In our life experience there are many questions that baffle our minds. One such question is ‘Why does bad things happen to good people?’ or ‘Why does bad things happen at all?’ The last few years have been especially trying for humanity. We’ve struggled through a pandemic, which has impacted us in more ways than are currently fully understood. There have been un-natural disasters including the recent earthquakes that occurred in Turkey. There is ongoing unrest in the civil and political arena accompanied by wars and threats of world destruction. The brightest minds are deeply concerned about global warming and what the next 20 to 50 years will look like. Parents are concerned for the welfare of their children who seem to be growing up in a time of utter lawlessness. Diseases that were unknown 40 years ago are now wreaking havoc in the lives of the old and young.
If God is peaceful then where is our peace? If God is a healer, then where is our healing? If God is a provider, then where is our provision? If God is near, then where is our comfort? If God is light, then why so much darkness? Are we experiencing the wrath of God?
John 3:36 states: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Romans 1:18.19 tells us: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”
When we think of wrath it is common to envision anger, rage and even violence. But do you associate compassion or sadness with wrath? Since the Lord loves us with “…an everlasting love” (Jer.31:3) then we can conclude that His expression of wrath is much different than ours. Let’s consider how Isaiah describes the wrath of God in chapter five verses one through seven:
“Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes. “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it. ”For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.”
The vineyard was beloved and placed on a fruitful hill where the vinedresser carefully cleared out its stones. Application to Israel: knowledge of heaven’s principles was provided for the benefit of the nation. Obedience to the divine laws resulted in the peace and prosperity of the nation. They were not left in darkness regarding how to live such as many of the nations around them who sacrificed children in their temples (Lev.18:21) but were given better instructions.
Although all the variables needed for good health were provided the vineyard did not produce good fruit. Application to Israel: Despite the prophets who declared the word of God and the miracles demonstrated before their eyes many in Israel rejected trusting in the Divine hand and instead walked in their own ways.
The call to judge between God’s character and Israel’s is a compassionate one. It’s an invitation to reason between how God functions and how we function. We can relate to Israel because the nature common to them is common to us. The searching question is then asked by the keeper of the vineyard: “what more could have been done…?” before the description of releasing Israel to the fruit of their own choices is given.
In Romans 1:26 the wrath of God is described in this way: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves.”
Proverbs 1:31 says it this way: “Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”
In conclusion, when it comes to the wrath of God, we do not need to fear punishment being inflicted on us by the mighty hand of our Creator. However, we do need to fear being left to experience the bitterness of the unrighteous fruit from our unrighteous choices. We are not left after an occasional slip and fall but after repeatedly rejecting the invitation of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts to the point where nothing else can be done to persuade us to follow the path of His Holiness. God’s wrath is therefore God’s removal.
So, are we experiencing the wrath, removal of God’s presence? To some degree, yes but grace is still abounding. Let’s remember that today is our day of salvation and turn to Him while we have the chance.