I am that Man

Lamentations 3:1-3I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has led me and made me walk In darkness and not in light.
Surely He has turned His hand against me time and time again throughout the day.”

Which of us hasn’t experienced the wrath of God’s love? You may say this is a conflict of interest, that the very notion of judgement cannot precede a loving God, full of grace…but according to scripture, this is exactly what we see.

The Wrath of Love

Whether we reference the Lord in the light of His wrath or we consider God in the light of His blessing, the principles that govern His actions remain the same.

You can’t say God is loving when He is gentle and kind, then turn and say He is unjustified or hateful when His strong hand brings judgement upon the accused. We do not serve a bipolar God who is prone to fits of rage and then depending on His mood, gentle and kind.

When we see God act, we must remember the attributes of His character so we can know and understand His purposes.

  1. The patience of God–To understand God’s wrath is to first see His measure of love. His love is expressed by the patient endurance by which He puts up with sin. The wrath of God is an overflow of His fury, this fury is the response He has toward sin. Sin is measured in God’s eyes in response to His law, in other words it accumulates over time and His wrath is a reflection of these offenses. Job 21:30 “For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.”
  2. Wrath subsided–Just as we can store up wrath for the day of destruction, we can likewise be given a reprieve. God’s love does not diminish with sin, it simply reverts to a different form of response. When unrepentant sinners continue in rebellion, the loving and gentle response of God goes unnoticed. Once people recognize the error of their ways and turn from their sin, God graciously turns from the wrath He poured out upon us. Psalm 85:1-3 “Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.”

A. From destruction to favor is the blessing upon those who turn to Him.

B. A return from being deposed to living in the promise we once had.

C. Forgiveness is the product of His grace and mercy.

D. God’s anger subsides because of His faithfulness.

3. Our choice–The God who stands in judgement, who created us and all that we see, shows His love toward us in giving us autonomy. We have a choice to follow or to rebel. We don’t have to trust Him just like we don’t have to suffer the pain of rebellion. We have to realize that with this freedom comes responsibility. We will reap the consequence of our actions and we have no one else to blame but ourselves. People get angry with God when they think their actions should be deemed as ‘good’. It is by their standard of righteousness they hold themselves accountable because to subject themselves to God’s standard would place them in a position as subservient. What looks like faithfulness is actually rebellion. Those who observe from a distance think to themselves, “how can God be so unjust in His dealings?”, but the reality of justice is, the law remains fixed, we are not allowed to make our own laws. When judgement comes for offending this law, then the world criticizes God for not using their law as His standard.

Psalm 19:7,8 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes”

Affliction

The misery of affliction has a purpose in my life:

  • It corrects.
  • It shows the error of my path.
  • It reveals truth and falsity.
  • It demonstrates God’s love.
  • It causes us to rely on God’s provision.

Deuteronomy 26:7 “Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression.”

When we are brought through the fire and we recognize once again God’s faithfulness, how we respond determines how we move forward.

Do we stop and worship or do we move on into our own way?

Do we grow in knowledge and understanding or do we continue in foolishness?

Do we recognize the error of past decisions and learn to trust?

If we don’t grow from our mistakes, the way forward will continue to be difficult.

I know this because I have learned these mistakes myself.

Lamentations 3:7-9 “He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out;
He has made my chain heavy.
Even when I cry and shout,
He shuts out my prayer.
He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
He has made my paths crooked.”

This corrupting of our path is a reflection of God’s love for us. If we want to embrace God’s love, we have to embrace His path, the two go hand in hand.

This is the way of peace.

This is the pathway of joy.

This is the journey for those who choose to trust in the Lord with all their hearts.

Lamentations 3:22-24 “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The Lord has reserved the full measure of His goodness for those who trust in Him.

The goodness we experience now is but a taste of things to come. Trust in the Lord and watch and see just how good He can be.

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