“Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which Thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein Thou hast dwelt.” Psalm 74:2
This morning, upon reading in Revelations and then Psalm 74, my mind was on the wrath of God. I pondered on this great truth that a just, sovereign God must render judgment to man and pour out His wrath upon him accordingly. It was a very sobering thought, to know that there is no man who can weasel his way out of it. Every single person will one day confront the Creator God and be held accountable for his thoughts, words, and actions. And if that isn’t sobering enough, the Bible teaches us about the end of days and how the entirety of the world which will not accept God, nor His Way of salvation, will go through the Great Tribulation as God judges all living mankind at once. The horror of what is coming for those men and women makes me shudder and cry for them all.
The God of the Old Testament, the One Who says to Israel to destroy their enemies to the very last one; Who turns His Face from His people when they turn to idols; Who destroyed the world with a flood because He repented of ever creating man in the first place; He is the same God of the New Testament. But they seem like two different descriptions of the nature of God, right? Nope. God does not change, ever. (Malachi 3:6) This means that the vengeful, wrath wielding God of the Old Testament is still the vengeful, wrath wielding God of the New Testament. However, this also means that the patient, loving, gentle God of the New Testament is the same patient, loving, gentle God of the Old Testament. So, the things that are said in the New Testament about the wrath of God hold true, and yet, there is so much in the Old Testament of the love of God, too.
So, when I read in Revelation about what will come upon all who turn away from God and choose not to accept Christ, I can take comfort in the fact that He is patient, gentle and loving and that because He is so, He waits. He waits to bring wrath upon the earth to give time for choices to be made, that any and all who will accept Him can have that time to decide for themselves to come to Him. To see that God is waiting, we can look all the way back to Genesis at the time of the flood.
God said that man would have but 120 years upon this earth. (Gen. 6:3) God saw that every man was wicked in their heart and all the thoughts of them were wicked continuously. (Gen. 6:5) God decided to flood the earth and destroy it. (Gen. 6:7) But Noah found grace in the eyes of God. (Gen. 6:8) God speaks to Noah and gives him the command to build the ark. (Gen. 6:13-22) Stay with me… Noah was 600 years old when the rains came. (Gen. 7:6) Yet, Noah was 500 years old at the time The Lord spoke to him. (Gen. 5:32; 6:10) So…
If God decided that man had all of 120 years left, and He waited until Noah was 500, and Noah took only 100 years to build the ark, that means God waited twenty years after deciding man was so wicked that he was worthy of destruction. Twenty years He waited. Why? Because that God Who was to bring wrath upon man for being wicked, and justly so might I add, was loving and kind, and He waited until Noah found grace. God is omniscient, so He knew that Noah would find grace, but the point remains that God made a decision and then paused twenty years. Knowing this about the God Who does not change, I can see how He waits now.
In Bible eschatology, there is nothing left to be done before the rapture of the church, and then the Great Tribulation. Yet, no man knows that hour or day, and so God waits. As He waits, He is allowing all things in the hope that any and all will come to Him. He is so loving and kind in so many ways, but the most obvious to me is evidenced through Him waiting on us. As we come to Him, He wants to pour His love into us, that we might overflow with Him and pour His love upon others. In that regard, I’d like to leave you with a quote I just read yesterday. It is from Dana Elaine Owens, whom you may more famously know as Queen Latifah. She was dealing with her anger toward God after losing her brother in a motorcycle accident. She simply asked God why He would allow this to happen, and He answered her.
“I got this little message in my head that I feel was from God. It was as clear as day, like a voice that said to me, Dana, don’t let it all go, because you’re gonna get through this.” It made her realize something: “Nobody is perfect,” she says resolutely. “I know that I’m not a saint, but God’s love is there for me. I know that I need help to make it through every day, so I pray to God to help me do the best I can, to lift me up when I am tired and help me develop into the person He wants me to be…I am always surrounded by His love, and He is always there.”‘(1)
Dana Elaine Owens
1. Taken from “Queen of Courage” by David A. Keeps in the January 2014 issue of Good Housekeeping