Have you ever found yourself considering some of the passages in the Bible that tell you about God taking action to ‘punish’ mankind? How about when He threw Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden? Or what about when He made Cain a wanderer and he went out into the land of Nod after killing his brother. Yes, there are sometimes very real consequences that we must pay for our actions, but no they are not the wrath of an angry God. Satan likes to use this subtle lie to get us to walk in fear of God. The truth is God loves you, his actions always serve the purpose of love, of keeping the possibility of relationship with you open, of redemption. How can I say this when I don’t know what you have been through? Because He did this for Adam and Eve, for Cain and for me.
If you go back and read in Genesis you see that after they disobeyed His commands God asks them what happened. Do we really think that God, creator of all things, all knowing, all present didn’t already know what had happened? He was extending them an opportunity to repent, to make right the relationship they had broken by eating of the tree. How about Cain, after all he was a bad guy and bad guys get punished, right? Actually if you go back and read in Genesis 4:3-5 it says that God did not respect Cain’s offering. So I asked myself why didn’t God respect it? From my understanding it is because God already knew that Cain’s heart was not offering a sacrifice out of honor and love but because he felt he had too which led him to not offer his best. He took a subpar portion of the harvest and offered it. Able took the firstfruit of his planting to God, meaning that Able was relying on God for the future harvest. Able’s heart was clearly anchored on the fact that he knew he needed God and he chose to rely on Him rather than his own ability, work or results. Able didn’t carry pride in his heart whereas Cain did. Even though God knew what Cain had done, he still asked him “where is your brother”? Again giving an opportunity for Cain to repent and to set aside his pride and allow God to redeem and restore their broken relationship. He even marked Cain so that no one would kill him. Why would he do that if he was acting in anger toward Cain?
Another example is in the story of the Tower of Bable in Genesis 11:1-9. Man decided to build a city and a high tower “so that they would make a name for themselves”. Their desire was not to show God glory but rather to glory in their own prideful accomplishment. They were building an idol to them. Because of their pride they took a step down a journey to the same place that satan went. When satan rose up against God in war it was because of his pride. He felt himself superior to God and therefore he was cut off and will face eternal punishment. When God made man it was his desire to be in relationship with him. Because of His love He couldn’t allow man to travel down the path of pride and end up under the same judgement as satan. So in the case of Bable he scattered mankind and obscured the languages so they could not turn their hearts even farther away in pride.
Over and over we see this pattern in Scripture where God reaches out to man, moves in circumstances to ensure that through the course of history Jesus could come to restore all things. So often we focus on singular events and when they are negative we can turn that into the act of an angry God. The truth is God loves you (and me) so much that He is always working to bring about our good, even when we can’t see the end goal, even when the journey is painful. If we really read Scripture with an open heart we see this play out in the lives of many people. God is a God of love and He wants to be seen for who He is which is why the enemy tries so hard to warp our perception of Him. God is never angry with people, He is angry at anything that separates Him from those He loves. His heart toward us is always love.