There are many circumstances, especially in the Old Testament, where we can observe God having to display his wrath for correction purposes on His people. Looking at Hebrews 12, we can learn that this is necessary for disciplinary reasons. In the same way that parents today must somehow discipline their children to teach them right and wrong, God must discipline us. Even though discipline in necessary, God has been given the labels angry, wrathful, and vengeful by many skeptics. This can be difficult to understand and make us question why we would want to serve and worship a God that acts so negatively. When I happened upon Ezekiel 20 this week, I saw the God of understanding.
Three times in this chapter, God points out ways His people have left Him and says “I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them.” But all three times, He does not stop there. He then continues “But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations.”
The God of love, forgiveness, understand, and second chances IS the God of the Old Testament, New Testament, and today. God understands the importance of His name being seen as a God who acts for the people. God desires for people to see His love and compassion. Just as Christ followers today desire for the name of God to be accepted, God has the same desire!
Although all these labels are true of God, let us not forget He is also the God of expectation. He expects us to serve Him. He expects us to put no other idol in His place. Most importantly, He expects our attitudes to portray His name to the nations. May we seek to act as God acts; as the disciplinarian, who leads out of love, understanding, and forgiveness.