God of War?

Ares-Greek God of War, my costume last Halloween.

When some folks think of God’s anger, they think it means He’s like a God of war. Now certainly if you enslave His people for 400 years, He will be a warrior (Exodus 15:3), but let me see if I can bring some clarity to the issue of God’s anger.

God’s Anger Is (highlighting with red today because it’s a fighting, “war-like” color that makes bulls angry and upsets “progressive” teachers (this is a great link) wanting to outlaw red for checking papers):

#a. Not malicious, but just.

I read Percy Jackson and the Olympians – got it from my daughter. It’s a fantasy/fiction about a current day boy who has all these adventures with the gods of Greek mythology. Pretty entertaining.

The Greek gods were malicious and spiteful – like school kids at times. The God of War, Ares, loved a fight. He loved to stir it up just for the sake of stirring it up and he didn’t care who got hurt (had a buddy like that in high school!).

The Canaanites – neighbors of Israel – worshiped the god Molech. Molech was considered to be a fierce vengeful god who demanded child sacrifice – and the people of Judah to some extent joined in the child sacrifice! Molech was an angry vengeful god.

That is not our God.

 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses His wrath every day. Psalms 7:11

RIGHTEOUS is the operative word here.
God’s anger is always just.

Judah rejected God’s grace for hundreds of years, worshiping by having sex with prostitutes and murdering their children as a sacrifice. And God was patient. He waited not years, but centuries to bring mete out His justice. God’s anger was not malicious – it was just.

#b. God’s anger is Not capricious or erratic, but measured. 
The definition of capricious anger, or erratic anger is anger that is expressed at the wrong time and/or at the wrong things.

Testosterone destroying car.
Even THINK you like
it- you lose your man card.

A guy is at work – things get messed up. He’s angry. On the way home, traffic is backed up. He fantasizes about having a bulldozer blade that will plow through the folks in his way, but he’s in his Smart Car so that would be unwise. Now he’s seething. He’s seething because of the traffic, work, and because of the fact that he’s driving a ridiculous car that is actually sucking the man force from his very being. His man card was confiscated at the dealership.

No cats were hurt in taking of this picture.

Then finally…home at last. He walks in and the cat just walks in front of him – barely in his way and BOOM – “meeerroooowwww” – flying cat! Everyone in the room – especially the cat – is thinking “where did that come from???” He’s angry at the wrong time at the wrong thing. Little Mortimer asks “Father…why so capricious and erratic?

God is never like that.  His anger is always accurately measured – it is at the right things at the right time.

A just weight is His delight.  Proverbs 11:1  

When God makes a judgment, when He is angry, His anger is right and true. It is His direct, calculated and accurate response to sin.

#c.  God’s anger is not selfish or impulsive, but selfless and patient.

Much of our anger is selfish. I didn’t get MY way, MY tv, MY food on time, MY, MY, ME, ME. And when do we get angry? After our selfish desires have been patiently simmering for a long, long time? Heck no! I want it NOW.

But Psalms 145:8 says The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 

2 Peter 3:9
 He is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish  but that all should reach repentance.

#d. God’s anger is against wickedness and the wicked. 

Clearly Jesus loves sinners (Romans 5:8). For God so loved the world. God loves me, a sinner.

But many extend that to say that God does not get angry at the sinner – you and me. Ridiculous. REALLY ridiculous.

The Lord was angry with Aaron, angry with Hebrews at Sinai  and with the Hebrews in the wilderness. Not just with their rebellion, but with them!

Mark 3:5 says Jesus looked at the Pharisees “with anger”. He wasn’t angry at their sin – He was furious at them? Called them things like “white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones”. Fighting words! Now He’s God, so remember – His judgment in using those words is right and true.

Jesus made a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple! “Excuse me, not mad you, just what you’re doing. Pardon me while I thrash you.”

Ridiculous. He turned over tables and popped his whip around. He was angry at the money changers.

God’s anger is real. You cannot strip God’s wrath of all emotional content and present it as a completely dispassionate and cerebral thing (Moment of truth-think I read that somewhere-not sure it’s original with me). God is not angry just with the wicked things we do, but with the wicked things we are.

And while it may seem odd to you until I explain it, the fact that God is angry at the wicked things we are is extremely comforting to me. Here’s why:

There is unspeakable evil in the world today. Children molested, children enslaved. Girls captured in India and sold into brothels for life. And not all who commit such crimes are brought to justice. So if God is sitting idly by, unmoved by this great and horrific evil…if He is not ANGRY with those who hurt children in this way, then He is NOT a good God. He’s like the judge who let’s the criminal go free. He’s an evil and wicked God. If God is not angry at unadulterated evil, where is hope in the universe? Alas, all hope is tragically gone, we are undone and God is impotent!

But (and I’m shouting triumphantly in my head right now) He is angry with the wicked.
He is a Man of War  Exodus 15:3
And while justice may not get served
everywhere on this earth in this life,
He promises that at the end of the age, justice 
will prevail for all and His goodness will triumph. 
Praise Him! He is Mighty! He is Good! And He is Victorious! 
Amen.
 
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

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2 thoughts on “God of War?

  1. I have problems with your last paragraphs regarding judgement at end times of those who have done horrific evil. I believe God is the almighty judge but if this person at the last minutes accepts Jesus as his Savior what becomes of the justice that he should have received for all of his awful acts?

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  2. Great question Diane! The justice that person would’ve received – was laid on Christ 2000 years ago on the cross. Jesus took the penalty for sin so that justice would be served and we (and anyone who accepts Christ) can be free from the penalty of sin.

    “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18
    and
    But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the punishment that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

    And we’re told in Revelation that many, even during the Great Tribulation, will come to Christ for salvation and be saved from their sins.

    I hope that answers your question! Thanks for reading.

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