Just how slow is God to anger, anyway? The fullness of God’s character spans the ultimate in grace and mercy to the anger and his holiness in action. I’m banking on the slowness of God’s anger, and today I’m reminded that this isn’t an area of lie where we should gamble.
2 The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power… His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.
7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, 8 but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh…
Nahum 1:2-3, 7-8
We see the balance of the Lord’s character in Nahum 1. Nahum was a prophet who spoke against the city of Nineveh. Jonah had dealt with this city 100 years before Nahum and they turned away from their wickedness. Now Nahum is sent by God to warn them again…
So, just how slow is God to anger, anyway? We see the jealousy and wrath of God – the whirlwind and great power of God – and we also see the goodness and refuge and forbearance of the Lord in these verses. This is all God. The fullness of God’s character spans the ultimate in grace and mercy to the anger and vengeance of his holiness in action.
Maybe you’re like me… I’m banking on the slowness of God’s anger. He has warned me – it seems like a hundred years ago now, yet sure enough he warned me. I’ve read it in his word, heard it from the pulpit, and his Spirit whispers it to my heart. Turn from your ways and seek me and my ways.
We listen, we turn, we seek, and then we forget. We are like the Ninevites, aren’t we? If you read the book of Jonah, you will find that the people of Nineveh were truly repentant in their response to Jonah’s prophecy. They changed direction. And now they are here. Maybe they have long forgotten those days. Maybe they don’t know how they got here. Maybe they do know. The Spirit and the flesh do battle in our lives each and every day (Galatians 5:17).
Remember as you process this teaching of God: the Lord will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). If we think we can flip-flop and be double-minded in our approach to life, the Lord’s patience will be tested to the point of consequence. Don’t mess with the slowness of God’s anger. Rely on it as an imperfect human who struggles as we all do. Trust in God’s mercy and confess to Jesus so he will cleanse you when you slip.
And pray you do not get to the point of needing to experience God’s whirlwind to correct your behaviour…