Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday of Easter 7 - God Gets Angry

It seems like anger has been coming up in many conversations lately. God's people get uncomfortable with it because we most often experience the sinful form of anger. We need to understand 2 things about it. First, there is room in the Christian life for a righteous anger. God gets angry. He cleanses the Temple. He hates divorce. If His tears over the death of Lazarus give us permission to be sad at funerals - even though as Christians we are sure and certain about the resurrection of the body we bury - then His anger gives us permission to be upset when sin shows itself destroying the order God has put things in. But there is the second thing that we must understand about this emotion, as Paul (Ephesians 4:26) reminds us of Psalm 4:4, "In your anger do not sin" (NIV). If there were no other Law but this one from God, it would be enough to condemn me for I fail in this temptation often. When I respond in anger, I usually regret it later because I go too far, and trespass across God's boundary between righteousness and sin. But when Jesus looked back at cleansing the Temple, He had no regret. In His anger, He did not sin. And now the Father looks at us as if you and I have Christ's righteousness - even His righteous anger.

In today's OT and NT reading, God shows His anger over how His worship has been abused. And this not because His feelings are hurt. Korah is condemned and the Temple is cleansed for the sake of the safety of His people. Korah and the marketeers had put God's people in danger. (Some of these thoughts come from a sermon on the John 2 text - and yes, I think that was the first time Jesus cleansed the Temple and Luke's account for today during Holy Week was a second time.)

Lord, our hearts are deceiful. Even when you teach us Your ways, we misunderstand where our hearts should be. Help us to be properly angry over sin, and respond appropriately; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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