His Righteous Anger

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for
sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He
said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have
turned it into a den of thieves!” Matthew‬ 21:12-13

Is it ever right to display anger? As I am raising my youngest child, I have found that there are typically
four levels of dealing with things she has done wrong. There is the first level where I must talk about
where she went wrong, and going forward, provide guidance on the right way. In these cases, it is not
major. Call this the ‘threw the recyclable paper in the wrong bin’ wrong. Then there is the situation
where the consequences of her mistake have more gravity, and thus, the conversation gets a bit more
serious. There may be a punishment or discipline given based on this level. This would be the
‘carelessly broke my favorite glass’ wrong. Next, there is the ‘you know what you should have done, and
yet, you chose not to’ wrong. This tends to be the defiant and rebellious choice that has severe
consequences (ex. Coming home at 11pm when curfew was 9:30pm). Let’s qualify this as the ‘playing indoors
and hitting the 55” HD TV’ wrong. These all can be dealt typically with discussion and dialogue as to
things done and better choices that needed to be made. However, the last level is a dangerous one.
It’s the one with serious consequences and she is lucky to not be in far more serious danger or harm.
Call it the ‘She stole a car?!?!‘ wrong. In these cases, the response will have no two-way dialogue. The
punishment is severe regardless of the outcome, and is usually met with a reaction rarely ever seen. I
think of it as ‘The house is on fire – GET OUT’ reaction. The intent is for my daughter to understand this
is one thing that must never ever happen again. Whether you’re a parent or been on the receiving end,
one can understand another’s anger in this situation.

This brought me to reflecting on God’s righteous anger, and how it is to help us never fall into those
circumstances again. In reading today’s verses, there are a couple of things that struck me. The first
thing was the wrongness of the people. The people in the temple selling animals were like those false
evangelicals on TV peddling a ‘prayer cloth’ guaranteed to help God hear your prayers for $20. I know it
sounds silly, but there are people who believe in these things. Through my Bible study, someone helped
me reflect on another perspective, which was Jesus’ reaction. Reading His knocking things over, you can
imagine this near crazed response of anger from Jesus. When we think of anger, God’s word speaks of it
as sinful as Ephesians 4:26-27 (And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down
while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.) However, there are numerous times
where God was angry with His people, and thus carried out His wrath when they were sinful (ex. Sodom
and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and Lamentations 2:1). The principle here is to understand that God hates
sin in all forms. He is loving of us, and His righteous discipline will vary from multiple warnings to one
swift and decisive response. Our goal is to always look to walk in a way that shows our love for and
submittal to Him living our lives free of sin. That is not to say we will not sin, but our walk of faith both
mirrors an understanding of His authority and focuses on a life He would expect of us.

God’s love is both awe inspiring and overwhelming, and it can bring us to our knees. Like a loving parent,
His anger toward us is never intended to hurt us. It is a reminder how precious we are to Him, and we
can live a life filled with His love and blessings. It is to correct us toward living a life that is for Him, and
that He alone is indeed enough for us. Let us focus on understanding why God’s discipline is just and
not questioning His judgment. When you have sinned, are you repentant to God? What lessons have
you learned from God’s disciplining of you or others? My prayer is that we learn to understand the love
God has for us when He shows His righteous anger. Amen.


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