photo by Laura Evans
[Y]ou were angry with me.
Isaiah 12:1 NIV
Dear ICB family,
On Sunday Pastor Neil said that the anger of God is not a demonstration of his malice but rather a feature of his love.
That is not how the world around us defines love. The world says if you love someone, you will let that person do whatever he or she wants. Likewise, the world says that love and anger cannot coexist since love would never make a person feel bad.
Yet anyone who has truly loved someone knows that that is categorically untrue on both counts. The father who loves his daughter will not let her eat jelly beans for supper even though she wants to, and the woman who has a dear friend who is about to make a decision that will ruin her life knows exactly what it means both to love a person deeply and be extremely angry with her at the same time.
The Bible paints love as a deep desire for the good of another person accompanied by any and all self-sacrifice needed to achieve that good.
In fact, exactly as Pastor Neil said, love is the motivation up and out of which God's anger grows. Only the father who didn't truly love his daughter would not feel upset at the babysitter who let the daughter eat jelly beans for supper. Only the woman who didn't truly really love her friend would react with a shrug at a decision that would bring disaster upon her.
The Bible paints love as a deep desire for the good of another person accompanied by any and all self-sacrifice needed to achieve that good. What happens when obstacles arise to a beloved one's good? Love produces anger. What happens when what a person wants and what is actually good for that person stand in conflict? Love roots for the person's good. And what happens when achieving another person's good means I must take a hit? Love subjects itself to the hit. Behold the angry, good-seeking, hit-taking love of God.
And when the obstacles that once stood in the way of the beloved's good are removed, anger is turned away (Isaiah 12:1) while love keeps right on flowing. So it is with God. When God achieves the forgiveness of his people's sins and thereby achieves their good, his love for them no longer requires his anger. His love that produced his anger, however, never ceases.
You're invited to know this love. And, following God's own example, you're invited to take whatever hits might be required so that others might come to know this love too.
Grace and peace,