For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5 ESV
We have commented in Bible Study more than once how the God of the Old Testament seems wrathful, whereas Jesus in the New Testament seems to be about love. How can that be? How do we resolve the tension that appears to exist?
First, we must understand what it is that angers God. Even before the Creation, we see an example of God’s wrath when Satan and his followers rebel. Next, when Adam and Eve sin in partaking of the fruit, God casts them from the Garden. In Matthew 21:12-13, we see Jesus, in anger, turn over the tables of the money changers defiling the Temple. These are just a few examples in the Old and New Testament; there are many more.
Unlike us, who may get upset when someone cuts us off on the highway or jumps the line at the grocery store—things that are most certainly annoying but of little consequence —God’s anger is always justified. By his nature, God is pure, perfect, and loving. But when we consciously and grievously do what we know is wrong—we rebel against his righteousness —he is angered “but for a moment.”
Those who have raised children may remember a time when they willingly violated some house rule. We are upset with them and disappointed in their judgment and decision. Though we are angry, we do not stop loving them. Even after they apologized and their punishment served, things likely were tense until trust could be reestablished.
While God does get angry, he is also compassionate and forgiving. His love exceeds his wrath. It is His grace, His favor, that is for a lifetime. When we come to God in repentance, His pardon is immediate, complete, and lasting. Unlike us, there are no continued hurt feelings or disappointment, and certainly no dragging it back up at a future date. Why does God do this? He loves us so much that he took human form, doing for us what we could never do for ourselves, atoning for our sins.
God, we come to you today guilty of sin. We are genuinely sorry for our sins, those committed knowingly and unknowingly. We thank you that while you have every reason to be angry and disappointed with us, you are always ready to forgive us completely. Amen.