Do you ever feel angry? I won’t lie, I do too. Still I am in pursuit of a surrendered life that is free of offense, so what would make me angry? Wow is that a good question. Like every other question, if we trust God, He will give us the answer (James 1:5-8). So I have been on a quest for the answer. I don’t have it all figured out yet but I think this is a good start.
If you search for “The anger of the Lord” in the old Testament, you will find that phrase 32 times in the KJV. 29 times the reference is towards the nation of Israel or individuals therein. The other three times it is directed towards a nation outside Israel in defense of Israel. In the 29 cases, without exception, God’s anger is stirred up because, get this, lack of trust! I’ll give you two examples. The first is Moses (first mention of the phrase) and it is during their introduction conversation:
Ex 4:10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”(ESV)
See how Moses is arguing with God? God just demonstrated some cool supernatural miracle stuff and Moses still isn’t convinced. He wasn’t trusting God. Here is another quick one:
Jos 23:14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things[a] that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. 15 But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the Lord your God has given you, 16 if you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”(ESV)
Notice how Joshua makes it very clear that God has delivered on His promises so don’t go chasing after “something better” (other gods) instead of trusting God.
So God does get “angry” when we don’t trust Him. He is a loving Father that wants to provide for us. He will do anything to make it possible, prove it, justify it, demonstrate it…you know like JESUS! So why do we not trust Him? It is the cosmic question.
How about Jesus? What does God-as-man-filled-with-God act like with regard to anger? You could say He was angry at the money changers, but it doesn’t say that explicitly. I think it is safe to assume but I don’t want to add to the Book. You could say He was angry at the Pharisees. Still not explicit but His language is really strong. In both cases it is religion, self-righteousness, man-made stuff that gets Him worked up. But what about anger? Well there are two references where Jesus gets “angry” and it says so:
Mark 3:5 5 And He glanced around at them with vexation and anger, grieved at the hardening of their hearts, and said to the man, Hold out your hand. He held it out, and his hand was [completely] restored (AMP).
Mark 10:14 When Jesus saw this, he was ·upset [angry; indignant] and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children [meaning humble and dependent].(EXB)
In both cases the people (including His disciples) are refusing Grace. Here is God-with-them, Immanuel, ready to release love into people’s lives and they have a better idea. They aren’t trusting God. I don’t want to go long so go and take a look at Eph 4:30 in context. What grieves the Holy Spirit is the same as what angered Jesus, failure to trust God. Not just trust in what He will do but who He is.
I want to challenge your thinking. God knows we will mess it up. He sent His Son to the cross knowing we have and will continue to mess it up in our own effort. We cannot make ourselves righteous. The only hope for us is to surrender to Him. If He began a good work in removing our sin (noun) then He will finish a work in freeing us from sin (verb). Jesus never sinned and was tempted in every way as a man. Why not? He was completely surrendered to the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. He was so surrendered He willingly gave His life. We get to do the same.
So what makes a good God angry? When we don’t trust in who He is and pick our own way, even when we are “trying to please Him” out of our own effort. Don’t believe me? What words did Paul use with the Galatians? “You foolish Galatians who has bewitched you.” That is pretty strong stuff. Feels a little like anger wouldn’t you say?
So what makes us angry and it is not from the enemy? Denying the amazing goodness and loving kindness and unlimited provision and finished work of Jesus and…well you get the idea, HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD! When we see people wanting to work out of their effort and it is not working, we provide counsel to “trust God.” When it is returned void or worse returned hostile, it upsets us as it should. Here is where it gets tricky. Don’t let it become personal. God can defend Himself. As a matter of fact He will return blessings for curses. Our Daddy has our backs, period. So when you “feel it rise up” in you, declare how amazing our God is and trust Him to work it out. Jesus actually told the disciples to shake off the dust. That is something I am learning.
Yay God. He is so awesome!