome day.
The Christians in the first century, said Maranatha, which is this old Greek phrase, that means, Lord, please come. But if you’re the wicked, the oppressor’s, the abusers, those who refuse God, this is not a day you should be looking forward to. It’s a warning that one day God will pay you for the sins that you did. So that’s present and future. And then you have active and passive wrath. Act of wrath is when you act directly opposed to God and then God puts a stop to the evil by his own hand immediately.
Think about Annanias and Sapphira, think about Sodom and Gomorrah, you said egregiously, and the next moment you’re no longer breathing. Know what I’m saying you did something and God says you don’t deserve to live. Done. Even though this gets, again, all the press and everyone hates these stories in the Bible, this is actually the exception to the rule. Most of the time, active wrath doesn’t really happen. Passive wrath, however, passive wrath, which is the one down here, is when God nonaction is judgment.
So let me explain, your life in many ways is protected by God because you currently live in a world full of evil. So at any given moment, your life could be destroyed by the evil of the world. Somebody can just destroy you.
Right. But God has had his protection. Some people call it a hedge, a moment of protection around you. And at some point, God will say as a as an act of wrath, I no longer protect you. I no longer protect you. This might look like Babylon destroying Nineveh, I was protecting this country for a long time. I no longer protect it now. Babylon have them. There’s actually a really interesting verse in isaiah, chapter five, verse twenty six.
Someone sent me this verse after the sermon yesterday this morning, and it says that the God blows. It says that God whistles. I love this. And other nations immediately deliver his wrath. I love that. I mean, I love that sort of in a scary way, this is God’s anger. That’s passive. He whistles. And then. He lets the world devour us. Abraham Lincoln said publicly that he thought the Civil War was God’s judgment for American slavery.
In the second inaugural address, after being asked how to reconcile the horrors of war with the divine attributes of God, his answer was that the war would continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman. Two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk. He says this and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword. As we said three thousand years ago, so still, it must be said, the judgment of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
Now, I don’t know if he’s right, but let’s just say he was right. Does this mean that God made people kill people? No, the civil war in every war is obviously a flagrant disobedience of the character of Jesus. But could the could this have been an expression of wrath? Years and years of disobedience, years and years of evil, years and years of violence. Years and years of oppression. And he says, I will let you devour each other.
Go for it. I don’t know, but it sounds pretty Old Testament to me. So, again, passive wrath. Passive, present, passive, active, present future. Now let’s make it personal. The wrath that you and I mostly experience is the wrath of passive present wrath. This is the wrath that we typically experience, it’s when God allows you to sin and destroy your own life. It’s when you do something and you’re living in such a way that, you know, you shouldn’t be living, you’re you’re drinking too much or smoking, you’re you’re you’re addicted.
You’re you’re you’re doing things, you know, whatever the thing is, you know that you’re lying. You’re cheating, you’re stealing. You’re doing all that stuff. And God says, OK, you were in my protection and now I let you go. And all of a sudden, there is a disaster in your life. Look at the way Romans Chapter one puts it. It says this The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
So he says this is the wrath of God. And look how he describes the wrath of God three times exactly the same way. Catch the word God gave them over.
God gave them over in their sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, verse twenty six, God gave them over to shameful lust. God gave them over to a deprived mind. He said, OK, you want to do it, you want to live this way, let me show you what it’s like to live without my protection. Go for it. How does this look? Well, it looks like your body is torn apart by drugs. It looks like the scandal breaks.
It looks like you’re fired for cheating. It looks like your children grow up to hate you. It looks like your marriage is a wreck because of an affair. It looks like the pornography addiction leads you with a cold, stubborn heart or you wallow in the filth that you have made for yourself. I know it’s heavy, but stay with me, see, most of God’s wrath is either here. Or it’s up here. Which means most of it is either God will allow you to just suffer through your own making, you will reap what you sow, or if you don’t, one day.
One day in judgment, you’ll pay. The idea is this, that men that God allows you to ruin your own life or he waits for the day to act and put an end to evil forever.
This is the typical way wrath is being dealt with, even though all of the headlines are up here and when I the fire or killed or whatever, and I guess here’s the here’s the the saving point for this lesson.
