God Terrifies Me
God terrifies me. I’m talking, keeps me up at night in sheer horror. Why? Because I am convinced that I’ve made Him angry, and not without good reason. I haven’t honored Him as I should. I haven’t loved my neighbor as I should. I haven’t kept the law. I have broken it both in letter and intent. And what is perhaps even more horrifying, is that even when I try to do obey, I fall short. Therefore the law rightly condemns me (Rom. 4:15).
For this reason, when I read a verse like Nahum 1:6, my heart melts in fear.
“Who can stand before his indignation? What can endure the heat of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire and the rocks are broken into pieces by Him.”
I read this and I say, “Not me!” I can’t stand before His fury. I can’t bear His indignation. My sins are fumes that instantly ignite at the torridity of His anger. Yet like many places in the Bible, I would utterly despair if I stopped reading at verse 6. I let out a gasp as I read the very next verse:
“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7)
So verse 6 asks ‘who can stand before the blazing anger of the Lord?’ and verse 7 says this same Lord is good and a refuge in the day of trouble. So I am compelled to ask,
“Which is it? Is God angry or is God good?” Nahum seems to speak out of both sides of his mouth as he answers this question “Yes.” God is angry and God is good. But Nahum doesn’t explain why. For that, we must turn to the New Testament.
Romans 5:9 teaches us, “Since therefore, we have been justified by [Christ’s] blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” So here in Romans 5 we have the complete picture. We can account for God’s wrath and we can account for how to be saved from it. This verse teaches us:
- We have been justified by Christ’s blood. The Scriptures teach that Christ came to fulfill the law (Matt. 5:17). He did so by living a sinless life. In doing so Christ ‘earned’ my righteousness for me. So when Christ went to the cross, he was able to by death, pay my debts (my sins) and credit my account (His righteous life). It was not sinful blood that was spilt, but it was righteous blood.
- Christ saves us from God’s wrath. As Jesus was crucified, God poured out every drop of wrath, every ember of indignation, upon the sinless Christ. In doing so, as Christ died, he bore the wrath that I earned. God’s wrath was both furious and fatal and because of it, Christ was laid to rest in a tomb of death. Yet because of Christ’s resurrection power, He broke the power of death by raising from the dead. In turn, all of God’s wrath towards me was absorbed in Christ. And His perfect life is credited to my account so that when God looks at me, He sees the life of Christ.
So, I hide from God in Christ. I can’t stand before His indignation. But Christ can, and Christ did. So yes, I am horrified of a righteous God, but I take refuge in Christ.
I flee from the wrath of God by hiding myself in God.