Short Meditations in Psalms: 2.5 God’s Anger
Psa 2:5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath
In this verse we have to confront two words which make Christians uncomfortable – anger and wrath. They are words that are difficult to equate with a God of love, at least if you are someone who doesn’t give much thought to them. But let’s put this in context: God’s first response to these foolish kings and rulers is shear laughter at their folly so please note that anger was NOT His first response, it is not a capricious response, it almost seems a measured response.
So what is anger? It is the emotion of displeasure in response to wrong. To witness wrong doing and have no negative response to it suggests a person who is insensitive to right and wrong, who has no realization of the wonder of what is right and good and no sadness or sorrow at behavior or activity that runs contrary to the way God designed this world, behavior that causes harm, danger, hurt or destruction. If we have become indifferent to wrong doing we have become less than the people God designed us to be, especially if we are Christians with the indwelling Holy Spirit within who will especially be sensitive to what is right or wrong. Anger is a right response to wrong doing and wrath usually implies extended anger, not a capricious momentary burst of anger. Where there is ongoing wrong doing, it is right for there to be an ongoing response indicating displeasure. Righteous anger is not hasty but measured.
Our problem when we think of anger is that we see it in a human context where it tends to blaze up in a moment of self-concern and often a defensive response to attack, but with God it is never like that. God, we noted previously lacks nothing and so does not get defensive. I considered this is depth in my book (still incomplete) ‘The Judgments of a Loving God”: Righteous anger (as seen in God) is simply an instinctive emotion that responds rightly to wrong. What then follows, when it is God, is a dispassionate objective assessment of what to do about it. With us anger and lash-back tend to be one and the same but God never acts in judgment instinctively; it is always a rational assessment made in the light of every factor that only He can know. It may be only a split second but I am absolutely certain that God’s anger is neither self-centred nor reactive in any way; it is always the right and appropriate response to evil. Because TV gives us such a diet of violence whether it be films or simply the news, together with in-your-face reporting of poverty around the world, I wonder sometimes if we Christians do lose our sensitivity to wrong in general and these things in particular. May it not be so.