We don’t like to think of God as getting angry. At least not at us. We like to think of God as our kind and caring Heavenly Father, as our friend, as someone who will put up with pretty much anything because He’s such a nice and loving God.
It is true that the Lord is loving. As a matter of fact, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).
It is equally true that the Lord is the sovereign, holy, righteous, almighty authority over all that exists – over all that God has called into being. Our Lord has the right to rule over us.
But we don’t always want God to rule us. We don’t really want God to tell us what to do. What we do want is to be loved. We like that part of God. But this whole obedience thing – and following the will and ways of the Lord – is a whole other matter. At least we think so.
The Israelites, on their journey out of captivity from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land, kept rebelling against the Lord’s will and ways. They refused to yield to and trust the Lord’s authority. They could not – would not (That’s a ca-won’t!) trust that the Lord’s leadership of them and His authority over them came only out of His love and desire to be their Eternal Protector. Sadly, their rebellion caused significant consequences.
The LORD‘s anger was aroused that day and He swore this oath: “Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” – Numbers 32:10-12
When we go, and keep on going, in our own selfishly-determined ways and doing things based on our own limited perspectives and self-absorbed pride, we always end up hurting ourselves and, quite often, hurting those around us. Especially those we claim to love the very most.
The Lord wants us to obey and follow Him. The Lord wants us to trust Him wholeheartedly. This desire comes only and always out of God’s eternal and unfailing love for us. Our Lord knows that it is only in following and trusting Him wholeheartedly that our hearts and our lives will be wholly filled with His love, His peace, His purpose, His hope and the joy of knowing His good and faithful promises as realities in our lives. Caleb and Joshua knew this. And they followed and trusted the Lord wholeheartedly.
God knows our hearts. Don’t be afraid to be honest with God about the blatant and hidden ways you rebel against His authority over you – about the blatant and hidden ways you rebel against His love for you. God will forgive you. God will lead you in love. Our God, who is the Sovereign Lord and Eternal Love, wants each of us to choose, actively and intentionally, to follow and trust Him wholeheartedly so that our hearts will be made whole!