"Does God Get Mad?" she asks. She continues forth to explain her perspective, drawing heavily from the Scriptures.
I think some folks believe God is mad all the time--at them! I think that's why they work so hard to try and please Him. These folks never have the feeling (or have read the supporting Scriptures) that God loves them above all else! It doesn't matter what we do--as we will never measure up to perfection--He still loves us.
Now, quickly, so as not to be misunderstood, this doesn't mean that we can do anything we want and that God will be OK with it. God gave us freewill, but He didn't give us total freedom of rule. The Bible is our faithful boundary reminder reference guide. We can know from studying His Word what He requires of us--act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8), as a starting point.
And when we don't follow His Word? Why should we think God would be happy with us? Why should we think God would be angry with us? If you have "you don't listen?!" children, then you might be able to understand on the most basic of levels what God's frustration--and, yes, anger--is with His children, whom He loves unconditionally. (Don't lose sight of the fact that His love is still what this is all about!)
I received an amazing concordance as a Christmas present (from Chatty Kelly, no less). It contains Hebrew and Greek dictionaries, so I can explore the meaning of words in Biblical passages using something closer to the original language. So, when the Bible talks about God's anger, what does that mean?
"And the anger of the Lord was kindled...." Exodus 4:14
"He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger...." Psalm 78:49
"I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." Jonah 4:2b
He [Jesus] said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!"
And He said to them [the Pharisees], "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent.
After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Mark 3:3-5
The word used to describe Jesus' anger, in Greek, means "desire, as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind." It comes from another Greek word that means "to stretch oneself, reach out after, to long for, covet after." By analogy, it also means a violent passion or, by implication, punishment.
Wow! That's a lot of different words and ideas to cover in one definition. What catches my eye and captures my attention is that reaching forward/coveting after/passion is coupled with anger/displeasure/punishment. While that appears to be a dichotomy of thoughts, when it comes to understanding who God is, that's exactly right!
Is He angry or displeased with us? Yeah...because we do make wrong choices. We'll never get it perfectly right. Do we face punishment? Well, if we believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior of our lives, then we don't face eternal punishment, and, through confession and repentance, we are forgiven of our sins. But, because God loves us, we do face discipline--if we want to grow out of our disobedience. Some folks think that's punishment. Depends on where you are on the spiritual growth chart.
On the other hand, is God continually trying to reach His children? Does He covet a relationship with us? Is His passion for us so great that He will go to every limit to show His love for us? YES, on all questions!
Remember, the God who loved us so much sent His one and only Son to receive His wrath on the cross. And because He loved us so much, the Son "stretched Himself" to hang on this cross--the passion of the Christ.
Is there a lot wrapped up in what the Bible terms as God's 'anger'? Are we willing to accept that our loving Creator can show that that kind of anger? Are we able to show that kind of anger?
What's a few more questions, Kelly?....