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Bible Insights

God Is Slow to Anger and It Only Lasts for a Moment

God Loves Us and His Favor Lasts a Lifetime

The book of Psalms gives us glimpses into God’s character and his love for us. Though some people view God, as portrayed in the Old Testament, as angry and vengeful, a more careful read gives us a different perspective.

We see his love and his patience; he is slow to anger. We realize his desire to enjoy community with us.

One such example of God’s character comes through with poetic elegance in Psalm 30:5. Here we read that God’s “anger lasts only for a moment.” Even better is what comes next, that God’s “favor lasts a lifetime.”

And now for the poetry part: “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NIV).

God is slow to anger, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Click To Tweet

Yes, we may suffer through some dark times (nighttime), but light will always follow (daytime), just as surely as morning follows evening. And though each day is made up of half night and half light, God’s anger is not in equal proportion to his favor.

Remember that we sleep through most of the darkness and therefore experience mostly light. In this way, nighttime seems brief—at least most of the time. Just as we experience mostly the light of each day, we will also mostly bask in God’s favor.

Nine times the Old Testament reminds us that God is “slow to anger.” This occurs three times in Psalms and twice in the Law of Moses, along with Nehemiah, Joel, Jonah, and Nahum. That’s a lot of people reminding us that God is slow to anger.

If we view God as a good parent (recall that God is our father, and we are his children), we realize that there will be times of needed correction. But if we respond appropriately, our time of discipline will be short.

Then we emerge from it and return to right relationship with God, experiencing his favor and his love, just as every good parent wants for their children. So, too, God wants this for us.

God is slow to anger, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Praise God!

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Psalms 26-30, and today’s post is on Psalm 30:5.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Bible Reveals God the Father to Us

Father God is the star of the Old Testament; it explains his expectations and shows his care

The story arc in the Bible is God’s relationship to us: the creator and his creation. Most people of faith—the Christian faith, that is—understand God as Trinity, as three persons in one: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

This is an abstract concept, but one we embrace, or at least we accept, in faith, as truth.

God the Father is the star of the Old Testament.

After a casual read of the Old Testament, an easy conclusion is that God is a mad deity; humans need to cower from him; he’s poised to punish people if they so much as blink wrong. A more careful read, however, reveals a patient God.

Though he has specific expectations for behavior, he wants his people to succeed, to have a relationship with him.

Yes, a fear of God does come across in the Old Testament (whereas love is the theme of the New Testament), this is a holy fear, a reverent fear.

To understand a healthy fear of God, I consider fire. Fire can warm us, cook our food, purify materials, and mesmerize us. Yet this same fire can burn and even kill if we are not careful.

We appreciate fire for its many benefits, yet we respect it for its dangers. Fire awes us. The same applies with God the Father; he awes us.

For a more specific comprehension, a personal understanding, look at God’s relationship with some of the people in the Old Testament:

  • Adam (who walked with God),
  • Abraham (who placed his faith in God),
  • Moses (who looked at God and spoke with him),
  • David (a man after God’s own heart),
  • Elijah (who taunted his enemies because of his complete confidence in God’s power), and so on.

For others, we see their devotion to God and the way he took care of them and blessed them. Consider Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, and Esther.

We can look at the Old Testament to discover grand themes of God’s character. Click To Tweet

We can look at the Old Testament to discover grand themes of God’s character. And we can look to the Old Testament to inspire us through the specific stories of his relationship with those who seek him. We need both to fully comprehend him.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Is God a God of Wrath or Love?

Reading through the book of Judges, a cycle quickly emerges: the people turn away from God, he sends a leader to rescue them, and then they return to him.

This pattern continues, albeit to a lesser extent, in the books of Kings and Chronicles. With endless patience, God offers them second chances.

This abruptly changes as 2 Chronicles winds down. The people’s rejection of God reaches its zenith, arouses his wrath, and “there was no remedy.” He offers no second chances and no do-overs, only judgment.

Conquerors invade them, killing some people, carrying off others, and leaving a few to subsist in abject poverty. For them, it was “game over.”

Is God a god of wrath or love? Your answer may depend on which part of the Bible you use to form your answer. Old Testament folks may see a God of wrath, while New Testament readers may see a God of love.

Jesus makes the difference, offering a loving solution to Old Testament wrath and providing us with a remedy.

[2 Chronicles 36:16, 2 Chronicles 36:17-21 and John 3:16]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Is God Mad At Us?

The phrase “the Lord’s anger” occurs 29 times in the Bible. Is God an angry god, frequently mad at us for messing up? Does he enjoy punishing those who disappoint him? The answer is no.

This phrase only appears in the Old Testament of the Bible (before Jesus) but not at all in the New Testament, where Jesus places the focus on God’s love.

The Old Testament seems to show God is angry, while the New Testament reveals his love. Is the Bible talking about two different gods? Did God change from mad to loving?

Again, the answer is no. Anger and love come from the same God. We need to keep both traits in mind—and remember that Jesus made the difference.

[See the occurrences of “the Lord’s anger” in the Bible.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.