Yahweh waited for one hundred and fifty years before he gave up on Ninneveh. So there’s two things that are important here, Yahweh waited. But then he did eventually give up or punish Ninneveh. And honestly, and if I was God and thankfully I’m not, I doubt I would have even sent Jonah, I would have sent Liam Neeson, and I’m saying. Give them a chance, no way. But your way is slow to anger, oops.
And here, I just want to stop and make a quick note, because even though we in our culture kind of hate the idea of an angry God. What’s interesting is if you read the Bible, the prophets and the poet poets and the Kings and all those people, they didn’t complain about God’s anger. They actually complained that his anger wasn’t fast enough. See, when you’re living in a world where there’s so much blessing, you’re kind of like, please, Lord, leave me alone.
But when you’re living in a world where there’s constant, constant, constant oppression, you’re just waiting for the day for God to come and make things right.
One of the most popular prayers and all of the Bible is how long. How long people pray this Habbakuk is one of the most famous one, how long will you put up with violence? How long they were frustrated that he would delay. They all knew that one day it would end, but they wanted it to be done right now. And right now, we live in a cultural paradigm where for the most part, people hate this idea. We don’t want the idea that God is angry is so out of our culture right now.
The new idea is God is never angry. Because as followers of Jesus, as people who claim to be Christians, God loves me just for who I am right now in my making, and it doesn’t matter what I do, he cares for me and he’ll always be there for me. And and some of that stuff is true. But the implication is actually not very true. We have written out of the God is angry passages. We just we just like cover over them.
And then we feel like we need to apologize to our friends. Right. We’re like we’re reading through Noah’s story and we’re like, and God killed one. No, no, no. He saved animals. That’s what he was doing. Animals are being saved, you know, or he marches around Jericho. And it’s not it has nothing to do with judgment, has to do with the fact that, you know, God is powerful and we try to explain it away because it’s no longer socially acceptable.
We want to hire a PR firm to maybe make God a little more modern. This image of God being angry has become passé. We just kind of moved on, evolve into a more progressive viewpoint of God that God is not angry. He’s totally accepting. And the problem with this is that the move to recast God comes because of a disconcerting move to redefine love. Love equals tolerance in our society.
This is love, love is agreeing with everyone, love is saying no judgment, love is saying, you know, truth is elastic. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong. My right is you’re wrong and it’s OK. We have to accept each other, do not judge. And some of this stuff is true. But what has become crazy to me is that if you disagree, let’s say, about sexuality, no matter how gracious, kind, intelligent you are, you immediately earn the label of bigot.
That’s the world we live in, if you disagree, you’re a hateful person, how ridiculous is that? I disagree with my wife all the time, but I love her to death. It’s a ridiculous thought. But it’s because people don’t understand that, that actually, if you love, there are times when you need to be a little intolerant towards people’s actions. The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is apathy, it’s not caring at all.
See, I’ve learned very clearly that there’s times where love is not equal to tolerance at all. Love, in fact, the type of love that Jesus talks about often leads to anger at people’s actions. So God, getting angry is a God showing love, imagine how crazy it would be if God allowed the people who are his creation to be constantly destroyed by others of his creation without getting mad at them.
That’s not love at all. In many ways that’s like hatred. See, Yahweh’s anger to his people is not rash. But it is there. It’s patient, it’s just it’s unselfish and it comes from a place of compassion. He’s angry at the way a loving father would be angry. And in spite of all the current rebranding of our world to fit the modern viewpoint. We have to begin to take the words of God more seriously. God is mad at the world because of their sin, and I’m just going to throw this out there, you if the shoe fits, wear it.
But God may be angry at you for the life that you’re living.
Something you may want to think about. You know, if you’re pushing back at me, I want to give you a little bit of an anecdotal thought. The 20th century was the worst century in human history. More wars, the Holocaust and gulags, 20th century was a terrible time. Marx said that the opium of the people was religion. That religion was the thing that was causing all of this stuff. And it turns out that people who follow Marx’s theology about life became the people who were the worst.
And there was a quote by a man later on who had lived through communism and fascism and seen genocide and the violence that was brought upon by Marx ideas, and this is what he says. This is a Polish philosopher who said the true opium for the people is belief in nothingness after death. He says the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayal’s and our greed, our cowardice and murders, we are not going to be judged.
