PASSAGE | Judges 2:11-15
And they provoked the LORD to anger.” — Judges 2:12
So what’s wrong with me? Am I someone who enjoys pain? Do I like others being angry with me? Absolutely not. In fact, the opposite is true: I want people to like me—and this turns into a weakness that will sabotage me and my ministry if I start “playing” for the applause of people instead of for the applause of heaven.
“But how can knowing that God gets angry bring you peace?” Because of this:
God has to be provoked to anger. He is not in a constant state of anger, a deity that we are trying to appease (which is just a fancy word for kiss up to) so that he won’t destroy us on a whim. He has to be provoked to anger rather than having to be convinced to love. He has to be provoked to anger rather than being driven to show grace and mercy. He has to be provoked to anger rather than having to persuade him to want to forgive me.
Do you see it?
God’s first inclination toward me is not anger, but love. His first attitude toward the world is not anger but love. Isn’t this the heart behind the gospel of Jesus, that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son? Wasn’t that the whole point of his coming? And look at these benefits of knowing God?
- forgives all your iniquity
- heals all your diseases
- redeems your life from the pit
- crowns you with steadfast love and mercy
- satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(from Psalm 103:3-5 – read all of Psalm 103 to be blown away by who God is and how he approaches us)
So can I frustrate God? Yes. Can I provoke him to anger? Yes. How? According to this passage: by abandoning him to serve other gods. To declare my devotion to other “gods” in my life rather than my devotion belonging to Christ. And this provokes him to anger. And do I want to do this? Absolutely not, not because I’m trying to stay on his good side but because I already am on his good side; not to try to gain heaven or gain his love, but rather because I already have heaven and because his love and favor was already on me before time began. I want to please him in everything that I do, every day, and in every way.
So does God get mad? Absolutely. And this truth brings me so much peace.