Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Anger’

Social Responsibility

The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.

The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.  ~~  Nahum 1:1-6 (KJV)

“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power.” One reason the Lord is slow to anger is His great love for mankind. He is not willing that any should perish, so He withholds His anger until it is obvious that the sinner or the sinful nation is not about to repent.

Remember His conversation with Abraham over Sodom. He would have withheld His anger with Sodom had there been but a few righteous men in the city. There was, in fact, only Lot. And He made a way for Lot to escape.

In Jonathan Edward’s famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, we read “The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given, and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose. “

Personally, I tremble for our nation. The abominations and desecrations we tolerate in the name of political correctness have earned us the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. God is withholding his anger, I believe, because of the remnant of the righteous who still are here and still praying for the nation.

Social responsibility would have every Christian evangelizing and bringing people to God.

In a Facebook conversation regarding how to interact with the world on that score, one participant asked why we were not more vocal in telling people. There were several responses, but mine was as follows:

Some times we remain silent because there has been no question asked.

We are told to be ready with the answer when someone asks about the hope that is within us.

I try to speak only when the Spirit prompts me that the hearer is ready to hear. Otherwise, we may simply be inoculating them from the truth.

Our first line of attack must be prayer. Then we can evangelize when the Spirit prompts us.

Let us resolve to be the prayer buffer between our nation and the hands of an angry God until we can turn this nation back to its roots in faith.

Father, God,

While we are Your children, never let us for get that we have a responsibility to bring all men unto You. Help us to see ways to woo the lost for Your kingdom so that Your righteous anger will be quenched.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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Joy with Singing

Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.

In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.

I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.

The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. ~~ Zephaniah 3:8-17  (KJV)

Despite man’s unfaithfulness and despite the Lord’s anger, there is yet hope. Reading these verses we see that we are told to sing and rejoice.

This is because after the Lord’s day of wrath, there is a recalling of the remnant of the faithful. Those who have been faithful will survive the day of judgment and will be found victorious.

The Lord says He will purify the lips of the peoples. that all of them may call upon His name. This reminds us of the picture of Isaiah.

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  ~~  Isaiah 6:4-8 (KJV)

He found himself in the throne room of God, with all the angels. The glory of the Lord was so heavy that he fell on his face saying “woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips.” And an angel took a coal from the altar and touched his lips to purify them. Then he was worthy to speak the name of the Lord as an emissary of God.

Here too, God says He will purify the lips of the people. Those of us who are faithful to God should rejoice in this passage. It means that we will speak the righteousness of God to the nation. We are to be His emissaries in this hurting world. It is our duty and our privilege to speak for the righteousness of God, the love of God, the mercy of God and the wrath of God in equal proportion.

It is only when we tell the whole truth of God that we can be rightfully called His emissaries.

Just as any parent, God grieves over His wandering children. But when we are obedient, He can rejoice over us—with singing.

Father, God,

Open our ears and hearts to learn of You. Purify our lips to tell of You. Send us wherever You wish to spread the good news to all people. Soften our hearts to love all Your children. Give us the grace to be obedient so that You can sing over us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Jealous?

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; ~~ Exodus 20: (KJV)

I have always thought it interesting – and a little confusing – that God was called a jealous God. Having been taught that jealousy was a petty emotion, I simply could not reconcile the God I thought I knew with that kind of pettiness.

I was jealous of my best friend because she had siblings – and I didn’t. It wasn’t her fault, nor mine. But I wanted what she had. I didn’t want her not to have her siblings. I just wanted some of my own. I felt inferior.

God is not inferior – cannot feel inferior. How can He be jealous?

Strong’s Concordance helped me a great deal here. The root of the word which we have translated “jealous” actually means “zealous”.

And the dictionary elucidates further:

zealous:  marked by fervent partisanship for a person, a cause, or an ideal :  filled with or characterized by zeal

zeal:  eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something :  fervor

Aha!  This makes more sense. God is fervently partisan to His people. He desires nothing but the best for them and will guard them jealously from any enemy. Even when that enemy is themselves.

15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day ~~ Deuteronomy 6:15, 24 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

This, then, ties back into the God I thought I knew. We are His creation, His workmanship. He wants us to be perfect as He is perfect. Therefore, He will guard our hearts, correcting us when we stray, just as a good parent disciplines a child. His jealousy, His zealousness is for our benefit.

Father, God,

Help us to understand that Your chastisement is for our benefit. Grant that we may take You at Your word, always, and follow Your precepts and the example You gave us in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us see Your zealous protection as our greatest boon.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

Peace?

And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.
And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.  ~~ Judges 6:22-24 (KJV)

Shalom – Peace – a thing to be greatly desired.  We live in world which is much in need of peace. We see riots and violence all around us.  Clenched fists and raised voices punctuate many public gatherings. Terrorists plot destruction at random. Anger and dissension seem to rule our public conversations. Where is our peace?

