God’s anger is not like man’s anger. God’s anger is righteous, controlled, well-deserved, and well-directed. Moses, the man of God, wrote Psalm 90. Verses 3 and 5-7 indicate that God’s anger is terrifying and powerful when directed against rebellious people.
Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90.11-12).
God’s Anger and Wrath
God’s anger is directed at fallen humanity and fallen angels in the Bible.
God’s Anger Against Fallen People
Creation was once very good and is now very evil. Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Romans 5.12-14). Man deserves the wrath of God due to his sin and rebellion.
There are many negative examples designed to warn us about God’s disposition against sin and wickedness (1 Corinthians 10.6-8). We know the indignation of God firsthand through the warnings of a guilty conscience and an inexplicable distressing fear (Psalm 38.2-3, 6, 8). Once the hope of salvation is withdrawn from a person, he or she is hardened but also inconsolable when confronted by the anger of God. Judas, the son of perdition, serves as an example of this in Matthew 27.3-5. But later in this chapter, we learn that no one knows the power of God’s wrath like Jesus. He was forsaken by the Father as God’s wrath for sin was poured out on Him (Matthew 27.46).
God’s Anger Against Fallen Angels
All of God’s angels were once filled with joy as they ministered in His presence. Lucifer, the covering cherub over the throne of God, drew a third of the angels away from God in rebellion and pride (Luke 10.18; Revelation 12.4). These angels are fallen and now reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2.4). Those who follow their rebellion will find the full strength and potency of God’s anger in His cup of indignation and wrath (Revelation 14.9-10).
It is impossible to comprehend withering under God’s everlasting anger. As Moses wrote, “Who knows the power of His anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.” The terror within a person who is facing God’s indignation is constantly at work within that person.
God’s Hope and Wisdom
Moses writes, “Teach us …that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” God is not willing that any person wither and perish under His wrath. He desires the repentance and reconciliation of His creation. While fallen angels are unable to repent, fallen people are.
God’s directive through Moses is clear: 1) Be reconciled to God and 2) Gain a heart of wisdom.
Be Reconciled to God
We find mercy that fallen angels will never experience. God the Father “made [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (see 2 Corinthians 5.20-21).
Gain a Heart of Wisdom
Christ “became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1.30). Moses speaks of gaining a heart of wisdom in our brief lifespans. There is no need to wither under God’s indignation when God has offered a full and free pardon to all who will come to Him through Jesus Christ. But we must not delay; we must number our days. Today is the day of salvation for all those in the valley of decision.
But we all need God to teach us the true wisdom of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. This very night, the soul you pamper may meet its Maker (Luke 12.19-20). “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [when Moses wrote Psalm 90], in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest’” (Hebrews 3.8-11).
Gain a heart of wisdom. Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13.24). The narrow gate is narrow because it is unpopular and difficult to enter it. Most are on the broad and open way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7.13). The narrow way is the way Jesus taught, the way of true wisdom. It contradicted what the religious leaders of His day taught. Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10.9).
Sneering at God
There will always be people who mock the idea of God and His wrath upon the world. “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. His ways are always prospering; Your judgements are far above, out of his sight; as for all his enemies, he sneers at them” (Psalm 10.4-5).
Complacent with God
People who do not believe in God “are settled in complacency.” They “say in their heart, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will He do evil’” (Zephaniah 1.12). What will happen when you die and meet your Creator? Will you face His anger because you rejected His true wisdom in Christ Jesus? “Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him” (Nahum 1.6).
Learn Wisdom from the Work of Christ
Number your days and find a heart of wisdom. Ask the LORD to teach you. Jesus said, “Learn of Me!” Live each day as if it was your last. Flee from the wrath to come by finding refuge in Jesus Christ. He absorbed the wrath of God for you. He died for your sins. He is risen so that God’s righteousness would be given to you. Stand in Christ before your Creator or face His wrath for sin.
Believers Do Not Face the Wrath of God for Sin
If you are a Christian, then you are reconciled to God. You have found peace. Our testimony as believers is found in drawing water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12.3). “O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me” (Isaiah 12.1). How do we look at Psalm 90.11 today? We say, “Who knows the power of God’s love? For as the hope in You, so is Your mercy.”
Ours is an eternal state of joy. Compare that to those who are even now dying and lifting up their eyes to behold their eternal torment in Hell. Live life today exploring the height, depth, length, and width of God’s incomprehensible love for you. You are no longer under His wrath if you are in Christ. He is the true wisdom of God. Be grateful and glorify Him.