Around the Word small“A loving God cannot feel anger,” says the modern, Bible-less idealist.

“Hypocrisy makes God angry,” says the easily offended anti-organized religion former church goer.

“Homosexuality makes God angry,” says the Bible literate saint who may have his own secret list of “respectable sins.”

No matter who you are or where you come from, chances are you have a list of things that you believe make God angry (my list includes the current state of affairs with Presidential politics in the U.S.).  But while we yearn for specific categorization, the right answer is best summarized in one all-encompassing word. And that word is sin.

I once heard the late Dr. E. V. Hill say that he made a list of all the sins listed in the Bible. I think he came up with the number 78. So he decided to have a committee in his church for every sin in the Bible. What the purpose of this exercise was, he didn’t elaborate, but I remember thinking, “How do you get anything done in a church with 78 committees?” Or more importantly, “What are the qualifications to be on the ‘lying committee’? Or the ‘gluttony committee’? You get my drift.

Sins always make God angry, but while we tend to look to the outside for signs of disobedience, God looks first at what is going on inside. That’s why when Josiah, after having read the words of the Book of the Covenant, brought the people together and renewed the covenant between them and God. His pledge was “to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul.” (2 Chronicles 23:3). At Grace, we call this “to live for Him with purpose and abandon.”

The people of Josiah’s day identified a real problem — the state of disrepair of the temple. They went about fixing it by collecting money, drawing up plans, hiring skillful artisans, buying supplies and initiating the work of temple reform (2 Chronicles 22:3-7).

But identifying real problems does not mean you have identified the root of the problem. There are reforms only the Master Carpenter can make. The people were busy fixing the temple while it was their heart that needed major repair. They were laying bricks and mortar when God desired for them to care for the living stones first. It would be like starting to build a building with the third floor.

Thankfully, sin not only angers God, it also moves Him to action. God allowed the Book of the Law to be found and the heart of a young king was changed. Sin does not always have to lead to death; it can also lead to repentance. Because of Josiah’s humiliation before God, he not only saved himself — he saved an entire generation.

Questions:

Are you more concerned with what you see on the peripherals of your brother’s (or your) life than you are about what you see in the core of your heart?

Are you engaged in attempting to make cosmetic changes to your lifestyle when God may be calling you to a radical make over?

Does the reading of God’s Word still lay your heart wide open before God? Does it move you to tears? Does it make you bow down then rise up to a higher level of commitment?

Pastor Ivanildo da Costa Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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