Picture this, you’re walking into church on a Sunday morning, everything is the same, friends say hi as you walk towards the worship center and grab a bulletin. The cover of the bulletin has a storm that looks like its headed toward the person in the picture. You sit there wondering what the sermon is going to be about that day, the plagues? The “storms” of life? The next thing you see is the stage, everything looks normal except for the lights seem dimmer and darker. “Thats odd” you think, as you look around at who is joining the congregation this Sunday. The band is finally on the stage, and worship starts, the songs are unusually upbeat and every single one is thanking God. “Wow, today’s message is going to be great!” you say, but then when everyone sits down the word on the screen makes you a little uneasy. “Wrath” displays in big letters, and then next to it the word “Love” appears a little smaller.
This could happen to any of us, you never know exactly what the preacher is going to say. The word ‘wrath’ was surprising, usually pastors try to stay on the happy, and loving side of God. This should make us a little worried because, consistently through the Bible, the phrase “jealous God” is quoted many times. The wrath and jealousy of God is very real and aren’t we glad for that? God loves us in ways we may never understand. God desires us, He adores us, and wants to have relationship with us, and with a love that great I can understand why He would become jealous when our attention is on other things. God sent Jesus to die for us, His son, a nature of Himself, and yet we focus on other things like Sasquatch, Hollywood, and ourselves.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. -2 Chronicles 7:14
God wants to give us good things, He is a God of love and truth, however, like we see in this verse, He is also a God of justice and forgiveness. I have the feeling that God is pushing the knowledge of how great He is by having the authors of the Bible write those descriptions of Him. He really is just wanting to have relationship with us, and wants us to care about the things that He cares about. He cares about those who are oppressed, who are suffering, who are alone, and caught in sin. In the book of Isaiah, God is described as being disappointed in seeing that no one was stepping in for the widow and the orphan, and He gets dressed, and comes for them Himself. He protects the weak and the weary. That justice and greatness, would come with anger because His people are supposed to respond to the needs of others.
For I the Lord, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; and I will faithfully give them their recompense, and make an everlasting covenant with them. – Isaiah 61:8
For the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God-lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and He destroy you from off the face of the earth. -Deuteronomy 6:15
God is always willing to forgive us, but as people we have pride and we are not concerned with he things that God is concerned with. Often it is hard to see these descriptions of God in the New Testament, but there is a reason God provided us with both. The Old Testament, is full of history. The Old Testament is something we can go back to see where everything started. It contains the most brilliant stories and information. In 2 Chronicles, Jehoshaphat, prays to God before he decides to go to war and attack Moab. God is pleased that He asked Him what he should do instead of relying on himself and so God gives him victory over Moab. Nehemiah has the job of rebuilding the walls around the city, and he has to teach all these people who didn’t know anything about building how to build. Nehemiah ends up gaining the blessing of God and having the walls rebuilt and defended well. Solomon in 2 Chronicles relies on God to help Him with the wisdom of how to rebuild the temple, and it sounds beautiful.
The Old Testament really shows the heart of God, all of these stories, and narratives, give us a way to know what God wants and who God is. If the Old Testament talks about God being full of wrath, justice, anger and jealousy, why don’t we think that He still has those traits? God is God, He can do literally anything He wants, and the Bible says He doesn’t change. That means God is still a God of justice, still a God of justice, still a God of love and wrath. I think if we took this seriously now, we wouldn’t continue to sin the way that we are. The Bible is not a feel good book for our self- esteem, it is a book about our loving creator making the biggest sacrifice we could ever imagine.
The Old Testament still speaks to us today, and I recently found myself falling in love with God all over again because of the wonderful things He did to show His care for us. I hope you’ll be able to take time to read some of the Old Testament. It will transform your heart and your thinking.