“Horror” ( Ezekiel 7: 18, KJV ) by Carley Evans


“Horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.” (Ezekiel 7:18)

“They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed;  their gold and their silver shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord; they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their stomachs, because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity.” (Ezekiel 7:19)

Horror is upon “their whole multitude.” (Ezekiel 7:13) “Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.” (Ezekiel 7:25)

“Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send,” says the Lord of Hosts, “Mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.” (Ezekiel 7:3)

If this coming judgment upon the whole of earth doesn’t give you the shakes, I maintain there’s something wrong with your view of God and of your understanding of the state of mankind. Men worship idols and men “worship the sun,” says God to Ezekiel. “They fill the land with violence.” (Ezekiel 8:16,17)

“I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I Am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 7:27)

Paul writes of the essential problem, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, I do.” (Romans 7:18-19) He continues with the solution, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So, then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 7:24-8:2)

And if that truth doesn’t give you a huge sigh of relief and gratitude to God, then your view of God may be askew.

“Fierce In Wrath” ( Nahum 1: 2, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


God is an avenging and jealous Lord; taking vengeance — “fierce in wrath.” Though He “is slow to anger;” He is “great in power” and “never leaves the guilty unpunished.” (Nahum 1:3)

The Lord proclaims, “I kill them with the Words of My mouth. My judgment strikes like lightning. For I desire loyalty and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But they, like Adam, violate My covenant; there they betray Me.” (Hosea 6:5-7)

“I depart,” says God, “and return to My place until they recognize their guilt and seek My face; they search for Me in their distress.” (Hosea 5:15)

The Lord says, “Seek Me and live!” (Amos 5:4) “Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord, the God of Hosts, will be with you, as you claim. Hate evil and love good; establish justice.” (Amos 5:14-15)

Then, we repent. “Come,” we say to each other, “let us return to the Lord. For He tears us, and He heals us; He wounds us, and He binds up our wounds. He revives us after two days, and on the third day He raises us up so we live in His presence. Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is sure as the dawn. He comes to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.” (Hosea 6:1-3)

His Name is Jesus, and He is “the One who comforts.” (Isaiah 51:12) He is the One who “is pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities, punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53:5)

By His sacrifice, God’s fierce wrath is satisfied.

“Hot Anger And Steadfast Love” ( 1 John 1: 9, Psalm 86: 5; ESV ) by Carley Evans


God makes it crystal clear that He is holy and just. In Him there is no darkness. He makes it even clearer that He is merciful. Throughout His Word, He speaks of and shows off His great hatred of disobedience, sin, and waywardness. Simultaneously, He speaks of and shows off His willingness and great desire to forgive, restore, and love those He calls His own.

Our part is believing these two truths regarding the nature of God. Believing in God’s wrath necessarily leads to fear, but “perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18) Our fear is rather awe of God, a marveling of God’s ability to “forgive the iniquity of Your people; You cover all their sin. You withdraw all Your wrath; You turn from Your hot anger.” (Psalm 85:2-3) “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.” (Psalm 85:11)

Jesus proclaims, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32) “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins; I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (Luke 5:24)

“If we confess our sins, [You] are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “For You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon You.”

“Outbreak Against” ( 2 Samuel 6: 8, NIV ) by Carley Evans


David selects thirty-thousand “chosen men” to bring out of Baalah of Judah “the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark.” (2 Samuel 6:2)

Two brothers, Uzzah and Ahio are selected to guide the cart pulled by oxen. Ahio is walking in front of the cart; Uzzah is perhaps walking beside the oxen. As the cart crosses the threshing floor, the oxen perhaps stop to eat; but at any rate the oxen stumble so that Uzzah reaches up to steady the ark. Uzzah fails in two aspects — he fails to control the oxen; he irreverently touches “the ark of God” upon which “the Lord Almighty is enthroned” rather than steady the cart. God strikes him down in an outburst of wrath.

David is not only angry “because the Lord’s wrath breaks out against Uzzah;” but he is afraid. Therefore, David decides he can not safely have the ark of the Lord come with him to the city which bears his name. “Instead, he takes it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.” (2 Samuel 6:10) Obed-Edom keeps the ark in his home for three months without incident — obviously he and his family respect the boundaries set by God — “and the Lord blesses him and his entire household.” (2 Samuel 6:11)

Now David is no longer afraid. He takes the ark of God to his city “with rejoicing.” (2 Samuel 6:12) He does take greater care, however, sacrificing both “a bull and a fattened calf” (2 Samuel 6:13) before it has gone “six steps.” This time, rather than “chosen men” accompanying the ark, the “entire house of Israel” travels with the ark “with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” (2 Samuel 6:15) God is for all, not for only a few.

