God Is Angry at Evil

So put all evil things out of your life.… These things make God angry. COLOSSIANS 3:5–6

Many don’t understand God’s anger because they confuse the wrath of God with the wrath of man. The two have little in common. Human anger is typically self-driven and prone to explosions of temper and violent deeds. We get ticked off because we’ve been overlooked, neglected, or cheated. This is the anger of man. It is not, however, the anger of God.

God doesn’t get angry because he doesn’t get his way. He gets angry because disobedience always results in self-destruction. What kind of father sits by and watches his child hurt himself?

In the Grip of Grace

WHEN GOD SAYS NO

“Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” JOHN 6:35

There are times when the one thing you want is the one thing you never get … You pray and wait. No answer. You pray and wait.

May I ask a very important question? What if God says no?

What if the request is delayed or even denied? When God says no to you, how will you respond? If God says, “I’ve given you my grace, and that is enough,” will you be content?

Content. That’s the word. A state of heart in which you would be at peace if God gave you nothing more than he already has.

from IN THE GRIP OF GRACE

On All the Heathen

“For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.” (Obadiah 15)

The book of Obadiah was possibly the earliest of the prophetic books of the Old Testament and is certainly the shortest, with its single chapter. Its theme is God’s coming judgment on the Edomite nation, not only because of their general wickedness, but particularly because of their abusive treatment of their Israelite relatives (Jacob’s brother Esau was the father of the Edomites).

The prophecy of Obadiah contains (in our text) the first mention (chronologically) of the coming “day of the LORD.” Although it appears at first to focus especially on the Edomites, it is really looking far ahead to the end times, when the judgments of that day will be “upon all the heathen.” There have been many precursive and partial fulfillments of this prophecy, as nation after nation has been brought down throughout history under God’s judgmental hand. Edom, in particular, has long since vanished as a nation.

There is a great day coming, however (actually a period of time), called in the Bible “the day of the Lord” (also “that day,” “the great day of His wrath,” and other such terms), when all the heathen (that is, the “Gentile nations,” including the U.S.) will be judged by the God who created them, who died to redeem them, and who has been repudiated by them. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: . . . and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15). Our own heathen nation has been spared thus far because of our biblical foundations, our care for God’s people, Israel, and our missionary efforts, but these are fast disappearing, and our time, like that of Edom, will surely come. HMM

Shall I refuse to drink the cup of sorrow which the Father has given me?

“Shall I refuse to drink the cup of sorrow which the Father has given me to drink?” (John 18:11.) (Weymouth.)

GOD takes a thousand times more pains with us than the artist with his picture, by many touches of sorrow, and by many colors of circumstance, to bring us into the form which is the highest and noblest in His sight, if only we receive His gifts of myrrh in the right spirit.

But when the cup is put away, and these feelings are stifled or unheeded, a greater injury is done to the soul that can ever be amended. For no heart can conceive in what surpassing love God giveth us this myrrh; yet this which we ought to receive to our souls’ good we suffer to pass by us in our sleepy indifference, and nothing comes of it.

Then we come and complain: “Alas, Lord! I am so dry, and it is so dark within me!” I tell thee, dear child, open thy heart to the pain, and it will do thee more good than if thou wert full of feeling and devoutness.—Tauler.

“The cry of man’s anguish went up to God,
‘Lord take away pain:
The shadow that darkens the world Thou hast made,
The close-coiling chain
That strangles the heart, the burden that weighs
On the wings that would soar,
Lord, take away pain from the world Thou hast made,
That it love Thee the more.’
“Then answered the Lord to the cry of His world:
‘Shall I take away pain,
And with it the power of the soul to endure,
Made strong by the strain?
Shall I take away pity, that knits heart to heart
And sacrifice high?
Will ye lose all your heroes that lift from the fire
White brows to the sky?
Shall I take away love that redeems with a price
And smiles at its loss?
Can ye spare from, your lives that would climb unto Me
The Christ on His cross?”

Cords of a man with bands of love

“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.” Hosea 11:4

Our heavenly Father often draws us with the cords of love; but ah! how backward we are to run towards Him! How slowly do we respond to His gentle impulses! He draws us to exercise a more simple faith in Him; but we have not yet attained to Abraham’s confidence; we do not leave our worldly cares with God, but, like Martha, we cumber ourselves with much serving.

Our meager faith brings leanness into our souls; we do not open our mouths wide, though God has promised to fill them. Does He not this evening draw us to trust Him? Can we not hear Him say, “Come, My child, and trust Me. The veil is rent; enter into My presence, and approach boldly to the throne of My grace. I am worthy of thy fullest confidence, cast thy cares on Me. Shake thyself from the dust of thy cares, and put on thy beautiful garments of joy.”

But, alas! though called with tones of love to the blessed exercise of this comforting grace, we will not come. At another time He draws us to closer communion with Himself. We have been sitting on the doorstep of God’s house, and He bids us advance into the banqueting hall and sup with Him, but we decline the honour. There are secret rooms not yet opened to us; Jesus invites us to enter them, but we hold back. Shame on our cold hearts! We are but poor lovers of our sweet Lord Jesus, not fit to be His servants, much less to be His brides, and yet He hath exalted us to be bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, married to Him by a glorious marriage-covenant.

Herein is love! But it is love which takes no denial. If we obey not the gentle drawings of His love, He will send affliction to drive us into closer intimacy with Himself. Have us nearer He will. What foolish children we are to refuse those bands of love, and so bring upon our backs that scourge of small cords, which Jesus knows how to use!

Marvellous lovingkindness

“Marvellous lovingkindness.” Psalm 17:7

When we give our hearts with our alms, we give well, but we must often plead to a failure in this respect. Not so our Master and our Lord. His favours are always performed with the love of His heart. He does not send to us the cold meat and the broken pieces from the table of His luxury, but He dips our morsel in His own dish, and seasons our provisions with the spices of His fragrant affections. When He puts the golden tokens of His grace into our palms, He accompanies the gift with such a warm pressure of our hand, that the manner of His giving is as precious as the boon itself.

He will come into our houses upon His errands of kindness, and He will not act as some austere visitors do in the poor man’s cottage, but He sits by our side, not despising our poverty, nor blaming our weakness. Beloved, with what smiles does He speak! What golden sentences drop from His gracious lips! What embraces of affection does He bestow upon us! If He had but given us farthings, the way of His giving would have gilded them; but as it is, the costly alms are set in a golden basket by His pleasant carriage.

It is impossible to doubt the sincerity of His charity, for there is a bleeding heart stamped upon the face of all His benefactions. He giveth liberally and upbraideth not. Not one hint that we are burdensome to Him; not one cold look for His poor pensioners; but He rejoices in His mercy, and presses us to His bosom while He is pouring out His life for us. There is a fragrance in His spikenard which nothing but His heart could produce; there is a sweetness in His honey-comb which could not be in it unless the very essence of His soul’s affection had been mingled with it. Oh! the rare communion which such singular heartiness effecteth! May we continually taste and know the blessedness of it!