What he’s saying is that what really drives hatred is this belief that at the end of your life, no one’s going to hold you accountable because who cares if you’re violent, if no one’s going to hold you accountable, who cares if you’re a swindler, if no one’s going to hold you accountable? Let me tell you, the wrath of God is a good thing, especially if you’re living in the world in which we live. All I’m saying is that if you remove the concept of an angry God, you are missing something fundamental to the character of who God says he is.
Let’s close this thing out. I have no idea where you are on the map, progressive in your viewpoint of God or incredibly conservative if you’re a believer, if you’re an agnostic. I don’t know if you love the Bible or you hate it. And obviously, this is a thorny issue to talk about. And I’m sure I’ve upset, upset some of you.
But let’s drag all this into a relationship with our creator. Because maybe you need to hear today like me sometimes that God is slow in his anger. He’s not mad at you. He’s not mad at you. Maybe you have something in your subconscious that’s nagging you that’s thinking that God is trying to get back at you. He’s trying to unload at you. You’re in the crosshairs and the gun is cocked.
And please hear this, God is patient with you. He sees your future and he sees that you’re trying to repent if you are, he sees the person you’re becoming and like a dad and like a mom, he’s trying to coax you into that destiny, coax you into that future. But maybe some of you need to hear that God is actually angry. You’ve abandoned the idea of an angry Jesus long years ago, you worship at the altar of tolerance.
You worship at the altar of individualism, and as our society begins to shift towards moral anarchy, you’re like, I love this. This is exactly what we need. And God has become kind of that weekend permissive parent, you know, you have friends like that who had a parent that let them do whatever they wanted. You know, they would they would like they would let you know the friend, like smoke in the house or drink in the house or have sex with the boyfriend upstairs because they were just open minded.
When I was a kid, I was like, that is so cool. I wish my parents were like that. But now, as a minister dealing with the fallout of those types of parenting, I’m thankful that that is not love at all. I’m thankful that I never got that, because that was just apathy. Maybe that’s the way you view God, your image of God is this laissez faire God, just like do whatever you want. You know, I’m just I’ll be with you.
Just do whatever you want.
And I wonder if that progressive view of the world, if you’ve held on to that because it gives you a free pass to do whatever you want. I wonder if you’ve held on to the idea that God loves you just the way you are because you want to be your own God. I wonder if not judging others gives you a blank check to sin however you want to sin and to not feel guilty about it. So you might need to listen to me again.
God is angry. He hates those who do evil. But wherever you are. This is for everyone. I wonder if your view of Jesus and his father are rooted in the Gospels or rooted in the Bible. It amazes me how many people spout off claims about Jesus that are not in the Bible. He never judged anybody. I’m like, have you read his interactions with any of the Pharisees? You know, what I learned about Jesus is that he’s primary primarily just hugging children.
And I’m like, did you know that he went away after three years of rebuking people and flip tables and whipped people or whipped? I don’t even know if he what people he may have. I don’t know.
But like like like do you do you know the I wonder if you’ve read it slowly and deeply and allowed him to redefine your vision of who God is. Does your view of God come from an evolved source just from googling, is it OK for me to X, Y and Z? Is it OK for me to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah? Look, God is not a permissive parent, but he’s also not like an angry jerk of a dad.
He’s a good father, compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding and love. However you think about God, I want to remind you that that thought about God does reflect the way that you interact with him and the people around you. Yahweh is slow to anger, long of nostrils we are to be the same. Are you slow to anger? Maybe want to ask the person who lives with you? Hey, my slow to anger and if they pause, the answer is yes.
Hey, am I angry? Yes, that’s the answer. You know, one day God will judge the earth, and I just want to give you an encouragement, you don’t have to be the earth’s judge. You don’t have to do it.
Be in your place if you need to be like against stuff against injustice, that’s good, that’s biblical.
But be careful about letting your heart be wrapped with the lust for revenge. Yahweh’s the judge, not us. Our job is simple. Be like him. Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger. The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate, gracious God. Slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness rebellion and sin yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished. He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation.
Let’s pray for communion.