Look at Gideon. He was living essentially in hiding. When the angel of the Lord came to him, he was threshing wheat under the cover of the wine press to hide it from the Midianites. His father had even built an altar to Baal, the god of the Midianites. Talk about appeasement and living in fear!

But Gideon saw the angel of the Lord face to face and was given peace.

We, too, can see the Lord’s peace in the midst of adversity. When you know who God really is, when you have done all you have been instructed to make a situation right, you can safely leave it in God’s hands and quit worrying about it.

If we look further at Gideon’s story, we notice what appear to be contradictions. Gideon is threshing wheat in hiding because of his fear of the Midianites. But the angel of the Lord addresses him as “Mighty Man of Valor.”

Going even further, as Gideon sets out to do battle with the Midianites under the Lord’s orders, God reduces his army strength from 23,000 to 300. What! You are going out to do battle and send the bulk of your army home. What kind of strategy is this?

It is the same strategy with which David slew Goliath:

And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. ~~ I Samuel 17:47 (KJV)

If you are marching under the Lord’s orders, you are responsible only for your own obedience. The results of that battle are left to the Lord. He is in charge.

Father, God,

Help us to understand our limitations. Grant that we may see Your power through the lens of our weaknesses. Give us the peace to rest in you, even when things seem all wrong.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

God’s Will

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—
as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

1 Peter 2:15-16 (NKJV)

We hear a lot of talk about “if it’s God’s will.” And a lot of questions about knowing the will of God. This is one place where His will is spelled out clearly. There are others, and we will examine them in the coming weeks.

By doing good, we are to silence the ignorance of the foolish.  Our actions, not our words, are the ammunition we must use in the war on ignorance. People must see something different in us from what they see in the rest of the world.

Those who don’t know Christ are watching. They see how we treat the merchants we frequent, how we relate to strangers as well as friends, how we conduct our daily business, how we react to adversity, how we bear up under tragedy, how we accept praise, how we keep on keeping on even when no one notices or commends us.

When our behavior is above reproach, we reflect the righteousness of God for all to see. When our actions mirror God’s love for his prodigal world, others cannot help seeing a glimpse of God’s love. When we do right, even when we have been wronged, they see a reflection of God’s principles.

We are not to use our freedom in the Lord to cover up sinful choices. Power-hunger, licentiousness, greed, malice are  thoughts that attempt to invade our minds from time to time. We are to give them no place, no foothold in our thinking. Unforgiveness, wrath, anger, impatience are all attributes we relegate to the ash can.

All our thoughts and actions must stem from obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Listening to Him, we can walk closely in the will of God.

Father, God,

Help us to hear Your voice through the din of the world. Grant us the grace to reflect only you in our daily dealings with others.  Make us quick to see and to respond to the needs of our neighbors, that they may see only a reflection of You in all we say or do.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

Gathering Again

Focus verses: Jeremiah 32:36-41

After all the righteous anger of the Lord has been poured out on the children of Israel, God makes this promise to them. There will be restoration.

The nub of this promise is His commitment to give them a singleness of heart and action so that they would always reverence Him and fear Him – for their own good. The promise is an everlasting covenant for them and their children (descendants).

God rejoices in being able to do good for His children – just like any good parent. It grieves Him when He must chastise us. It pleases Him when we put ourselves in right standing with Him so that He can do us good.

Our resolution should be to become faithful children of God. Revering Him, acknowledging His power and sovereignty. To preclude His having to chastise us with His wrath and bring about restoration. Restoration can begin today!

Father, God,

Help us never to stray from Your precepts. Keep us ever close to You so that we may not be scattered among the nations.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Sing And Rejoice

Focus verses: Zephaniah 3:8-17

Despite man’s unfaithfulness and despite the Lord’s anger, there is yet hope. Reading these verses we see that we are told to sing and rejoice.

This is because after the Lord’s day of wrath, there is a recalling of the remnant of the faithful. Those who have been faithful will survive the day of judgment and will be found victorious.

The Lord says He will purify the lips of the peoples. that all of them may call upon His name. This reminds us of the picture of Isaiah.

Remember when he found himself in the throne room of God, with all the angels. The glory of the Lord was so heavy that he fell on his face saying “woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips.” And an angel took a coal from the altar and touched his lips to purify them. Then he was worthy to speak the name of the Lord as an emissary of God.

Here too, God says He will purify the lips of the people. Those of us who are faithful to God should rejoice in this passage. It means that we will speak the righteousness of God to the nation. We are to be His emissaries in this hurting world. It is our duty and our privilege to speak for the righteousness of God, the love of God, the mercy of God and the wrath of God in equal proportion.

It is only when we tell the whole truth of God that we can be rightfully called His emissaries.

Father, God,

Open our ears and hearts to learn of You. Purify our lips to tell of You. Send us wherever You wish to spread the good news to all people. Soften our hearts to love all Your children.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.