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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Angry God

Yeah, I was taught that God's angry. And why? Because of our sin. He is angry at EVERYONE because everyone sins. And why is sin bad? Because it breaks our relationship with God. And so we all deserve to be punished.

And so we should all feel really bad about how unworthy we are.

So let's take a look at Psalm 76:7-9, shall we? About God being angry.

"It is you alone who are to be feared.
    Who can stand before you when you are angry?
From heaven you pronounced judgment,
    and the land feared and was quiet--
when you, God, rose up to judge,
    to save all the afflicted of the land."

Wait wait wait a second there. "To save all the afflicted of the land"? God's punishment comes because people are doing bad things to other people? And God's anger is a good thing for those who are "afflicted"?

God's anger isn't toward everyone.

Well that makes a lot more sense. Celebrate!

Image source.

But wait wait wait.

Am I "the afflicted"? Is this actually a good thing for me?

Okay, so I'm a white American living in China. Everything's cheap- or is it that my salary is higher than everyone else's? At any rate, I'm not really "afflicted," but I probably pass "afflicted" people on the street every day.

And am I doing something to help others and make the world a better place, or am I just taking care of myself?

(I'm not even sure where to start. I'm in China, yo. I don't know how to "make the world a better place" in a foreign culture and stuff.)

But as Psalm 76 shows, God saves the afflicted and brings judgment on those who contribute to that affliction. God is angry- but my response is not to feel horribly guilty about my individual sin (perhaps the sin of "not reading the bible enough" or something to that effect). My response must be to work with God to help all of his sons and daughters who are afflicted.

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This post is part of a link-up on the topic of Psalm 76. To read other people's posts, click here: When the Bible falls flat.

2 comments:

  1. Love this. You are so right. We so often misinterpret what God gets angry about. He cares deeply about His children in need. And just like any parent would, he gets fired up when those he loves are mistreated.

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  2. "My response must be to work with God..." That is a valuable takeaway. The part about God saving the afflicted jumped out at me my first read-through. I'm pretty sure it's central to the whole message the Psalmist is trying to convey. :)

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