Can Love and Wrath be Reconciled?

Nahum

Nahum_1-7

Wednesday, April 19

The prophet Nahum is incredibly descriptive in his writing concerning the imminent doom of Nineveh. When reading, I thought of war movies like, 300, the Patriot, Saving Private Ryan and others, because of the picture Nahum paints with his words. However, the question arises at one time or another for most people. How can God be a good loving God and yet declare wrath on nations and individuals? It seems mutually exclusive and inconsistent. Maybe you have given thought to this at times?

Currently while I am interning in Texas I have a side job. Well, really a side job that’s full time. I work at the elementary school in town and I work with first through third graders. The kids I work with have behavioral, learning, and psychological diagnoses. I love my kids. But at times they conduct themselves in ways that are totally unacceptable. Because I love them and want the best for them I have to discipline them. I want the best for their lives and that will be hindered greatly if their outbursts go on unchecked. Now I give them plenty of chances to turn things around and correct their behavior before I have to bring the hammer of correction down. And when I do it’s not uncommon to hear “you’re mean Mr. Rohrer!” “I don’t like you!” and even “I can’t wait for you to move back to Ohio!”.

On a much grander scale, God, because he loves must punish and be wrathful. Just as if parents don’t care about their children they won’t disciple them, if God didn’t enact judgement he wouldn’t be caring. And the worst thing is not wrath, but indifference. I read someone that said, if God didn’t judge and enact wrath then peace would never be realized on earth. You see, if God didn’t hold evil accountable, then who else will enact justice? It’ll be up to you and me. But because I know God holds all things accountable, I can endure persecution and wrongdoing knowing one day God will make all right, because he loves. In the meantime, I am to live out the kingdom peace we are called to.

A loving God and a wrathful vengeful God are not incompatible. They go hand in hand and the author of Nahum understood this:

            “A jealous and avenging God is Yahweh

                        Yahweh is avenging and wrathful.

                        Yahweh takes vengeance on his adversaries

                        And reserves wrath for his enemies.

                        Yahweh is slow to anger and great in power

                        And Yahweh will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…

                        Yahweh is good”. (Nahum 1.2-3, 7a)

-Jacob Rohrer

(Photo Credit: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Nahum-1-7/)

Advertisements