I have realized something interesting about myself during the Names Project. I don't think I am unique in this situation, although I might be. When it comes to talking about God, I am always a little cautious about presenting Him as a God of wrath and anger. For a long time, I was afraid that someone might hear that and then have trouble understanding His mercy and grace. I have finally figured out that God's mercy and grace really can not be understood apart from His anger. You know what else? God really doesn't need me to polish up His image for Him!
When I was little I understood that sometimes my Daddy got angry. There was a level of anger that was reserved for those who practiced wickedness. The people who hurt or neglected children. The preachers who preached something other than God's word and misled their church. A person who was consistently defiant and disrespectful of authority. And heaven help the one who threatened or harmed one of his children. We knew that if anyone tried to harm us, they would have to go through our Daddy to get us. There was great security in that knowledge. His anger was directed toward badness. It was a tool for our protection.
In this way (and many others), my Dad is really good at reflecting God as a Father because God's anger is directed toward evil. It is directed toward the evil that would harm His children. More importantly, it is directed toward the evil that comes against His honor.
We need to understand that any and every sin is evil ~ even sinful thoughts ~ and that God can not tolerate any sin at all. Then we come to the realization that we sin; therefore God can not tolerate us. When we catch hold of that truth, it changes our understanding of grace and mercy. It makes the grace and the mercy so much deeper and richer!
So my name/description for God this week is one that is found throughout the book of Jeremiah: Angry.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the disaster that I brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah. Behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, 3 because of the evil that they committed, provoking me to anger, in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they knew not, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers.
May God protect us from the sin of idolatry ~ making anything more important than Him ~ or from any other sin in our lives.
His peace to your homes.