Once in the city,”David, wearing a linen ephod, dances before the Lord with all his might.” (2 Samuel 6:14) Michal, daughter of Saul, sees David from her window, and “despises him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16) After David places the ark of God in a pitched tent, sacrifices burnt and fellowship offerings, blesses the people — giving each person “a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins” (2 Samuel 6:19); Michal comes to him to criticize him for “distinguishing himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (2 Samuel 6:20)

David says, “It was before the Lord. I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you speak of, I will be held in honor.” (2 Samuel 6:22)

For her hatred and criticism of David,”Michal daughter of Saul has no children to the day of her death.” (2 Samuel 6:23)

So, in this tale of the ark of God, we see both God’s swift wrath and His incredible blessings. We understand the importance of obedience, praise, sacrifice as well as love and respect for others in their worship of God. God is not unfair; He is demanding.

Be perfect, as Your Heavenly Father is perfect. (1 Peter 1:16)

“On The Tablet Of The Heart” ( Jeremiah 17: 1, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“The sin of Judah is recorded with an iron tool, engraved on the tablet of their heart with a point of adamant and carved on the horns of their altars to bear witness against them.” The witness is: “the heart is the most deceitful of all things, desperately sick; who can fathom it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“In enmity [God] strung His bow; He took His stand like an adversary and with His strong arm He slew all those who had been His delight; He poured His fury out like fire on the tent of the daughter of Zion. The Lord played the enemy’s part and overwhelmed Israel.” (Lamentations 2:4-5)

“Arise and cry aloud in the night; at the beginning of every watch pour out your heart like water in the Lord’s very presence. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children. Look, Lord, and see: who is it that You have thus tormented?” (Lamentations 2:19-20)

Jesus says: “I Am the man who has known affliction, I have felt the rod of His wrath. It was I whom He led away and left to walk in darkness, where no light is. Against Me alone He has turned His hand, and so it is all day long.” (Lamentations 3:1-3) “I have become a laughing-stock to all nations; the target of their mocking songs all day.” (Lamentations 3:14) “Remember, O remember, and stoop down to Me. All this I take to heart and therefore I will wait patiently: the Lord’s true love is surely not spent, nor has His compassion failed; they are new every morning, so great is His constancy. The Lord, I say, is all that I have; therefore I will wait for Him patiently. The Lord is good to those who look for Him, to all who seek Him; it is good to wait in patience and sigh for deliverance by the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:20-26)

God’s people cry: “O Lord, turn us back to Yourself, and we will come back; renew our days as in times long past. For if You have utterly rejected us, then great indeed has been Your anger against us.” (Lamentations 5:21-22)

“Although they broke My covenant, I was patient with them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant I will make with Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will set My law within them and write it on their hearts; I will become their God and they shall become My people.” (Jeremiah 31:32-33) “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

“An Avenging God” ( Nahum 1: 2 – 3, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God… He is furious with His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will never leave the guilty unpunished.”

 

And this truth about our God is the reason Jesus is crucified on a cross. God is unwilling to leave the guilty unpunished. He desires to quench His thirst for retribution and justice against the evildoer.

 

And who is the evildoer? You, me, your neighbor, my neighbor, my child, your child, my parents, your parents, my brother, your brother, my coworkers, your coworkers. And how is it that seemingly good people are called evildoers? Because we fall so short of God, so far from the perfection He expects. In short, we are sinners. Paul reminds us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

 

Yet, God provides the way out of darkness. John tells us: “For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is ALREADY condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the One and Only Son of God.” (John 3: 16-18)

 

“While we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God.” (Romans 5:10)

 

God — who leaves no one unpunished — nevertheless, saves us through His One and Only Son. When Jesus is crucified, He receives the severe punishment for our sin. At the point of Jesus’ death, God’s wrath is satisfied. Jesus says, “It is accomplished.”

“Saved From The Wrath Of God” (Luke 23: 34, ESV) by Carley Evans


If Jesus is able, while suffocating on the cross, to ask His Father to forgive those who are crucifying Him, then how much more is He able and willing to intercede for us, for those whom He has chosen as His own.

“For while we are still weak, at the right time Christ dies for the ungodly.” (Romans 5: 6)

“Since, therefore, we are justified by His blood, how much more are we saved by Him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5: 9)

I find little sense in the argument that God is unwilling to save those who disobey Him. He dies for those who disobey. He sheds His blood precisely because we are disobedient children whom He wishes to bring back home.

The father of the prodigal son sees his son “while he is still a long way off.” (Luke 15: 20) This brokenhearted father runs to embrace his son and kiss him. God runs to us, wanting to embrace and kiss us and kill the fatted calf for us. He does not begrudge us His love.

Instead, God dies for us while we are still His enemies. “If while we are enemies we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, are we saved by His life.” (Romans 5: 10)