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::Devotional:: ‘What makes God angry?’

October 7, 2009

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Old Testament lately and something that has recently captured my attention are the times where God is visibly and admittedly angry.  It’s easy to forget that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament and today as well.  He himself even said “I the Lord, do not change.” Malachi 3:6  So it stands to reason that those things which were not pleasing to the Lord back in the Old Testament are not pleasing to Him today either.  So what makes God angry?


In the book of Numbers the nation Israel complains and complains and complains.  They aren’t happy because they are in the desert, they don’t like eating the food the Lord delivers from heaven, they are afraid to go into the promise land.  The list goes on and on.  As they grumble, the Lord becomes extremely angry.  Now is that to say the Lord doesn’t want to hear our concerns and won’t tolerate our complaining?  Not necessarily, I believe what makes God angry is the condition of the heart behind the complaining.

Consider this passage in Numbers.  The Israelites had come to the edge of the Promised Land, aptly named because God promised it to them, but had decided not to enter it because there were reports that the people living on the land were many and were powerful.

That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.  All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt!  Or in this desert!  Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?  Our wives and children will be taken as plunder.  Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”  And they said to each other, ” We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”  Numbers 14:1-4

Egypt represented slavery, oppression, harsh working conditions, and separation from the Lord for the Israelites.  Yet they were so hung up on complaining that’s where they wanted to return to.  However, even that was not what made God angry.  God’s anger burned against the nation of Israel because they did not believe in him enough to trust him no matter what circumstances they faced.  It’s not like he hadn’t shown himself to be a powerful and mighty God to them.  After miracles like, the plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, manna falling from heaven, and even water coming from a rock – they still couldn’t trust God enough to take him at his word that he would deliver the Promised Land to them?  He dwelt among them visibly as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night?  His holy glory rested in the tabernacle tent in the center of the camp.  What else would they need to believe in him?  Consider what the Lord said to Moses.

How long will these people treat me with contempt?  How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?  I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.  Numbers 14:11-12

God was angered by the prideful heart of the Israelites.  Dr. J. Vernon McGee defined a prideful heart as a heart which declares it’s ability to live independent from God.  God is angered by a prideful heart today as well.  Remember “I the Lord do not change”.  Pride is like a splitting maul that separates a dense and tightly connected piece of wood.  It separates us from God because it declares that in spite of all that he has shown us, by personal experience and through his word, we do not faithfully trust him.

Find the areas of pride in your life, confess them to the Lord, and humbly ask for his forgiveness and mercy.  Have faith in God and trust him in spite of the circumstances you face, for faith is pleasing to the Lord.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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