(June 5, 2015)
There are those who view the Lord as a vengeful God – and they use language such as that contained in these chapters to justify that view. For example, the clear language that whosever will not repent the Lord will execute vengeance and fury upon them, leads some to believe that the Lord is the equivalent of Zeus – sitting on a cloud with a thunderbolt in hand ready to strike down those who don’t properly grovel at His feet.
Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Lord is a merciful God – so much so that He suffered and died to give us the possibility to repent. What the Lord speaks of, when speaking of His vengeance and fury, is two things. First, it is the natural consequences of our actions and the damage our sins cause to our souls. When we sin, we hurt ourselves such that the Lord has no need to hurt us through any external means (indeed, He tries to spare us this pain). I have seen this in both my life and the lives of those around me.
Secondly, He will at times provide external fury in order to remind us of Him and turn us to Him. This, too, He does out of love and a desire for us not to waste our lives and our eternity in the bondage of sin. Even when experiencing His vengeance and fury, it is a manifestation of His love for us and if we will allow this to change us we can find peace with Him.